Offered on January 22-23 with an estimate of $55,000-75,000 in the One Things Leads to Another Marquis Auction at Theriault’s (15% buyer’s premium) of Annapolis, Maryland, the doll dated c.1760 was catalogued as “of exceptional beauty and size indicating its royal ties”, with a “superb original finish”.
It stands 2ft 4in (71cm) high and wears an “outstanding” costume of finest embroidered silk with jewellery and lace accoutrements, along with an extra early gown from her trousseau and related ephemera.
Born Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on May 19, 1744, the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elizabeth Albertina of Saxe- Hildburghausen married King George III a year after he succeeded to the throne in 1760.
The doll, with one-piece head and torso, was given to Charlotte Murray (1775-1832). She is listed as the daughter of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl and the Hon Jane Murray. She married Sir John Menzies of Castle Menzies, 4th Baronet, and Admiral Adam Drummond KCH 7th of Megginch. It had remained in the care of the Murray family and descendants until this time.
Another doll with an impressive early English provenance was guided at $25,000-35,000 but sold at $130,000 (£96,200). The Obergammergau example, c.1790, was originally owned by the Hebblewhite family of England.
They were haberdashers and silk mercers, specialising in sourcing fine fabrics for couturiers, as seen by the 1804 inventory paper included with this doll. The saleroom said it is likely the doll was used by the Hebblewhites as a model for these fabrics and their use in fashionable wear and was probably used over a period of some time, as the style of the costumes suggests the 1810-30 era.
It came with an extensive trousseau of 14 early gowns in various luxury fabrics with “exquisite detail” of construction, trim, and embroidery, along with various bonnets, capes, and other accessories, which were all preserved in an early decorated wooden box.
Also included was a small box with an engraved lid which contained tiny sample pieces of fabric with old ink script paper attached such as this piece of brocade was part of a gown belonging to Elizabeth, wife of Harry Gibbs or ribbon of wedding bouquet.
The doll, featuring a one-piece wooden head and torso, and the costumes remained in the original family until passing into the hands of only one previous collector several decades ago.
The Bavarian village of Obergammergau was famous for its many woodcarvers.
Travis Hammond of Theriault’s said: “Both lots sold to private US collectors and it was mostly US bidders competing online and on the telephone for each.
"We are pleased that prices continue to hold strongly for online, telephone and absentee bidding since we are still not back to in-person auctions. We also had a record number of online participants for the two-day auction.”