“What a piece of work is a hat!” – Hat thoughts anyone?

“What a piece of work is a hat! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world!”.

― William Shakespeare, Hamlet (sort of)

As you might guess from the title, I’m rather keen on hats. I once went to a hat evening at Waterstones Deansgate (Manchester, UK). In those days budgets for book events were much higher than today, and Oddbins (a wine merchant) needed several trips with a porters trolley to bring the necessary supplies. Labels were covered up. Hat wearers got the high quality wine, non hat wearers got the cheap plonk chilled to within an inch of it’s life (to hide it’s dodgy nature). Blue Nun, any of you bareheaded folk?

Hats from the Chicago Mail Order Co, 1930's.

This print is from the Chicago Mail Order Co. (1930’s).


“Personally I would never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat, or you can’t wear a hat.””
― George Carlin

“Mr. Galliano wore his big top-hat very much on one side of his head, so much so that Jimmy really wondered why it didn’t fall off .. Jimmy thought that circus ways were very extraordinary. Even hats seemed to share in the excitement!”
― Enid Blyton

“Some hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.”
― Neil Gaiman

And now a favourite since childhood:

“On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his Hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody every could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee ..”
― Edward Lear, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat

Any hat thoughts or words?


Troublesome cough? Sleep the sleep of the dead …

'One Night Cough Syrup', manufactured in Baltimore, USA (1888). Ingredients: Alcohol, Cannabis Indica, Chloroform and Morphia

Troublesome cough? Introducing One Night Cough Syrup, manufactured in Baltimore, USA (1888). Ingredients: Alcohol, Cannabis Indica, Chloroform and Morphia. ‘Skillfully combined with a number of other ingredients’. I have no doubt that it put them to sleep, but did they wake up again?!


The Comb of Pearl (1897) as illustrated by James Carter Beard (USA)

The Comb of Pearl (1897) as illustrated by James Carter Beard

The Comb of Pearl –  from the book The Hall of Shells, written by Mrs. A. S. Hardy (pub. 1897). Illustrated by James Carter Beard (US, 1837-1938).

Beard (1850-1941) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) into a family of artists. As a youth, he explored the woods and made sketches of nature. He illustrated a number of books for Mark Twain – and many others.


Boy Reading an Adventure Story (1923) by Norman Rockwell

Boy Reading an Adventure Story (1923) by Norman Rockwell

Boy Reading an Adventure Story (1923) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). Rockwell was a popular American author, painter and illustrator.

I wonder what the book is that the boy is so absorded by? It seems to be illustrated. Having been in the book trade, if I had to guessimate, I’d say it was something by writer and illustrator, Howard Pyle – “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights” (or one of it’s 3 sequels), 1903-1910.

The dog is dreaming of lunch.

Photo of Edgar Allan Poe, writer

Photo of Edgar Allan Poe, writer

A photograph of Edgar Allan Poe, American poet & author (1809-1849). Posing between two friends. It’s wonderful we have a photograph of the great man, given that he died in the 1840s and the earliest known photograph to include the human form wasn’t until 1838 [in Paris, France]

“Take thy beak from out my heart, & take thy form from off my door!” [from The Raven and other poems]

Fascinating fact: Poe was obsessed with cats and often wrote with a cat on his shoulder.

Freedom of Worship (1943) by Norman Rockwell

Freedom of Worship (1943) by Norman Rockwell

Freedom of Worship (1943) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). American author, painter &  illustrator.

There is a Norman Rockwell Museum you can visit, if you happen to be passing through Massachusetts.

Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Road / Route 183
Stockbridge, MA 01262