Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 2:11pm

This stylish olive green silk velvet bonnet belonged to Bessie Rouse, nee Buchanan (1843-1924), the very attractive and fashionable mistress of Rouse Hill House from her marriage in 1874 to Edwin Stephen Rouse (1849-1931) until her death in 1924. The bonnet is elaborately trimmed with beads, gold braid, sequins and artificial pearls and has two silk ribbons draping from the back. Bessie is thought to have had it made by a milliner to wear at her daughter Nina's marriage to George Terry in 1895. The bonnet is constructed with a wire frame and would most probably have been kept in place with one of Bessie’s many elegant hatpins. We know that she was proud of her beautiful red-gold hair and this style of bonnet would have revealed it very nicely whenever she wore it. She may have continued wearing the style well beyond its vogue. This is an important Australian example of professional millinery of the late 19th century. 

Photograph: Alex Kershaw, 2009
Rouse Hill House & Farm
Bonnet, 1885-95 Bonnet, 1885-95
Image Left
Hamilton Rouse Hill Trust Collection