In keeping with this weeks unexpected theme of antique clothing, I thought you might like to view this ever changing treasury of wonderful vintage clothes: Kerry Taylor Auctions.

I’ve been fan of this site for some time(I can’t trust myself to go to one of the auctions for fear of the bankruptcy court!). Kerry Taylor is a consultant at Sotheby’s, where she trained, and after a specatular career at that auction house, set up on her own account in 2003. As her website states:

In her career, Kerry has worked on historic, landmark auctions such as the wardrobes of Duke & Duchess of Windsor, the stunning haute couture wardrobe of Princess Lilian of Belgium (where early 50s Diors looked as fresh as the day they were made complete with matching accessories), the historically important wedding suit of King James II and VII of 1673 which now form part of the Victoria & Albert Museum collection.

Since Kerry Taylor Auctions was established the firm has handled the collections of style icon – the Honorable Daphne Guinness, supermodels Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin, the actress Leslie Caron’s collection of Haute Couture including 1950s Givenchy and 60s Saint Laurent. We have also sold landmark collections of gowns by Audrey Hepburn (the largest group of garments ever to come onto the open market) and the historic Emanuel Royal Archive which included the black dress worn by Lady Diana Spencer on her first public engagement with Prince Charles in 1981 for a record £192,000.

Her auctions are always happy hunting grounds for those amongst us who are interested in the  history of clothing. Her current auction has these amazing goodies on offer, amongst other treasures:

Lot 28:  A fine gentleman’s banyan, circa 1730-40, of blue Chinese damask, woven with large-scale repeats of Chinese censors on stands, amid acanthus scrolls and exotic fruits, of simple kimono-like construction, lined in blue taffeta, with fold-back cuffs, no fastenings, the back panel formed from a single 28in, 71cm wide loom width with additional silk to form the side skirts, the front panels with the woven pattern showing upside down, chest 143cm, 56in.

Lot 25: the remains of a luxurious gold brocaded lampas robe à la Française, mid 18th century, the silk circa 1730-40 with large-scale design of foliate palmettes in predominantly gold with deep salmon satin and lime brocade highlights, comprising: complete back and front sections, unpicked and re-sewn hip sections, but lacking sleeves.

Lot 31: A Honiton bobbin appliqué gown, circa 1800, but later altered for fancy dress, the bobbin net ground sprigged with Honiton leaves,

the neck similarly edged with deep Honiton border to the hem, relined in the 1930s in blue crepe, bust 82cm, 32in.

This action is to take place next Tuesday, and Im eagerly watching it to see what prices these items raise.

Although not strictly  relevant to Jane Austen’s era, you might be intestate to know of some other items in the sale. In this year of a rather lovely Royal Wedding(and wedding dress!) Kerry Taylor is auctioning the replica wedding dresses made for Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson and The Countess of Wessex, form the collection of Madame Tussards. I remember being very disappointed with the overall appearance of Princes Diana’s wedding dress on the actual wedding day, but when I saw her shoes (when the wedding dress made a tour of museums later in the year) I was entranced. The replica shoes are included in the sale. And I now confess that my own wedding shoes were based on this design ;)

And on that wistful note may I take this opportunity to wish all my reader in the United States a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. I am very thankful for all your comments and your many visits :)