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Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Bonnet mounting

08   /   2017

This pair of bonnets are part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and were included in the 2017-2018 exhibition Accessories are a girl’s best friend at de Tassenmuseum Hendrikje.


The main aim of this project was to prepare these, along with other historic accessories, for exhibition through sympathetic mounting and, where necessary, remedial conservation. Neither of these bonnets fit the standard head form mounts and each presented its own challenges.

The green bonnet coiffure required something to simulate hair underneath the lace section; traditionally this type of bonnet would have been worn with the hair arranged under the lace of the back. In a way, the hair is a part of the form of the bonnet, as it helps to define the shape and the ways it is worn. By experimenting with quilting and gathering black jersey fabric, I came up with a mount that encompassed this need for hair.

The yellow Luifelhoed, or poke bonnet, had become badly collapsed during storage, its wire frame sections concertina-ing together. A custom head mount was made to fit the exact contours of the bonnet, and humidification was undertaken to reverse the concertina-ed distortion, tensioning out the sections with strips of net in order to apply a gentle pressure to the 3D structure.

Images ©BeckyDoonanConservation, courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.

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