Published 30th January 2008
The archive of Madame Handley Seymour, the exclusive London dressmaker from the 1920s to the 1940s, with Royal appointments from Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, will be offered for sale in the quarterly fine sale to be held on 30th January 2008.
Amongst the items to be sold will be a calico dress toile of the Coronation robe for Queen Elizabeth to wear at her coronation on 12th May 1937, together with two copyright pencil sketches of the design. These carry a pre-sale estimate of £7,000-£10,000.
Also included is a diamond set bar brooch with ER cipher and a card inscribed 'For Madame Handley Seymour with memories of many lovely dresses during the last twenty years – including my wedding dress and Coronation dress – from Elizabeth R'. The brooch in its original fitted case, together with the card are expected to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000.
Amongst many interesting letters is one dated 'Sept 27 1926 Balmoral' which states 'Would you be very kind and look through my bill before it is sent to me this autumn, as I thought that a few items in the last one were rather too expensive. I think it would be a good thing if you would do this as my clothes have cost a terrible lot lately…'. This three page manuscript letter is inviting bids between £150 and £250.
There are several other interesting lots within this unique archive, a total of 11 lots, with a pre-sale estimate of £10,000–£12,000.
Elizabeth Handley Seymour had her Atelier at 47 New Bond Street. She designed gowns for the Court and Society during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Included within the archive is a book of letters from those for whom she had designed costume including Anne Chamberlain, wife of Neville Chamberlain.
She also designed the dress and trousseau for the Duchess of York on the occasion of her wedding in 1923.