Posts Tagged 'Charles Willson Peale'

A Tip of the Hat

In honor of National Hat Day this Friday, I wanted to tip my hat to a few fascinating finds in our collection.

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation 1989.23

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 1989.23

During the late 18th century, hats were the most important element of your outfit. Formal (read: ridiculously over-dressed) hairstyles had reached such heights that they required proper containment during daytime hours—Mrs. Kerr’s cap does just the trick.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc. 1982.35

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc., 1982.35

At the turn of the 20th century, children were outfitted like mini-adults. Miss Dorothy’s oversized hat is decked out with such extensive feathers and ribbons that it’s almost too much for her little head to hold!

Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project 1935.7

Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project, 1935.7

A jaunt to the beauty shop wouldn’t have been complete without a favorite piece of millinery. But can you spot all the toppers in this keen scene? Don’t be fooled—the headpiece in back is actually a permanent wave machine!

Visit the DMA’s collection galleries, included in free general admission, and pick out your perfect chapeau.

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

‘Do It Up

Who doesn’t love visiting the salon to relax, recharge, gossip, and get a fresh new ‘do? And all of that pampering couldn’t happen without your trusty hairstylist. Since today is Hairstylist Appreciation Day, let’s check out what hair-raising inspiration the DMA’s collection has to offer.

1935_7

Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project

It’s no surprise that women back in the 1930s enjoyed being pampered at the salon too, though their pampering may have required a bit more work. Case in point: notice the guest in the green dress with the strange contraption on her head—she’s getting a perm with an early permanent wave machine. Oh the things we do in the name of beauty!

William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1942-1998

William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1942-1998

According to myth, Semiramis murdered her husband so that she could become the sole ruler of Assyria. A lady this fierce certainly requires the appropriately coiffed hair to match. Her tight curls are bound down her back and set off with a lovely crown, just to remind everyone exactly who’s in charge.

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

By the late 18th century, hair was teased to towering heights. Styles would be elaborately arranged by hairdressers and maintained for weeks by sleeping in less than comfortable positions with hair wrapped in handkerchiefs. Day dress required the proper covering of the head, but for evening the intricately crafted style was put proudly on display. If size does matter, we can only imagine what talents Mrs. Kerr’s hairdresser employed under her cap.

Stop by the DMA the next time you’re in need of a little hairstyle inspiration and see what your stylist can dream up!

Sarah Coffey is Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives at the DMA.

Fit for a Prince (and His Future Princess)

Millions of people around the world will watch as Prince William marries Catherine Middleton on Friday in Westminster Abbey, but only 1,900 lucky guests received invitations to attend the service, including members of the British Royal Family, religious leaders from the Church of England and other faiths, and international dignitaries. Did you receive that coveted gilded invitation from the Queen and need something special to wear to the wedding of the century? Let the DMA’s collections offer some wardrobe inspiration . . .

Etruscan, Pair of bauletto earrings, 6th century B.C., gold, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

No Royal Wedding outfit would be complete without glittering jewelry, and these ancient Etruscan earrings (from the 6th century B.C.) would complement a smart spring suit or frock. Known as bauletto (or “little bag”) for their cylindrical shape, these earrings originally would have been suspended on hooks. Each earring is decorated with an elaborate floral motif, created by fine gold filigree wire and tiny gold globules.

Yotoco period, Headdress ornament with heads flanked by crested crocodiles, c. A.D. 1-700 (?), gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison

This extravagant headdress would have been only one component of ceremonial regalia worn by men in the Calima region of Colombia about 2,000 years ago. Imagine the gleaming image of a wedding guest outfitted from head to toe in gold – including ear ornaments, pectorals, bracelets, and anklets. This ornament probably would have been attached to a cloth headdress, like a turban, and its gold dangles produced a soft ringing as the wearer moved.

Charles Willson Peale, “Rachel Leeds Kerr”, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Both Catherine Middleton and her future grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, are well known for their shared taste in glamorous hats (compare their recent looks and vote on your favorite here). Whether the bride will wear a hat, tiara, or flowers on her wedding day remains a secret, but we can surely expect a parade of fanciful millinery from the guests at Westminster Abbey. This elaborate hat must have been a favorite of Mrs. Rachel Leeds Kerr, as she wore it when sitting for her portrait by leading American artist Charles Willson Peale in 1790. Wearing this sumptuous topper would signify Mrs. Kerr’s wealth, fashionable taste, and high social status—just as a fabulous hat does today.

Abraham Portal, Huntingdon wine cistern, 1761-1762, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Patricia D. Beck

Guests to the Royal Wedding have more to think about than clothes, jewelry, and accessories; a wedding gift for William and Catherine is an equally important consideration. Silver serving pieces are often cherished wedding gifts for any bride and groom, but buying for royal couples demands something truly special, such as the monumental Huntingdon wine cistern. In fact, this magnificent piece was used to hold ice and chill wine in the home of Frances Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, who was appointed to the cabinet of the King of England in the late 18th century. Weighing more than eighty pounds (empty!), it would be the perfect centerpiece at any royal party. If we could, we would fill it with bottles of champagne to toast William and Catherine on their wedding day.

Cheers!

Lisa Kays is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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