Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Deerstalker

This is one of my deerstalkers, although sadly not my father's, which got lost to the sands of time.
A perfect hat for cooler, damp weather, the Deerstalker was originally designed for stalking deer on the moors, where the double bills provided protection from the elements.  They are preferably made of British tweed, often with ear flaps secured by grosgrain ribbon.  

On the connection between deerstalkers and Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Smithsonian Magazine published:
Sherlock’s unmistakeable deerstalker hat, for example, was never mentioned in the printed words of the Holmes books. When Sidney Paget illustrated Doyle’s story, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, for publication in The Strand Magazine in 1891, he gave Sherlock a deerstalker hat and an Inverness cape, and the look was forevermore a must for distinguished detectives—so much so that while the deerstalker was originally meant to be worn by hunters (hence the name), the hat now connotes detective work, even without a detective’s head inside it. 
...Of course, as many Sherlockians know, the deerstalker wouldn’t have been Holmes’s daily choice of headwear. These hats were country gear, not fit for the city.  <Link>
Another of Mine

Photo and Video Snippet Credits:  Muffy Aldrich

If the embedded snippet does not play, click this link: <Link>
 

18 comments:

  1. What a wonderful addition to a country gentleman's hat collection. Just the sort of hat I'd wear to shoot hens with my neighbor, Harry Chauncey at Black Pointe every October.

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  2. Not many folks can wear a hat like that and look "good"!

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  3. How about some coverage of its New England cousin, the mad bomber hat?

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  4. Only an eccentric relic from across the pond could get away with that look.

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  5. Ah, you brought back sweet visions of Jeremy Brett. Of course, he didn't wear this hat as much as Basil Rathbone did. I agree that this is definitely not a city hat. A detective would not want to draw attention to himself.

    Years ago, when visiting the museum at 221-B Baker St., I looked down into the street from the upstairs window and said, "Just think, Sherlock Holmes stood right here!"

    My insensitive companion burst my bubble saying, "Susan, he was not real!" :-(

    Well, he was real to me!

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    1. Not going to lie, the Jeremy Brett BBC Holmes adaptations (all available in good quality on YouTube) were very much comfort viewing in the early days of the pandemic! They are - and he is, of course - superb... and I had forgotten how frequently quite droll he is!

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    2. Yes, that series worked on every level -- acting, set design, scripts, character development, not to mention, as you say, plenty of dry humor. It was definitive in that particular way that English period dramas of the '70s and 80s strived to be.

      A minor correction, though -- it was developed by John Hawkesworth for Granada TV, not the BBC. Hard to believe that Hawkesworth was the genius domus behind Holmes, Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, and Danger UXB. Not a bad run.

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    3. I am shamed, and hang my head accordingly! I of course only digested them through Mystery on PBS and must've subconsciously assumed they came from the BBC... thank you for your correction!

      That said, it was a pleasure sharing them with my young son at the time of their airing, who became such a fan it necessitated the purchase a Barbour deerstalker hat in a shop in Edgartown for a Sherlock Holmes Halloween costume in the early 90s... to bring it back to the post!

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    4. Afraid there's further bubble-bursting to do, Susan: Conan Doyle wasn't even picturing that building or block when he wrote the stories. Baker Street was shorter at the time, and he chose 221B as an entirely fictional address (much like the Ricardos' address on "I Love Lucy," 623 East 68th Street, which would be in the East River). When Baker Street was extended later, that created a building with that approximate address.

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    5. Mercy! That makes perfect sense. You know, I did think it odd to give a famous detective an address that actually existed. People could show up on "his" doorstep. Thanks for this history lesson. :-)

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  6. I found a picture of a deerstalker hat. It was in the dictionary, listed under "affectation." Many British garments make the trip to the U.S. quite well. This one, alas, does not.

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  7. The hat to wear on a rainy windy moor

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    1. Alone. Out of range of the paparazzi.

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    2. Not many of them around on Yorkshire grouse moor

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  8. Sheer perfection! Superb as always! Thank you so very much!

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  9. 1960s and '70s Formula 1 and sports car star Pedro Rodriguez wore a deerstalker, an unusual choice of headwear for a Hispanic man in his twenties and early thirties, but somehow he made it look good. He also carried a bottle of Tabasco sauce everywhere. But somehow he didn't seem eccentric.

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  10. I could no more wear one of those and get away with it than I could a Montana-peak campaign hat, a fedora, or a cowboy hat. Even a Tyrolean hat would be pushing it.

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