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Writers & Poets

Thomas Carlyle

Top hat belonging to Thomas Carlyle

Period:
19th Century
Description:

Born in Ecclefechan the son of a stonemason, and educated at the village school and Annan Grammar School, Thomas Carlyle was to become known as the “Sage of Chelsea” - the most influential and original thinker of Victorian Britain.  Despite this rise to fame and a busy literary life, Carlyle remained close to his family and often returned to Dumfriesshire.  He frequently visited his sister, Jean Aitkin, and his brother, Dr John Carlyle, who lived at The Hill on St Mary’s Street.

In the 1870s the boyhood home of the author and playwright J M Barrie was in nearby Victoria Terrace.  Barrie later recalled “When I was at school in Dumfries I often saw Carlyle in cloak, sombrero and staff, mooning along our country roads, a tortured mind painfully alone even to the eyes of a boy…I always took off my cap to him. I daresay I paid this homage fifty times, but never was there any response.”

There is a narrow band of ribbon around the base of the hat, held with a tiny black clasp.

Place of Production:
Berlin, Germany
Materials/Media:
silk, plush, leather, paper
Dimensions:
length 340mm, 310mm, 180mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1935.52
Digital Number:
DMCL004n
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council


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