Vintage Fashion & Textiles

Marilyn Monroe’s record-breaking ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress, which sold for $1.2m in 1999; Olivier Coutau-Begarie’s two-day sale of 5000 pieces of antique silks tapestries and embroideries from the House of Hamot; the lively vintage fashion fairs held around the country every month – each has its own place in the world of fashion and textile collecting.

Samplers sew up major interest at needlework specialist sale

30 January 2002

THE Midlands branch of Bonhams is the clearing house for all sewing pieces offered to the empire’s rooms and showed its worth at this specialist sale on 13 December.

Lost and found in the salerooms

05 December 2001

When Sotheby’s sold Joan Stephens’ collection of samplers and needlework in New York in 1997, the second most expensive lot, at $90,000, was an English needlework picture initialled EP, and dated 1746.

Costume cuts dramatic dash

04 July 2001

This dramatic theatrical costume for a warrior in yellow satin with gilt thread and silk embroidery took the top price in a sale of Asian Costume and Textiles held by Christie’s South Kensington on June 21.

Why history is pants

21 June 2001

A pair of early Levi’s jeans dragged from the mud of a Nevada mining town were worth far more than their weight in gold when sold through eBay on May 25.

Silk-embroidered linen ceremonial panel

14 May 2001

UK: Moroccan textiles were the strong suit in Christie’s South Kensington’s May 4 sale of Islamic and Indian textiles, none more so than this impressive 2ft 3in x 8ft x6in (70cm x 2.6m) silk-embroidered linen ceremonial panel dated to the 18th century and worked with striking abstract designs.

Wellington – soldier of the right fibre

26 February 2001

UK: SUCH has been the surge in popularity of English samplers and related textiles over the past few years (driven largely by American collectors who can no longer afford their own folk art) that any picture with even a hint of natural fibre is guaranteed to attract interest at auction.

Christie’s to sell part of Wernher Collection

10 April 2000

UK: Christie’s are to sell a selection of works of art from the Wernher Collection, expected to fetch over £10m, as the highlight of their summer season.

Oh yes – I’m the great Pretender’s

19 July 1999

UK: “A piece of the plaid worn by Prince Charles Edward Stuart at the battle of Culloden and left by him at Sir James Mackintosh Moy Hall Chief of the Clan Chatten. Presented by Lady Mackintosh to Sir Thomas Grey.” – so read the handwritten statement which accompanied this tattered tartan fragment, 6in (15cm) square, to Phillips’ sale of textiles in Edinburgh on July 2.

Humour in stitches

26 April 1999

UK: COLOURFUL and humorous, this late 17th century needlework panel, left, was the top textile at Neale’s (15 per cent buyer’s premium) sale in Nottingham on March 25-26.

Travelling set fit for a general

12 April 1999

UK: PROBABLY commissioned by General Charles Churchill – whose arms it bears – for his European campaigns after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, this William and Mary silver-gilt travelling set came up at Mellors & Kirk of Nottingham on March 25-26 where it sold privately at £48,000 (plus 10 per cent premium).

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