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Object Timeline

-0001

1951

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2018

  • You found it!

Nightcap (France), ca. 1730

This is a nightcap. It is dated ca. 1730 and we acquired it in 1951. Its medium is silk, metallic (silver metal foil wound onto white silk core) and its technique is two interconnected structures of 4\1 satin and plain weave (lampas), embroidered in surface satin stitch. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The intricate patterns on this cap precisely fit its shape, suggesting that the fabric was woven specifically for this purpose. Most likely produced professionally, the weaving, embroidery, and tailoring of caps such as this would have been completed in separate workshops.

Wigs were common among men of many different social classes in eighteenth century France, and caps were often worn to cover their shaved heads when the wigs were removed. They were often worn for solitary work, such as writing, or before the wig was donned at a masculine toilette. Although primarily a feminine activity, some elite men practiced the ritual of the toilette, at which they received family members, business associates, and other intimates while attendants helped them prepare their wigs and dress for the day.

This object was donated by Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961) and catalogued by Miss Jean Elizabeth Mailey. It is credited Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 21 x 27.9 cm (8 1/4 x 11 in.)

Cite this object as

Nightcap (France), ca. 1730; silk, metallic (silver metal foil wound onto white silk core); H x W: 21 x 27.9 cm (8 1/4 x 11 in.); Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf; 1951-105-31

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18386587/ |title=Nightcap (France), ca. 1730 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=16 August 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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