Fans Of Downton Abbey, Bridgerton Will Love These 17th Century Aristocrats’ Clothes Up For Auction

A treasure trove of historic clothing from a British aristocrat’s Grade II-listed country estate is being offered to fans of period dramas like Downton Abbey and Bridgerton. The collection was discovered at Ingestre Hall, a 17th-century Jacobean mansion that was formerly the seat of the Earls Talbot and the Earls of Shrewsbury.

Among the items up for auction by Hansons Auctioneers are an aristocrat’s gown worn to royal coronations, a Mr. Darcy-style cotton jabot, and a pair of late Victorian lady’s court satin booties. The clothing emerged from a family whose ancestors once resided at the sprawling property near Stafford, which now serves as an arts and conference center.

Wigs from Ingestre Estate.
Wigs from Ingestre Estate. (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

“It’s an absolutely amazing collection offering a glimpse of the style of lords and ladies of the manor – and their servants – a century ago. The clothing dates from the late Victorian period through to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953,” said Notty Hornblower, a period clothing consultant at Hansons Auctioneers who uncovered the collection, in a statement. “The star of the show is a robe worn for that prestigious event by, we believe, Lord Shrewsbury’s mother.”

The pre-1937 robe was likely worn at British royal coronations from 1902 onwards, including the crowning of King George V in 1911 and King George VI in 1937. Although the ermine cape section is in good condition, the red velvet of the robe has perished in places.

“The items sweep us back to another time and place, one that has always fascinated the world and sparked numerous period dramas and films,” Notty, who also owns Derbyshire’s Hope House Costume Museum, explained. “It is not only the elegance of the aristocrats that is fascinating but also their servants.”

Clothing from Ingestre Estate.
Clothing from Ingestre Estate. (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

The collection reveals fashion accessories from the past, such as cotton and pleated lace jabots, which were ornamental frills or ruffles attached to a neckband or collar, or simply pinned at the throat. The cotton jabot was likely part of a page boy’s outfit, while the pleated lace jabot is thought to be part of a gentleman’s coronation ceremony attire.

Other notable items include a pair of late Victorian/early 1900s lady’s court satin booties with a cut-out laced design, Louis heel, bronze and paste stone motif, and buttoned lattice straps. These may have been worn to the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

Bootee-style ladies shoes circa 1900, possibly worn at royal coronation.
Bootee-style ladies shoes circa 1900, possibly worn at royal coronation. (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

Servant clothing is also featured in the auction, showcasing how they too were dressed to a certain standard. A circa 1930s footman’s wig, red velvet breeches with gold braiding and buttons, a cotton waistcoat, and a pair of black leather shoes are included. Interestingly, old newspaper from 1920 was found stuffed into the toes of the shoes.

All of these items would have been worn at Ingestre Hall, an imposing red brick mansion built in 1613 for Sir Walter Chetwynd, High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1607. The 1,100-acre estate was broken up in 1960 when sold off by the 21st Earl.

Robe worn at royal coronations set for auction.
Majestic robe worn at royal coronations set for auction. (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

The clothing will be offered in Hansons’ Fine Art Auction on June 27 and could fetch more than £1,000 (approximately $1,200).

SWNS writer Adam Dutton contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply