Hats off to Heyer
Georgette Heyer was determined to make her novels as historically accurate as possible and she collected reference works and research materials to use while writing. At the time of her death she owned over 1,000 historical reference books, including Debrett’s and an 1808 dictionary of the House of Lords. In addition to the standard historical works about the medieval and eighteenth-century periods, her library included histories of snuff boxes, sign posts, and costumes. She often clipped illustrations from magazine articles and jotted down interesting vocabulary or facts onto note cards, but rarely recorded where she found the information.
Her notes were sorted into categories, such as Beauty, Colours, Dress, Hats, Household, Prices, and Shops; and even included details such as the cost of candles in a particular year. Other notebooks contained lists of phrases, covering such topics as ‘Food and Crockery’, ‘Endearments’, and ‘Forms of Address’. One of her publishers once attempted to offer editorial suggestions about the language in one of her books but was promptly informed by a member of his staff that no one in England knew more about Regency language than Georgette Heyer. Georgette Heyer takes great pleasure in the details of appearance in her books. She writes in meticulous detail about hats, pelisses, muffs, promenade dresses, carriage dresses, ballgowns, Hessians (never worn with anything but pantaloons), Belcher neckcloths, caped greatcoats, and gloves.
A little test for my fellow Heyer fans…who says: “Take my hat – no, Crawley had best take my hat, perhaps. And yet, if he does so, who is to assist me out of my greatcoat? How difficult all these arrangements are! Ah, a happy thought! You have laid my hat down, Crawley! I do not know where I should be without you.”
Offensive Hats in Heyer Novels
In ‘The Grand Sophy’, why is Lord Charlbury offended by Cecilia’s hat?
In which book does Pelham use Croby Drelincourt’s hat as an excuse to call him out?
Whose hat offends Freddy Standen?
In ‘Faro’s Daughter’, why does Deb Grantham deliberately wear a vulgar hat?
Describe the hat that shocks Sherry (that Hero wants to buy)?
In ‘The Talisman Ring’, how is Basil’s hat (which offends Eustacie) described?
In ‘The Foundling’, Harriet orders two hats from the milliner. Who suggests she need not wear them?
I’m sure there are plenty of other offensive Heyer hats!