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Heirlooms handed down by royal photographer up for auction

By Matthew Cooper
A skirt, bodice and bloomers owned by Queen Victoria are set to go under the hammer - more than a century after they were handed to a royal photographer.

The clothing, including a pair of boots thought to have belonged to the monarch, was passed down the generations after being presented to royal warrant-holder Alexander Lamont Henderson, and is being sold by his great-great-grandson Roderick Williams.

Derbyshire-based auction house Hansons is selling off the "almost complete" outfit next week and has given the boots alone a guide price of between £1,500 and £2,000.

Mr Williams, an electrical engineer from Coltishall, near Norwich, said: "Queen Victoria's clothing and boots are family heirlooms which were originally given to my great-great-grandfather, Alexander Lamont Henderson.

"He worked as a royal photographer for Queen Victoria up to her death in 1901 and we think the clothes were probably given to him by servants in the royal household, perhaps in return for taking photographs of them."

The lots, being auctioned off on Monday, are expected to attract international interest and could net around £15,000 - a similar sum paid for a pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers, a chemise, and a nightdress at a Hansons sale a decade ago.

Mr Williams, 63, added: "We think Alexander caught Queen Victoria's attention thanks to his experimental colour work with glass plate lantern slides and enamels.

"She commissioned several coloured enamel pictures. These included portraits of her husband, Prince Albert, and her Scottish attendant, John Brown, plus views of the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore.

"When my great-great-grandfather died in 1907, the clothing was passed down through the generations. It's been kept in a wardrobe. I'm selling it now as I need to make some space.

"However, I'm not parting with Alexander's glass plate negatives and enamel pictures, which are of a very high quality. He was an extremely talented photographer."

Hansons owner Charles Hanson said: "As an auctioneer it's always wonderful to handle living history. In a turbulent world, we can look back at one of our greatest monarchs.

"Victoria was queen from 1837 to 1901 and had a deep impact on her country. Her leather ankle boots show how dainty and narrow her feet were.

"They are around a size 4 and the design paved the way to the Chelsea boot. The makers, J Sparks-Hall of London, claimed she wore their boots daily."

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