Pair of 18th century green silk and leather shoes which led Tennants’ sale of Costume and Textiles on £2500.

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Heading Tennants(24/20% buyer’s premium) 250-plus lot sale of Costume, Accessories and Textiles were some well-preserved 18th century ladies’ shoes that were consigned from a Cumbrian private collection.

Top price of the day at £2500, over double the £800-1200 top estimate, came for a pair of late 18th century green silk and kid leather-lined shoes.

They were in generally good condition, though with a couple of puncture holes where the buckles would have originally been fixed. The auction house had also queried whether their green trim might be later.


Pair of 18th century black wool shoes offered with another later pair in black silk, £1500 at Tennants.

Two more fabric and leather pairs offered as one lot - one pair from the late 18th century in black wool with pale blue silk trimmings, floral embroidery and green enamel and gilt metal buckles; the other later in date made from contrast stitched black silk - went for £1500, considerably more than the £250-350 predicted.

Mixing it up


Tennants’ auction also featured a collection of lace including examples of Brussels, Irish (Youghal and Limerick) and Honiton lace, largely from the 19th century and later, mostly offered as group lots. Prices were generally modest, in the low hundreds, but making rather more at £600 was a lot comprising three lace handkerchiefs including one in Brussels point de gaz from the late 19th century, all with the initials MOS, and a late 19th/early 20th century long Brussels appliqué flounce, a detail of which is shown here, that realised £500.

A rich mix from the textile world was on offer in the February 9 auction at Leyburn: period costume from the 18th century right through to the 20th; antique samplers; a collection of lace; ecclesiastical garments; quilts and coverlets and Chinese robes.


This 19th century hooped cage crinoline skirt realised £1800 at at Tennants.

The joint second most expensive item proved to be not an elegant robe or suit but something that would have been hidden from view - a rare cage crinoline skirt dated to the 19th century.

Composed of 14 brass mounted hoops latticed together with red wool and stamped The Diamond ***** London to the waistband, it went way past the £150-250 guide to take £1800.

A couple of late 18th century cream silk robes were also up among the more expensive items. One was a sackback model, self striped, floral woven and with a later pink stomacher that realised £750; the other an open robe embroidered with flowers that realised £850.

Like most early costume, both pieces had undergone alterations and repairs during their lifetime and had some wear.

An early 19th century Empire line long sleeve dress in white cotton muslin, thought perhaps to be of Indian origin, realised £600.

Geometric style


A 1920s-30s geometric patterned silk lined evening coat, £1400 at Tennants.

Making more than these, however, was a much later, interwar period, evening coat decorated with a bold geometric design in teal, gold and black. Condition wise, this had wear and tarnishing, fading and “several areas were quite grubby” according to the catalogue but it was a stylish design and managed a price of £1400 where £150-250 had been predicted.


One of the items of Chinese clothing collected by the late Dr Mary Cram was this 19th century gauze summer skirt embroidered with dragon roundels and with a wave and dragon hem. It sold for £1000 at Tennants.

A small selection of Chinese costume included four lots with an interesting provenance. They were collected by the great aunt of the vendors, the late Dr Mary Cram (nee Redhead), who was a Methodist medical missionary surgeon in China in the 1930s.

She visited China twice, firstly as a single woman and surgeon and then when she met her husband, a Methodist minister in Wuhan. They had a son and one of the items offered here was a small child’s red silk coat and shoes offered as part of a mixed lot which sold for £250.

The group also included a 19th century black gauze summer skirt embroidered with roundels of five clawed dragons, sold for £1000.


Another item included in the Tennants sale was this 20in (51cm) Steiff mohair jointed teddy bear from c.1911 with the trademark button in its ear. It made one of the top prices when it sold for £1800.