Nightcap, 18th century
This is a nightcap. It is dated 18th century and we acquired it in 1952. Its medium is silk, metallic yarn (metal foil wound around silk core) and flat foil strips and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous supplementary wefts (brocading). It is a part of the Textiles department.
This men’s hat, called a nightcap, is made of brocaded silk. The colorful design, containing generous amounts of silver-wrapped thread, includes a central bouquet and a variety of other floral designs. Like most clothing, even clothing worn in villages, this nightcap was likely made by professionals. The fabric would have been woven by specialized weavers, possibly specifically for use in a cap, and the tailoring done in a separate workshop, where each cap was custom-fit. Wigs, usually powdered and curled, were standard dress for men in this period, and were even worn during informal occasions within the home. This nightcap may have been worn during private activities or intimate meetings such as the morning toilette, when some elite men received guests while attendants helped them to dress and to prepare their wigs. Nightcaps also appear in portraits of some artists, writers, and doctors who excluded wigs in order to appear timeless.
This object was
Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961) and
Miss Jean Elizabeth Mailey.
It is credited
Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline E. Greenleaf.
Its dimensions are
H x diam.: 27 x 60 cm (10 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.)
Cite this object as
Nightcap, 18th century; silk, metallic yarn (metal foil wound around silk core) and flat foil strips; H x diam.: 27 x 60 cm (10 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.); Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline E. Greenleaf; 1952-47-2