Lucy Bishop has been part of the Kerry Taylor Auction’s team since 2010 and is also a London College of Fashion graduate with a Masters degree in History and Culture of Fashion. Lucy is responsible for the beautiful photographs on Kerry Taylor Auction’s website and in their catalogues and masterminds their social media. She assists with the sales generally, helps Kerry prepare condition reports, sets up the pre-sale exhibitions, oversees interns and is the friendly face that welcomes visitors on sale days.
Q: Your Antique and Vintage Fashion and Textiles auction is about to take place on the 19th of February. What sort of period does this auction cover? What will it include?
A: This is one of our general vintage fashion, antique textiles, and costume auctions, and we have about four of them a year. In terms of volume, it is quite large, so it will probably be around 400 or more lots, many of them group lots. It’s a real mixture, and includes everything from Victorian and Edwardian fashion, to every single decade from the twentieth century right up to more modern pieces. For example, it will include the second section of the Jean Louis Scherrer archive, but it will also include antique textiles, such as lace from the seventeenth century. I think the earliest item we have in the auction are a pair of children’s leather shoes that are from the early seventeenth century.
Q: Are there any special stories behind any of the items?
A: The children’s leather shoes — they were previously bought at an auction several years ago. But when they were initially put in that auction, they had been found because they’d fallen out of the chimney of a sixteenth century house, because apparently people used to put a worn pair of shoes up the chimney in their house to ward off evil spirits. Another favourite from the auction is the pink crepe ensemble with sequin embellished bows from 1947, worn by Joan Mary Hance for her wedding the same year at Sheffield Cathedral. She purchased the utility label dress, along with brown suede gloves and a brown velvet hat, all with clothing coupons. The ensemble came to us with a photocopy of the bride and groom on their wedding day, who stayed married for 45 years.
Q: What process do you go through to identify the provenance of the items?
A: That varies, really. We often have people coming to us with an item saying it was worn by someone famous because there was a note attached which said so. As an auction house we cannot just take that as fact, so we thoroughly research everything. We sold a Princess Diana dress last year, and the woman who donated it said she had bought it from a charity shop. We thought that no way it was authentic. But through the research, which involved us contacting the charity shop and the original designer of the dress, we were able to prove it was made for Diana. It’s just fact checking and often items have been bought previously at other auctions, so you can also look back in their records to find out.
By Grace Lee with special thanks to Lucy Bishop
Make sure to browse the auction catalogue online at www.kerrytaylorauctions.com to spot some more amazing pieces! The auction will take place at Kerry Taylor Auctions, 249-253 Long Lane, Bermondsey, London on the 19th of February.