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Her interest began in the 1920s after marrying New York dealer Benjamin Ginsburg of Ginsburg and Levy, and in the late 1960s she set up her own business in the Madison Avenue area of New York.

“The name Cora Ginsburg means a lot to anyone in the textile and costume world… If you put a needlework in front of her, her eyes would light up,” recalled Sotheby’s costume and textile specialist Kerry Taylor.

A mixture of 36 European embroideries, brocades, printed fabrics and accessories from Cora Ginsburg’s personal collection were included in the 79-lot European needlework and textile section of Sotheby’s Bond Street English Furniture sale on November 26.

Buyers predominantly comprised UK and US collectors, although Kerry Taylor said there was also international institutional and trade interest.

“These were not necessarily the most spectacular textiles she ever handled but were the works she kept in her home… They were fantastic, delicious pieces with relatively low estimates from a woman whose name is synonymous with everything fine in needlework,” she enthused.

One of the consignment’s most
contested entries was an Italian embroidered and painted silk picture by Elena Stefanini, 1835, 101/2 x 8in (27cm x 20cm), depicting two fashionably dressed young ladies seated on a garden bench gazing longingly at a portrait miniature.

“Embroideries of this type were
popular from 1790-1820 so this is a very late example,” explained Kerry Taylor. “It is the best example of its kind I have ever seen.” Estimated at £1000-1500, it was taken to £11,000 by a US private buyer.

Amongst the earlier works, a 17th
century English embroidered feast scene depicting an elegant couple with curly French knotted silk hair – their needlepoint robes trimmed with seed pearls – fetched £14,000, double the estimate, while a UK private buyer went to a multi-estimate £13,500 to secure an English
silk embroidery depicting Abraham and Sarah dining with three angels, c.1700.

It was particularly desirable for its
bright colours, the striped clothing, and its condition.

Buyers were found for all bar two of Cora Ginsburg’s consignment and the interest generated by the collection had a knock-on effect for the rest of the textile section that boasted an overall 90 per cent take-up by lot. Cora Ginsburg’s costume collection will be coming up at auction with Kerry Taylor at Sotheby’s in London next April.