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A pair oflady's shoes English, mid-17th Century. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.-A pair of embroidered lady’s shoes, dating back to 1740, is to be sold at Bonhams, New Bond Street, as part of its Fine English Furniture Sale on 2 March 2011. The shoes are part of a remarkable collection of early English needlework comprising 63 pieces with estimates totalling £210,000 – 315,000, which was owned by the former Chairman of Debenhams and Harvey Nichols, Sir Frederick Richmond (1873-1953).

Made from embroidered yellow silk worked in chain stitch, depicting carnations, tulips and other flowers, and with a broad silk lined tongue and a pointed toe, the shoes have attracted a pre-sale estimate of £1,000 – 2,000.

Sir Frederick, who, in his role as Chairman, established Debenhams as the largest textile distribution empire worldwide, started collecting needlework in 1907. The Edwardianand inter-war period was a great time for the dispersal of family collections, and, from these, and fellow collectors, he accumulated an astounding selection of items. His purchases were displayed in his country home, Westoning Manor, Bedfordshire, which he bought in 1936, and his house in ‘Millionaire’s Row’, 10 Kensington Park Gardens, London.

On his death in 1953, the collection, which was described in a tribute in The Times as ‘the finest in the country’, was split between his two children in Suffolk and Buckinghamshire.

Other highlights include a needlework mirror, circa 1660, with folding shutters designed to celebrate the founding of the Province of Carolina in 1663 (estimate £30,000 – 40,000); a needlework mirror depicting the Continents (estimate £18,000 – 25,000); a 17th century fine needlework panel featuring Charles II as Mars and Queen Catherine of Braganza as Venus (estimate £15,000 – 20,000); a 17th century needlework picture of King David and Bathsheba (estimate £3,000 – 5,000); and a mid 17th century beadwork basket (estimate £7,000 – 10,000).

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A needlework mirror with folding shutters.English, circa 1660. Photo: Bonhams.
 
The ivory silk ground embroidered in coloured silks and metal thread with needlelace, raised, padded, purled and coiled work, the left shutter with a wild man wearing a skirt of flowers, a circlet of flowers in his hair, seated beneath a tree with a bow and arrow beside him, a spider hanging from a tree and a squirrel on a branch before him, the right shutter with a blackamoor woman standing beneath a tree and wearing a feather skirt, a seed pearl necklace and bracelets and smoking a pipe, a parrot on a branch before her, the border with a camel, a rose, a horse (unicorn), a carnation, a lion, a thistle, a leopard and an iris, having silver braid edge, lined and backed with salmon pink silk, 38 x 35cm (15 x 13¾in), set within a tortoiseshell and ebonised easel frame. Estimate: £30,000 - 40,000, € 35,000 - 46,000, $ 48,000 - 64,000
 
Literature: Kendrick, A.F. The Connoisseur, Vol 95, May 1935, Illustrated Plate III, PAGE 283

The shutters of this mirror have been designed to celebrate the founding of the Province of Carolina in 1663, named by Charles II in honour of his father Charles.
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A needlework mirror. English, circa 1670. Photo: Bonhams.
 
The bevelled plate set in an ivory satin surround embroidered in coloured silks with much raised work, purle work, and enhanced with seed pearls and paste, with King Charles II holding a sceptre and an orb and Queen Catharine of Braganza holding a sceptre, each beneath a canopy, the goddess of Victory bestowing a palm branch within a circular medallion to the top with needlelace surround and the personification of Earth in an oval medallion flanked by a lion and a leopard below, with insects and birds, and arrangements of iris, tulips, roses, pansies and other flowers to the four corners, 70 x 56.5cm (28 x 22 1/2in), set within a modern burr walnut veneered frame and glazed. Estimate: £18,000 - 25,000, € 21,000 - 29,000, $ 29,000 - 40,000
 
Literature: Kendrick, A.F., Connoisseur, Vol. 95, May 1935, illustrated plate II p.283

For a similar mirror see Embroidery 1600-1700 at the Burrell Collection by Liz Arthur, plate 45, pub. 1995
 
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A fine needlework panel.English, 17th Century. Photo: Bonhams.
 
Probably a cushion cover, the ivory silk ground embroidered in coloured silks and metal thread with raised, padded purled and coiled work designed with King Charles II in the role of Mars and Queen Catherine of Braganza as Venus, in the background a castle with standards and flags, to the fore a sea of fish and dolphin with mountain and coral surround, a rose and thistle to either side, each corner with a scene of an oak tree, a lion, a leopard and Venus weeping beside Adonis, the whole with a butterfly, grasshopper, worm, snails and other insects, a parrot, a hog chased by hounds and a huntsman blowing his horn, strawberries, quinces, grapes and pears, a tulip, an iris and other flowers, with spangles and having gold and silver thread bobbin lace edge, 47cm x 57cm (18 1/2in x 22 1/2in), framed and glazed. Estimate: £15,000 - 20,000, € 17,000 - 23,000, $ 24,000 - 32,000
 
Literature: Kendrick, A.F., The Connoisseur Vol 95, May 1935, Illustrated opposite page 288.
 
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A needlework picture.English, 17th Century. Photo: Bonhams.
 
The ivory satin silk ground embroidered in coloured silks with purle raised work enhanced with seed pearls, with King David and Bathsheba: in the centre, beneath a canopy of scrolling flowers, Bathsheba at her bath with attendants receives King David's letter while the King looks on from a palace roof top, to the right, the enthroned King is attended by an advisor, the ground worked with a sun shining on a landscape of trees, birds in flight and perched in a pear tree, a tulip, a carnation, honeysuckle, rose, iris, strawberries, pansy and other flowers, butterflies, squirrel, parrot, snail, cricket, rabbit, snails and insects, a leopard, to the lower left and a lion to the lower right,54cm x 39cm (21 1/2in x 15 1/2in), framed and glazed. Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000, € 3,500 - 5,800, $ 4,800 - 8,000
 
Note: The design derives from Gerard de Jode, Thesaurus Sacrum Historiarum Veteris Testamenti, Antwerp 1585.

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A beadwork basket.English, mid 17th Century. Photo: Bonhams
 
Of tray form, with a shaped handle to each side, the curved sides with a lion, a stag, a lamb and a parrot, leaves, flowers and a peapod, with a vase and berries to each corner, the trellis designed basket base with the King and Queen, each having a glass head and hands, an attendant holding the Queen's train, and a turreted castle, clouds and the sun, 56cm wide x 44.5cm deep x 12.5cm high (22in wide x 17.5in deep x 5in high).Estimate: £7,000 - 10,000, € 8,100 - 12,000, $ 11,000 - 16,000 
 
For similar work see (i) Domestic Needlework by G. Saville Seligman and Talbot Hughes, plate 99, pub. 1926 (ii) English and other Needlework, Tapestries and Textiles in the Irwin Untermeyer Collection by Yvonne Hackenbrooch, plate 72, pub 1960