A pair of 1940s crewelwork panels made by sisters Mabel and Sybil Eden sold for £3,200 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Costume Accessories and Textiles Sale on 13th February, more than ten times the top estimate. The panels were decorated with colourful embroidered flora and fauna, including birds and deer. Mabel’s diaries were published by Peter Whiteley, 'Mabel Eden's Diary: The Life of a Lady' published 2014, following her aristocratic life from 1878-1949.
Colourful period textiles were in demand throughout the sale, which achieved a 97% sold rate, with further highlights including a Large Early 19th Century Cream Silk Bed Cover, which sold for £800, and a 19th Century Reversible Patchwork Quilt that incorporated a variety of vibrant printed cottons, which sold for £1,900 against an estimate of £600-800. Also on offer were a selection of 1960s printed textiles, amongst which were a pair of cotton curtains made from ‘Stones of Bath’ fabric, which was designed by leading Modern British artist John Piper for Arthur Sanderson & Sons Ltd. and sold for £550.
Costume, period and vintage, sold well across the sale too, such as a Regency Cream Figured Silk Wedding Jacket that was worn by Mrs Sackham (née Harriet Wickens) when she married in 1815, which sold for £800. A further Victorian Cream Silk Wedding Dress, heavily ruched and labelled inside ‘Miss Wharton 34 Duke Street Grosvenor Square’, sold for £500.
Mid-century costume saw particularly strong bidding. A group lot of twelve items of costume made in the 1940s and bearing the CC41 label sold for £1,000, ten times the bottom estimate. The ‘CC41’ label denotes Utility Clothing made in accordance with austerity regulations in wartime and Post-War Britain. By 1941, Britain was facing severe shortages of both the raw materials and the labour force needed to make clothing. Prices had rocketed, and the need to ration commodities led to the British Board of Trade launching a Utility Products scheme in which the Government controlled the import of raw materials, which they sold to manufacturers who made clothes, footwear and furniture that complied with austerity regulations. Each item was marked as ‘CC41’ – a distinctive logo standing for Controlled Commodity 1941. CC41 clothing is much in demand at auction.
Highlights of costume from the 1950s to the 1970s included a group of three pieces by Jean Muir London and Marisa Martin Knightsbridge that sold for £550, and a group of circa evening dresses by the likes of Worth London, Frank Usher and John Selby of London that sold for £450.
The sale achieved a total hammer prices of £41,380 for the 188 lots, and a 97% sold rate.