The Sandra Hildreth-Brown Vintage Costume collection

21 May, 2016

Lacy Scott & Knight are pleased to offer this wonderful collection of antique clothing, which was the lifetime collection and passion of the late Sandra Hildreth-Brown (1934-2015).

 Sandra's interest in the history of fashion was born of making her own clothes as a teenager in post-war austerity Britain.  In 1964 she moved to St Albans to marry James, who was involved in local museums, where her interest soon developed as they began collecting historic costume together.

At that time, period costume, some of it dating from the early 1700s, could be readily found in antique shops and local auctions.  Sandra and James' collection soon took off!  Many of Sandra's best pieces were sourced from Roger Warner, a much-respected Burford dealer, who mainly found them at Cotswold Country House Sales.  These houses often kept period costume in the 'dressing up box' in the nursery, or stowed away and neglected for decades in trunks and chests of drawers as unwanted 'old clothes'.

costume 4

James and Sandra were both photographers and Decorative Arts lecturers at local colleges of further education and the W.E.A. (Workers Educational Association).  Sandra, being very slim, could model her own collection; she even made copies of stays so that the shape of her body was correct for the period.  She must have caused a stir driving to lectures wearing period costume and stays!  Sadly, in the 1990s the supply of early period costume began to dry up, at the same time that leisure learning classes in adult education virtually ceased to exist.

 

 

Sandra's collection spans many centuries and different fashions.  It is a fascinating testament to our changing tastes and perceptions of beauty, as well as being a reflection of how mechanisation and issues of practicality have affected how we dress. 

 costume 1costume 2costume 3

Please note: The collection is to be sold without reserve and estimates. Experience has taught us that estimates are extremely difficult in this field, so potential buyers must decide how much they wish to bid.  Brief condition reports are available online.  All lots are sold as seen and are not subject to return under any circumstances.  Any sizes given are estimates only.  We strongly advise interested parties to view any lots prior to bidding.

Costume collection 

Full sale catalogue 

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