Wednesday 26 October 2011

Queen Victoria's Stockings & Bloomers at Lyon & Turnbull * 1 November

I once held a pair of WB Yeat's underpants. They were large and long - baggy even - and much washed. They belonged to a friend of mine and the whole event of their being brought out for display was so utterly bizarre that the details of their provenance went by me. This I can say, they were not autographed, did not have a tag in the back with WB Yeat's name on nor were they cross-stitched with WBY anywhere I could see. Without my friend's tale I guess they were indistinguishable from any pair of men's underpants of that age. I am bothered now thinking who would give away or lend underclothes? If you were kin to Queen Victoria, would you dispose of her stockings and bloomers? Gloves, yes, I can see that. But intimate undergarments? How? Bebaffled that I am, the fact is that Lyon and Turnbull are auctioning these pieces which formerly belonged to Queen Victoria. Lot 411 is a pair of Queen Victoria's ivory silk stockings embroidered ‘VR20’ and crowned. They are presented in a frame measuring 48 x 35cm (18.9 x 13.8in) and come with an estimate of £2,000 - £3,000.
The items belonged to the wealthy publisher Malcolm Forbes and were on display in the family home in Old Battersea - a home in which Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky had their honeymoon. Another visitor to the house was Prince Charles and this particular lot - 414 - a pair of Queen Victoria's silk bloomers also embroidered ‘VR2’was popped away in a cupboard during his visits. They are now in a frame measuring 89 x 85cm (35 x 33.5in). Their estimate is £2,000 - £3,000.
Lot 412 is a pair of Queen Victoria's Kid Gloves embroidered ‘VR’ in silver thread, in a frame 39 x 28cm (15.4 x 11in). The estimate for these gloves is £300 - £500.
Lot 409 is another pair of Queen Victoria's silk stockings embroidered with initials ‘VR’, framed, 93 x 35cm (36.6 x 13.8in); together with a framed and glazed pair of photographs and bearing inscription ‘John Meakin (born 1816) and Ann Birkin (born 1816)/ Hosiery Weaver and Hosiery Embroideress for Her Majestys (sic) the Queen/ for sixty years: both photographed in 1898’ The estimate for this lot is £500 - £800.
Lot 403 is Queen Victoria's whiote silk and lace nightgown circa 1870 embroidered ‘VR 28’ and crowned. Framed it measures 104 x 96cm (40.9 x 37.8in) and comes with an estimate of £800 - £1,200.
Finally, lot 410 is a pair of black and cream silk mourning stockings having belonged to Queen Victoria and embroidered ‘VR20’ and crowned. Framed size is 104 x 41cm (40.9 x 16.1in) and their estimate is £500 - £800.
For more details, just click here.


  1. A Blooming good story J, fabulous to read your wonderful tales:) Thanks for the tip on the Pocket, great idea!

  2. I've never seen Royal undergarments before, thank you for sharing :)