Bergére literally means shepherdess (the masculine shepherd is a berger), and the style has a strong link with 18th century pastorialism, and pastoral fashions. Bergére hats are also sometimes called milkmaid hats. It’s easy to see how a simple, wide-brimmed straw hat would be a useful part of a shepherdesses or milkmaids costume, protecting the skin from the sun and the eyes from glare.
A charming pastel portrait by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun of Corisande Armandine Sophie Leonie de Gramont (1783-1865), the daughter of Aglaé de Polignac, Duchesse de Guiche and granddaughter of Yolande Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchesse de Polignac.
Lady Caroline Lamb (1785-1828) was a novelist, infamous for her 1812 affair with Lord Byron, whom she then caricatured in her Gothic novel "Glenarvon." Sir Thomas Lawrence never completed this portrait of her, begun in 1827 (she died in Jan. 1828). Here, she looks younger than her 42 years, but she was said to have had a childlike appearance.