Chapeaugraphy, occasionally anglicized to chapography, is the art of taking a ring-shaped piece of felt to manipulated it to look like various types of hats.
Although rarely seen today, it was featured in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1985, as performed by magician Harry Anderson.
A sample of the types of hat that can be created:
- baseball cap
- American and British army hats from the Revolutionary War
- pirate's hat
- naval captain's hat
- Mickey Mouse ears
- Ushanka (a Russian fur hat)
- mortarboard (a graduation cap)
- Catholic nun's headgear
- derby hat
Some known chapeaugraphers are
- Tabarin, a French comedian,
- John G. Hamley,
- Monsieur Fusier, another French comedian who revived the act,
- Paul Wildbaum, a Canadian(?) Magician, and
- Sir Richard, a New Zealander event host.
According to C. Lang Neil in "The Art of Chapeaugraphy" (1903), The Art of Chapaugraphy dates back to the year 1616 when Tabarin (Born Jean Salomon, 1584-1633), a French comedian, performed the feat of making some ten different hats.
See Tabarin (1863). A Biography written by Adolphe Delahays.
In the year 1870, Monsieur Fusier, a French comedian, revived the "Exercise of the Hat," giving some fifteen different character portraits with the felt ring.
It was in the following year, 1871, that Felicien Trewey saw Fusier give his performance, and by 1875 was performing with thirty-two to thirty-five differently shaped hats. Trewey also set the "rule" of making all the different faces of the various characters beneath the hats created by the pantomime of the performer’s features, without make-up of any kind. His performances were so successful in France, Britain, America and Europe that Chapaugraphy became known by the name of Treweyism.
Chapeaugraphy has been revived from time to time over the years. Frances Ireland Marshall of Magic, Inc., published "Chapeau Show for Kids," and "Let It Go To Your Head," causing an interest in the Art by Kid Show performers.
Harry Anderson performed some "bits" on National Television in the USA, prompting a revival among magicians.
Eleazar Goodenough, child magician, author and inventor at The Magic Nook, has been working on new forms, and using color felt rings has broadened the spectrum of Chapeaugraphy in his book-in-progress "Hat Rings."
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