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Rare 18th Century Silk Shoes lead Costumes, Accessories & Textiles Sale

12th February 2024.

Antique costume led the Costume, Accessories and Accessories Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 9th February, when two pairs of late 18th century green silk shoes consigned from a private Cumbrian collection sold for £2,500 and £1,300 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium). These rare shoes were joined by a late 18th century silk open robe (sold for £850), and a silk sack back robe of the same date (sold for £750). Notable 19th century lots included a red cage crinoline hooped underskirt, which sold for £1,800, and an early 19th century possibly Indian white cotton muslin dress, which sold for £600.

Selling strongly throughout were a small collection of 19th and early 20th century Chinese embroidery and costume, which was collected by the late Dr Mary Cram (the vendor’s great aunt) when she was a Methodist medical missionary surgeon in the China in the 1930s. Not only was a female doctor, rare for the age, but she set out on the intrepid mission to China on her own for her first of two visits. She would meet her husband, a Methodist clergyman, in Wuhan where they married and had a son, John. Highlights of the collection included a 19th century Chinese summer skirt (sold for £1,000), a 19th century decorative Chinese red silk skirt (sold for £600), and an early 20th century Chinese black silk coat and a similar jacket (sold for £1,000). Moving into the 20th century, a stylish circa 1920s/30s evening coat in teal, black and gold sold for £1,400 against an estimate of £150-250.

Further highlights of the sale included interesting samplers, such as a framed York Quaker School alphabet sampler worked by Mary Ann Ross in 1796 (sold for £320), and a pictorial sampler worked in 1767 by Ann Spooner (sold for £600). A circa 1911 Steiff teddy bear in yellow mohair sold for £1,800, and good sewing accessories in the sale included a table top display cabinet for Dewhurst’s ‘Sylko Machine Twist’ cotton thread (sold for £400), and an early 29th century Clark’s sewing cotton table top advertising cabinet (sold for £320).

Finally, a good collection of lace attracted attention from collectors, with highlights including a late 19th century Brussels Point de Gaze lace handkerchief that was sold with two similar examples for £600, a late 19th/early 20th century Brussels applique lace flounce that sold for £500, and an early 20th century lace dress that sold for £320.

The sale achieved a total hammer price of £54,290 with an 89% sold rate for 255 lots.


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