While items of Queen Victoria’s clothing are not a rare sight at auction, a collection on offer in Derbyshire proved of high enough quality to attract bidding from a world-famous collection of royal dress.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | ATG Reporter
Boots, bodices, skirt, chemise, stockings, parasol and bloomers were on offer at Hansons (20% buyer’s premium) in Etwall on January 21.
Though some international buyers were successful in obtaining items, two pairs of leather boots by J Sparks-Hall of London, a black taffeta skirt and two bodices were secured for a total of £14,000 by Historic Royal Palaces. This independent charity looks after London’s Kensington Palace, Victoria’s place of birth, alongside five other former royal residences.
Claudia Williams, collections curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “As well as being included in future displays, these items reveal that, contrary to popular belief, Queen Victoria did not abandon all interest in her appearance after the death of her beloved Prince Albert, and highlight how – in an era of black and white photography – she exploited clothing’s capacity to communicate, using it as a potent visual symbol of her undying love for her husband.”
The collection, owned by generations of the same family for more than 100 years, belonged to 63-year-old electrical engineer Roderick Williams from Coltishall, near Norwich, Norfolk.
Williams said: “They are all family heirlooms which were originally given to my great-great grandfather, Alexander Lamont Henderson. He worked as a royal photographer for Queen Victoria up to her death in 1901. We think the clothes were probably given to him by servants in the royal household, perhaps in return for taking photographs of them.”