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2005/89/4 Cowboy hat and hat band, dog's, velvet / cotton / sequin / metal, used by Edward Bear, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, [1995-2000]. Click to enlarge.

Dog’s cowboy hat and hat band used by Edward Bear

Made in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1995-2000.

This hat documents the relationship between self-confessed Sydney eccentric Richard Lee and his beloved Chihuahua Edward Bear. Its significance stems from its association with the familiar pair who brought fun and eccentricity, sequins and glamour to Sydney suburbs, suburban shopping centres and train stations from 1989 to 2004.

This acquisition has the potential to communicate stories about individuals outside mainstream society and the extreme reactions which they inspire. The objects could ...

Summary

Object No.

2005/89/4

Object Statement

Cowboy hat and hat band, dog's, velvet / cotton / sequin / metal, used by Edward Bear, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, [1995-2000]

Physical Description

Cowboy hat and hat band, dog's, velvet / cotton / sequin / metal, used by Edward Bear, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, [1995-2000]

A small black velvet cowboy hat decorated at band with opal patterned stickers and worn by the chihuahua Edward Bear. The hat fastens using two cotton ties. Accompanying the hat is a black fabric hat band decorated with silver discs and secured with orange thread. The hat band was worn with the hat.

Marks

No marks.

Production

Notes

Maker unknown. Richard Lee modified the hat by adding an extra strap so that it would not fall off Edward Bear's head while riding on his bike. One tie went under Edward Bear's chin and an additional one went around his neck to secure it in place.

History

Notes

For 14 years Sydney eccentric Richard Lee and his beloved Chihuahua dog Edward Bear travelled daily to the park and on excursions to Bondi and Manly by train. Lee created elaborately decorated dog houses which he attached to the back of his motorised bicycle so that Edward could accompany him wherever he went.

Lee and Edward Bear were familiar figures around Sydney. Children were especially attracted to Edward and his ornate homes (in particular the light which worked). Lee often told stories and gave small gifts of plastic doll's pegs to children which he called "fairy pegs". These were kept in a sequined bag hanging from the bicycle's handlebars. The 25 km/h speed limit imposed on Lee's bicycle enabled pedestrians and office workers to view Edward Bear sitting in his sequined dog houses. The unconventional pair were well-known to local shopkeepers, Mormon preachers and St Vincent de Paul workers.

Lee created thematic dog houses for Edward Bear to travel in. During winter Edward was transported around Sydney in a Swiss chalet complete with its own satellite dish. Edward Bear's summer dwelling was a block of units populated with mini-eccentrics including surfers and "ladies of ill-repute" and featuring an American Embassy and Church of Latter Day Saints tabernacle. The tabernacle was included especially for the Mormons preachers who came to know Lee and Edward Bear. A Christmas house was transformed to incorporate different religious iconography. Lee was inspired to include Chinese New Year decorations by the many Chinese people living in his suburb of Chatswood. Lee said of this house that he was "trying to meld our societies together, Chinese people would come up and talk to me, everyone was having more fun, not just us."

Lee often decorated the houses using ideas or pieces given to him by passers-by or friends met on their travels. The houses include safety features like battery-operated flashing lights for night cycling and environmentally-friendly solar-panelled air-conditioning. The latter was installed along with a water bed for Edward Bear's comfort.

Lee's patriotism and political views are represented by Boxing Kangaroo toys and flags, the Australian flag, American flag, and an Israeli flag which he removed after many negative comments. Generally people reacted favourably to Lee and Edward Bear, however there were exceptions such as a group of young men from the Chatswood area who vilified Lee.

Edward Bear died in May 2004 aged 15 years. After his death Lee painted his bicycle black and removed many of the decorative items in tribute to his cherished dog. According to Lee those who regularly saw the pair were genuinely upset to hear of Edward Bear's death. Lee wished to donate these objects to the Museum so that Edward Bear's memory would live on. "To me it's very, very crucial that you people [the Powerhouse Museum] take it. That he's remembered in the future, he brought so much attention and everyone loved him so much."

Richard Lee and Edward Bear were featured in the State Library of New South Wales exhibition "Sydney Eccentrics: A Celebration of Individuals in Society", 17 April to 29 August 1999, the accompanying "Good Weekend" article, a 2000 Fox documentary and many other articles.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Mr Richard Lee, 2005

Acquisition Date

22 March 2005

Cite this Object

Harvard

Dog's cowboy hat and hat band used by Edward Bear 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 May 2019, <https://ma.as/350193>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/350193 |title=Dog's cowboy hat and hat band used by Edward Bear |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 May 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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