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.

1 Response to “A Tip of the Hat”


  1. 1 Jane Sadek January 12, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for sharing Dorothy. She was my mom’s favorite in the whole museum. My favorite hat picture is Lady with a Red Hat.


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