A pair of extraordinary late 17th Century Jacobean curtains – £4,000 – £6,000 – which have come from a couple in Nairn, Scotland, who put them up every winter and took them down each summer to protect them from the light, will be sold at Bonhams auction of Textiles in Knowle on July 28.
The treasured curtains, perhaps once originally four-poster bed drapes, are being sold as the couple are downsizing to a smaller cottage, where the heavy woollen crewelwork needlework designs of the Jacobean period, will not suit the interior design.
The former bed drapes made of wool crewelwork, with heavy restoration, are worked in shades of blues and greens on a cream ground, of scrolling stylised flower heads and foliage, with pale pink/peach spotted motifs of animals and Oriental figures. Both curtains measure 277cm long with an addition of a 7.5cm velvet hem, by 166cm wide with an addition of a 22cm velvet band.
Eleanor Keene, Head of Textiles at Bonhams says: “It is extremely rare to find bed drapes in this condition and size, the colour of the woolwork is magnificent for its age, and often early needlework is cut down and recycled over time.”
Along with the curtains Bonhams are also selling two early 19th century dresses from an Edinburgh family. They were worn as a wedding dress and going away dress, in 1829. They both have the high waisted empire lines synonymous with the Jane Austin period of fashion, always popular at auction.
The cream figured silk wedding dress has a high waist, short puffed sleeves, pleated detailing around the open neckline and a padded hem, opening down the centre back with hook and eye fastenings. The going-away dress is of a beige crepe, with a high waistline with chiffon and button detailing to the bodice and hem, with puffball short sleeves with silk satin contrast. The pair of dresses is estimated to sell for £2,000-3,000.