The Washerwoman

Thursday 14 June 2012

Antique Costume and Textiles Auction

Once again, life has been keeping me very busy! Earlier in the year I was working on a Vintage Fashion Auction for Dreweatts and Bloomsbury. Following the sale, life was fairly quiet for a couple of weeks until the phone started ringing again.

One of the calls led me to visit a beautiful old house in Somerset where time had stood still for a very long time. I was asked to assess the value of the contents of dozens of old cardboard shop boxes from the late 19th and early 20th century.

Inside the boxes were sumptuous dresses, coats, skirts, shoes, parasols, oriental costumes, fans, hats, lace and textiles. There was even a photograph of a lady wearing one of the costumes in the early part of last century. The family had an interest in amateur dramatics, so the costumes had been used for plays and of course dressing up over the years at house parties.

Above is an amazing 1920s gold dress which came from the house and was worn at Court. It is now destined for the Collectors Sale at Dreweatts saleroom in Apsley road, Bristol on Tuesday 17th July. The catalogue is available on-line here

As with the previous auction I have been involved in promoting the sale. These are some of the images from the photo shoot we did a few weeks ago. What better place to choose than Heartfelt, the prettiest shop in Clifton!

Please note that some of the accessories belong to Heartfelt and are not for sale at auction.

Photography is by Evie from Karezona and Phil of Maclean photography who can be contacted via these links.

Make up was by the lovely and talented  Louise Mackintosh (07890 407 901) and the styling was by the fabulous Mandy Hawkins at Heartfelt (0117 904 2898) 32 Alma Vale Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2HY

 The models gave their time, and were rewarded with tea and cake which is served daily at the shop. They can be contacted via Mandy should you need the ideal gals for a vintage photo shoot!

As well as the "Country House collection" the auction will include items from other private vendors and collections. Below is a hat box believed to have belonged to the famous and extraordinary Duchess of Argyll

Another vendor has consigned her late mother's collection of Hermes accessories, a Chanel suit along with another by Balenciaga. The sale will also include vintage children's costume, lingerie, evening bags and compacts. Do email me at with any questions regarding the sale.

Thursday 7 June 2012

A visit to Whitewick, Bournville and a grave yard!

This week I have been away for a much overdue visit to this fantastic National Trust house in the Midlands.
For years I have known of the existence of  Whitewick Manor, and thanks to my son for getting us organised we managed to get there at long last.

The gardens are breathtaking, the small lake is the perfect feature, so serene with the reflection of the shrubs and flowers.

The house was built in 1887, then extended in 1893. Theodore Mander and his wife chose to furnish the house in the Arts and Crafts style, and it remains as a rare example of a house of that time that is virtually unchanged.

Despite its romantic facade, it was in fact one of the very first homes to have electric lighting. The plumbing would have been considered very modern and it also had "central heating".

Sadly, we were unable to take any photos of the inside of the house. The rooms were sumptuous with silk and paper wall coverings by William Morris. His textiles adorn window seats, chairs, beds and windows. My favourite rooms were the day and night nursery with its hand painted decorations, toys and nursery curtains and bed covers.

Every room had beautiful tiled fireplaces, many by William de Morgan, and there were superb paintings from some of the leading artists from that time and earlier.

Next stop was the Bournville "model village" which was built by the Cadbury Family in the late 19th to early 20th century for the factory workers. They were concerned with the health and fitness of their work force, so playing fields, bowling greens and swimming pools were also built.

I loved this row of shops (above) with its interesting roof-line and lack of colourful "modern" advertisements. It was just like walking along a high street in the 1930s.

Within the estate was this beautiful (and much older) building which the Cadbury family moved to the area in the late 19th century. The stunning Selly Manor - sadly closed that day, so we couldn't explore it.

The slightly austere exterior of the Meeting House, just off the Bournville Green (above) and the Rest House which was based on the design of the Yarn Market in Dunster, Somerset.

....and last, but not least a visit to a beautiful and extremely atmospheric graveyard in Harborne

Footpaths criss-cross the area and bluebells and wild garlic are in abundance! Hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our enjoyable day off from work!