Famous Feathers – Downton Abbey (of course!) and the Reeves Tail Feather

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This wonderful feather, from Downton Abbey Season 3 – Martha Levinson arrives, is the tail of the Reeves Pheasant rooster. We raised that kind of pheasant in our flock, as well as others.

The historical fiction of Downton Abbey, Season 3 by pbs.org is not only fantastic, it is full of glorious feathered headpieces that are keeping me busy with my blog series about uses of arts and crafts feathers in history, literature, and film.

I hope that the creators of the pbs special are using cruelty-free feathers, because it matters, and that said… we have to give Shirley MacLaine our full attention.

She is playing Martha Levinson, mother of Lady Grantham, and for her triumphant (for her) and dreaded (for Lady Grantham) arrival, she is wearing a magnificent feathered hat.

The feather is from a Reeves Pheasant rooster. We raised Reeves pheasant, and we were lucky enough to raise a rooster (also known as cock).

The pheasant do shed their tail feathers, or they can come off in natural, non-tragic, accidents, like when our rooster-boy was basking in the sun on a cold winter day and his tail froze into a shaded puddle on the aviary ground.

When he took off, his tail did not, and I was able to scurry out with a blow dryer and extension cord and claim the tail feather. It regrew, but it took time. He was more embarrassed than injured.

Martha Levinson’s hat feather has been curved and trimmed, showing the exotic pattern in a very fine way. You can’t see how long the Reeves pheasant tail feather can get from this hat piece – it can be upwards of two feet long, tapering at the end.

I don’t sell the Reeves pheasant tails, but I do have their body feathers in my specials and samplers, as well other spectacular feathers from the crest and body. And other feathers that appear on the hats of Downton Abbey.



Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).

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