Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween - Where did those black, pointy, wide-brimmed witch hats come from?

1659 Unknown British Artist, Catherine Davenant, Wife of Thomas Lamplugh in a capotain hat

A Complete History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft by E. Curil J. Pemberton and W. Taylor, 1715-16 

In 17C & 18C English & European woodcuts not all witches are depicted wearing the pointy black hat. Some images of witches did include the wide-brimmed pointy hat, but the pointy black hat was just one of many symbols connected to witchcraft in the past. The depiction of witches with conical hats, was especially popular in England and Scotland.


1596 Joan, 1st wife of Edward Alleyn by an unidentified artist of the British School in a capotain hat

Some believe that the pointy hat had its origin in the conical hats that were worn by the noble people in the middle ages (like the Hennin).  In Germany, golden conical hats were found, decorated with suns and stars. Some scholars suggest, that these hats were worn by priests or sorcerers/shamans as ritual headgear. Perhaps from the bronze age on, conical hats were worn by some priests/priestesses and sorcerers/sorceresses.  There are depictions of socerers in cone-like hats without brims.

Near China archaeologists found mummies, & some females of these mummies wore conical hats made from leather. Some scholars believe, these females were sorceresses or shamanesses. 


Perhaps the symbolism of the conical hats as attributes of people with a connection to magic has old roots.  One god who has deep connections to magic, & witches & sorcerers was Odin. He was depicted with a black hat that had a huge brim (but this hat was not conical).  In ancient Greece, the goddess Hekate was strongly connected to witchcraft. On some statues she was depicted with a phrygian cap. The brimless phrygian cap was a conical, usually soft hat. 


1592 Unknown Lady Robert Peake the elder (British Artist, 1551-1619)  She is wearing a small-brimmed phrygian-style cap which is both conical & a softer hat.  

A capotain, capatain or copotain is a tall-crowned, narrow-brimmed, slightly conical hat, usually black, worn by men from the 1570s into the mid-17C in England, the Low Countries, & Spain.  Earlier capotains had rounded crowns; later, the crown was flat at the top.  Women soon adopted the style, particularly when wearing high-necked bodices. 


1595 Esther Inglis Mrs Kello (Calligrapher and miniaturist, 1571-1624) in a capotain hat

The capotain is especially associated with Puritan costume in England in the years leading up to the English Civil War (1642–1651) & during the years of the Commonwealth (1649-1660). It is also called a Flat Topped Hat & a Pilgrim hat, the latter for its association with the Pilgrims who settled the British American Plymouth Colony in the 1620s.


 1590s Joan Popley in a capotain hat, British attributed to the circle of Robert Peake the elder (c.1551–1619)

1596 Mrs Jennyngs (b.1550-1551) in a capotain hat, Aged 45 British School

This fashion became very popular, which lead to criticism in the early 1600s, bemoaning that women & men were swapping attire. 
1628 Eubule Thelwall (1562–1630) in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.15951600 - after 1648, British Artist)

This lead to a pair of satirical pamphlets “Hic Mueler: Or, The Man-Woman” “Haec-Vir, or The Womanish-Man,” appearing about 1620. The pamphlets specifically criticize women for wearing a “Ruffianly broad-brim’d Hatte” instead of “the modest attire of the comely Hood, Cawle, Coyfe.” Usually hats in these portraits had flat, rather than pointed tops. 


1614 Portrait of an English lady traditionally identified as (but possibly not) Lady Anne Bowyer, née Salter. Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. She is wearing a small-brimmed phrygian-style cap which is both conical & a softer hat.  


1617 Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Aged 60 (once said to be of the Gilly family, possibly the 3rd wife of Sir James Altham, d.1617) by British School


1618-1625 Portrait of an Old Woman in a Cartwheel Ruff and a capotain hat by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen (Dutch or Flemish artist in England, 1593-1661)


1619 Salomon Mesdach ( c 1600-1632, Dutch artist) Portrait of Anna Boudaen Courten wearing a Capotain Hat - tall hat, high-crowned, narrow-brimmed


1621-30 Dame Pigot in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.1595-1600 - after 1648, British Artist)

1625 Salomon Mesdach ( c 1600-1632, Dutch artist)  Portrait of Margarita Courten (1564-1640) in a capotain hat


1627-8 Anne Fanshawe, First Wife of Thomas, 1st Viscount Fanshawein an atypical capotain hat decorated with feathers & a leather band, by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger


1632 Catherine Morgan in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.15951600 - after 1648, British Artist)


1634 Maria Bockennolle, Wife of Johannes Elison in a capotain hat by Rembrandt


1638 Hester Pookes, (c.1608–1678) wife of John Tradescant may have been made at the time of her marriage to John Tradescant the Younger in 1638.

1639 Catherine Lucas, Lady Pye in a capotain hat by Henry Giles


1640s Perhaps John Tradescant the Elder, (c 1570-1632) naturalist & gardener, with his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Day both in a capotain hat

1641 Anne Goye (1609-1681) in a capotain hat decoraded with a beaded band, Unknown Danish artist

In England, the artist & engraver Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) created several series of English & European women during the 1640s.  These ladies were wearing capotain hats quite similar to the versions appearing in the witch woodcuts of the time.  His "Ornatus Muliebris Anglicanus - The severall 'Habits of Englishwomen, from the Nobilitie to the Country Woman, as they are in these times" was published in 1640.  By 1642–1643 the 1st part of his series of European women had appeared in London under the title "Theatrum Mulierum," and it was followed by a 2nd part the next year titled "Aula Veneris."


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Woman in a capotain hat.  1642


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Woman in a capotain hat. 1642


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

And finally, from the same period, here is a woodcut with the same capotain 
hats without the pointy tops.


The Good Womans Champion or A Defence For The Weaker Vessel. Booklet printed in London by Francis Grove in 1650

2 comments:

  1. Absolutely fascinating! Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enlightening. Great portraits. Do you think the gentlemen appropriated them for the 19th century?

    ReplyDelete