--“Manners for Men,” by Mrs Humphry ('Madge of Truth')
James Locke & Co.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The top hat reached the apex of its popularity during the 1840s and 1850s as the middle classes had greater access to manufactured attire. After 1850, new styles emerged, such as the straw boater and soft felt hat, but the most popular of the trendy new styles was the bowler. The rise of the bowler challenged the predominance of the top hat in daily use, but they remained the height of evening fashion.
This particular hat is made of silk as opposed to some which were made from felted beaver fur (and consequently called “beavers). This model by the English firm James Locke and Co. dates between 1900 and 1910.