Published: May 25, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Augusta Auction Company
BELLOWS FALLS, VT.- Augusta Auction Company’s operations manager Julia Ricklis said the pandemic brought on a year-long spring cleaning of sorts.
“We’ve seen a lot of folks cleaning out estates or family homes that they haven’t been through in a while, and we’ve had a lot of consignment inquiries during the last year,” she said. “People spending time at their homes, looking in those old chests and clearing things out.”
The firm’s May 12 sale, titled Spring Fling – Vintage Visions, brought 256 lots of historic threads to new hands.
Top among them was a $15,000 result for an open robe and petticoat made from Spitalfields silk, so named for the place it was made in England. The circa 1736 robe bore a label for Faith Savage Waldo, also known as Mrs Cornelius Waldo, who imported textiles. An advertisement in a Boston newspaper listed her offerings as “Sattins, Lute-strings, Mantua Silks, black Padosoy, Alamode, Damask Table Linnen, Chints, Callicoes, fine Cambricks, Muslins, Hollands, Garlicks and sundry other choice Goods, lately Imported from London, by Wholesale and Retail at very Reasonable Rates.” A portrait of Waldo is in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum.
“Aside from the silk itself, the gown was also in remarkable condition,” said Ricklis, “retaining most of its original form. These gowns were made to be updated and worn for multiple generations and this gown had been modified at the front of the bodice in the mid-Victorian era. Other than that, it remained in its original form, including the petticoat with the elaborated double-draped furbelows.”
The gown sold to an American institutional buyer.
Among the discoveries was an evening mantle by Parisian dressmaker and designer Emile Pingat, circa 1890, that had been found in a barn.
“The buyers of the estate found it in nearly perfect condition,” Ricklis said. “They didn’t know what they had but they knew enough to call us. Even the lining was in remarkable condition.”
In cream silk satin, the mantle with appliques of metallic brocaded green silk velvet featured Tudor rose and arabesque motifs. It sold for $4,560. Pingat was a contemporary of Charles Frederick Worth, known for his outerware and capes. He worked until about 1896.
The firm offered a number of works from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York, including a $3,240 result for a circa 1860 quilted silk satin hooded evening coat in seafoam green with floral and leaf motifs. A tassel of the same color hung off the hood.
“The pointed hood was certainly en vogue in this era, though I wouldn’t say it was normal,” Ricklis said. “Certainly an embellishment.”
She pointed to another lot from the museum, a circa 1868 five-piece convertible gown with matching cape that also featured a pointed hood with tassel, though it was made as pure decoration to hang off the back – not to be worn. Ricklis said this lot exemplified the fashion for false hoods. It brought $2,160.
A set of three TWA paper dresses by Eli Daggs from 1968 would produce $1,625. The group featured two Olde English wench-style outfits and a gold paper metallic dress in the French maid style. In the late 1960s, TWA Airlines would require their stewardesses to wear certain style paper dresses according to the flight destination: English maids for flights to London, French maids for flights to Paris. Each stewardess would be given a set of two for each flight, one to be worn each way. “They would rip,” Ricklis said, “and the consignor told us the stewardesses would carry a roll of duct tape to fix the dresses. The consignor was tiny and never ripped hers, so she would wear the same one twice and keep the second one.”
“It was a very well-rounded sale,” Ricklis concluded, “We had high-quality consignments and great interest in them. We’re delighted to see pieces go to public and private collections, as well as collectors all over the world.”
Augusta Auction Company will conduct a two-day discovery sale July 31 to August 1, featuring thousands of items in uncataloged box lots. The firm’s next cataloged sale will be on September 15.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For additional information, www.augusta-auction.com or 802-463-3333.
September 27, 2022
September 27, 2022
September 27, 2022
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