The Washerwoman

Thursday 9 May 2013

Vintage Costume and Memories

Many people comment on the stack of old photographs that I usually have somewhere on my stand at fairs. The sight of a black and white picture stirs memories, and the usual remark is “How sad, who are these unknown people?”

The same can be said for selling Vintage clothing. One might dwell on the question of who wore the garments and to which special occasion? In general it is the “best” dresses, hats or coats that survive the years as they have been cared for, and stored away.

Recently I met a lovely lady who had some clothing that she wanted to place in the Dreweatts and Bloomsbury auction in Bristol. She showed me dresses and silk dressing gowns that had been carefully placed into boxes with tissue paper layers to protect them that had been put away by her Aunt over 40 years ago.

Amongst the collection was a wedding dress, lovingly folded within its own box, along with a photograph of the wedding day. The story was a poignant one.
The Aunt had been a nurse for many years and had worked alongside a man who she adored. They were finally able to marry in the 1960s, but tragically he died just 10 months after the wedding.

We both felt emotional at the thought of such a life, waiting all those years for the chance to wear the beautiful dress on such a momentous day, and then having such a short time together.
The vendor kindly copied these photographs for me. The first one shows her Aunt in her nurses uniform and the Doctor who she worked with.

The second is taken on the happy day when they were married.

I come across many collections of costume and textiles whilst working for the auction, but very few of them have a story to tell as the information has usually been lost.
 On Thursday May 23rd. The Collectors sale will take place at the saleroom in Baynton Road Bristol. The Textile and costume section has over 100 lots of assorted treasures, most of which have come from private sources and will be seeing the light of day for the first time in many years.

Viewing is on Wednesday 22nd from 10.30 to 6 pm and on the morning of the sale from 9am.

Live bidding on-line is also available via the

The catalogue can be viewed on-line here.


nilly said...

I never tire of hearing life stories and I love looking at other people's family photos and treasures. Perhaps that's why we're in this business - and I'm sure it's because we're women too.

Josie-Mary said...

Such a sad story :( x

Clare said...

What a sad story..

BusyLizzie said...

Thank you ladies for your comments, I must say I was really touched when the client told me this story. Lizzie x

Unknown said...

So lovely to meet you too. It's lovely to put a face to all the beautiful wears I have been coveting via the internet all this time. In fact I now can't stop thinking about your Victorian glass flower wall pictures now. If you still have them when I get paid then it's meant to be and I might have to treat myself to one, do you post bits out? Oh can't wait to see the blog post, I'll share it on our Deans Court Facebook page. I'm going to do one starring all of you on the Sharland & Lewis blog so i'll let you know when its up. Hope you had a lovely weekend too. x

ted and bunny said...

how did I miss this post Lizzie when it came out?
A poignant tragedy- right up my street.
Lovely to see the wedding photo