Cloaks in one form or another were popular items of dress in the American colonies from the time of the early settlers. This particular type of cloak, called a "cardinal" because of its color, is made of a closely woven wool cut on the bias and left with a raw edge along the hem. The hooded cape is a variant of the capuchin, or monk’s habit. It is gathered in a circular shape at the back to stand high without crushing the mobcap or coiffure underneath. The vestee is a practical solution for keeping the upper torso warm while leaving the hands free. By the late eighteenth century cardinals could be bought ready-made in England; thus, it is possible that this cape was imported rather than made in the colonies.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," January 1, 1981–January 2, 1982.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Two by Two," September 10, 1996–November 17, 1996.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age Of Napoleon," December 13, 1989–April 15, 1990.