Thursday, July 27, 2023


This depicts a farmer mowing grass for hay with a scythe.  That funny little had shows up over and over again in Muybrigde's male nude work on a number of different models, but it obviously wasn't used all the time.  Does anyone know the purpose?  Guesses are fine.  I guess all the time.



  1. The hat looks like those worn by the Chinese back in that era. I can't imagine why Muybridge would use it, except maybe to add an "exotic" touch to his magnificent works.

  2. I think that must be a "smoking cap". They did indeed have an oriental flavour to them, being made in silk or velvet in a pill box style. The button at the top would secure a cord with a tassel attached to the end. They were supposedly used to stop men's hair smelling of smoke but as they were also worn with velvet jackets, with internal quilting, this was probably an excuse to keep warm. They were very popular and my great-grandfather wore one and they are still available today - in Jermyn Street, at a price.

    1. I can hear Mr. Muybridge saying to the models, "We've had complaints about getting cold while working naked, so we're giving you these smoking caps to keep your head warm." It sounds silly, but the top of the head is a prime location for loss of body heat.

  3. Note that the cap has a small white pompom on top. I read somewhere that the purpose of the cap was for the pompom to provide a point of reference for motion of the head when viewed against the background grid. After all, these were supposed to be scientific motion studies.