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Upstairs, Downstairs: Antique Costume at Auction

19th January 2024.

A host of beautiful 18th and 19th century costume and accessories redolent of the English Country House will go under the hammer in Tennants Auctioneers’ Costume, Accessories and Textiles Sale on 9th February, alongside a rare set of 19th Century men’s livery uniforms.

Amongst the aristocratic and Royal finery in the sale are a group of parasols and a walking stick made in the early 19th century and emblazoned with the crest of Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood and daughter of George V. The four parasols and one walking stick will be sold in three lots with estimates starting at £250-350 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium).  Also with a Yorkshire connection is an intricately carved Knitting Stick, inscribed with ‘Miss G Young’ and ‘Rudding Park’, a Georgian manor on the outskirts of Harrogate. Made in 1854, the knitting stick will be offered with an estimate of £120-180.

Amongst the antique costume are several pairs of 18th century shoes, including a pair of Late 18th Century Green Silk Lady’s Shoes with geometric applique trims (estimate: £800-1,200), and a pair of Late 18th Century Green Silk Damask Lady’s Shoes (estimate: £600-800). Dating from the same era is a Cream Silk Sack Back Robe, woven with floral posies (estimate: £300-500). From the 19th century comes the group of ten articles of men’s livery uniform, comprising Black Wool Livery Coats with brass buttons by Simpson & Sons of South Audley Street, London, which bear coronets and the initials ‘de D la T’, six Yellow Wool Livery Waistcoats, and two pairs of Grey Wool Breeches (estimate: £200-300). Also of interest is a beautifully embroidered Gent’s 19th Century Cream Silk Waistcoat (estimate: £120-180), an Early 19th Century Possibly Indian White Cotton Muslin Dress (estimate: £250-350), and a Circa 1930s White Cotton Dress (estimate: £200-300). Dating from the 1930s is an unusual and stylish Cream Chamois Leather Lady’s Motoring Coat, Hat and Veil (estimate: £200-300).

Also with Yorkshire interest is an Alphabet Sampler, worked in 1796 by Mary Ann Ross, a pupil at York Quarterly Metting’s Girls’ School, known today as The Mount School (estimate: £250-350). The Quaker school opened in 1785 on Trinity Lane by Esther and William Tuke who wanted to provide an education to the daughters of local Quaker families. A further notable sampler is a 1767 example, worked by Ann Spooner and incorporating bands of 17th century style flowers, parrots, dogs, stags, birds and lions (estimate: £400-600).

The top lot of the sale, however, is a Circa 1911 Steiff Yellow Mohair Joined Teddy Bear, on offer with an estimate of £1,800-2,200. The bear has the classic Steiff boot button eyes, stitched nose and paws, and the original metal tag to the ear. A good selection of Lace in the sale from a Private Collection includes fine examples of Late 19th Century Irish Youghal Needle Lace, Late 19th Century Swiss Whitework Lace, and Early 20th Century Honiton Lace.

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