Harry Matthews (1928 -2014), was a renowned collector of pre 1820 fashion plates, historic dress and accessories. He was a founder member of the Costume Society and the now defunct Friends of Fashion at the Museum of London and a trustee of the Kent Costume Trust. During his lifetime and in his will, he made significant donations to the Museum of London, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Chertsey and Luton Museums.
His collection, he admitted, was less of a hobby and more of an obsession. Curators and fellow enthusiasts found his combination of knowledge, modesty and generosity captivating. Despite the generous donations he made to institutions his terraced home was still crammed with boxes carefully packed filled with reticules, 18th and 19thcentury shoes, and dress from the mid 18th century to the 1940s. The first part of this collection comprises Lots 335-392 of our April auction.
Pictured above left-right: a robe a la polonaise, Lot 355, est. £400-600, and an ivory tulle & satin dress, part of Lot 344, est. £300-500.
The collection includes many 18th.c pieces, including a late 1770’s silk robe a la polonaise (pictured above), the sleeves applied with double tiered engageants. There are also several lots which are a textile lovers dream; comprising of French brocades, Spitalfields silk and glittering edwardian dress trimmings.
Pictured above left-right: a gentleman’s 19thc. embroidered waistcoat, part of Lot 345, est. £400-600, & Lot 358: a group of mainly French brocades, best £200-300.