Man's Bicorne Hat
Artist/maker unknown, French. Worn by George Harrison, while in diplomatic service, American, 1762 - 1845. Worn by George Harrison, while in diplomatic service, American, 1762 - 1845.
Hats with the brim folded up on two sides (a variant on the earlier three-cornered hat) were adopted by young fops in the late eighteenth century. Bicornes, as they later came to be called, could be worn pointed front to back or, as Napoleon preferred, side to side. Long after the fashion for bicornes passed, they remained part of many uniforms, including formal diplomatic wear. For this ceremonial role, the crescent-shaped hats were not usually worn on the head, but carried flat under the arm as what became known as chapeau bras.