Seamstress to the stars

19th April 2021

A sewing box that was given by music hall legend Marie Lloyd to her seamstress is being sold at auction on 21st April.

The sycamore sewing box modelled as cottage (lot 736) was a 21st birthday present to the singing star’s dressmaker and appears on the open market for the first time in over a century, nearly 100 years after Lloyd’s death at the age of 52.

Ironically, Lloyd’s mother was herself a gifted seamstress and, for a time, Lloyd tried to support the family income by making babies’ boots and curled feathers for millinery but was sacked after the foreman caught her dancing on the tables. Making her stage debut in 1885, her risqué delivery of songs such as “A Little of What You Fancy”, “Come into the Garden, Maud” and “She Sits Among the Cabbages and Peas” made her popular with the public but sometimes caused official disapproval.

“Marie Lloyd was one of our best-loved music hall stars with an act that is sadly unparalleled today,” said Works of Art specialist, Mark Yuan-Richards. “Her elaborate costumes were a key part of every special performance and her seamstress would have been an important person in her life. This box, which she personally selected as a gift, shows the caring woman behind the sometimes controversial figure of the early 20th century.”

 The box is being sold as part of the Furniture and Works of Art auction at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury on 21st April.

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