Doll dressed by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter auctions in London

A wax doll dressed by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, the Empress Frederick of Germany (christened Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal will be sold at Bonhams, Knightsbridge on Wednesday, May 26, as part of the Fine Dolls and Teddy Bears sale.

The Empress dressed the doll for a bazaar in London to raise funds for impoverished Germans in the city circa 1868. It was then bought by the financier Baron von Schroder and is estimated to sell for £800-1,200 in today's collectibles market.

The doll wears a beautiful long white cotton and lace dress with a pink satin underskirt, layers of underclothing and a ribboned bonnet.

Going back in time, one of the first wooden dolls ever made (circa 1680) is also being offered in the auction. The doll is dressed in the habit of the Carmelite convent at Bethune, which speaks of the religious turmoil of the time.

The few known 17th century dolls dressed in habits are thought to have belonged to the children of Catholic families, who were sent abroad to be educated. They would send their doll back to England dressed according to the order they had joined, and to signify that they were safe. This lot is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

The wax doll dressed by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, priced £800-1,200

Meanwhile, a 1920s Lenci doll (estimated at £1,000-1,500), entitled 'June Bride' and based on the film star Marlene Dietrich, is another important lot. Lenci is believed to have modeled several of his 'boudoir' dolls on Dietrich, who was herself a collector of Lenci.

Further highlights include a fine example of a Bru Bebe (estimated at £6,000-9,000), circa 1875.

The papier-mache German doll, the inspiration for the later iconic Barbie doll, comes with a note stating that the doll was bought at Birmingham Fair "by SL Bartham for her sister AE Bartham."

A fine Sleeping Beauty musical automaton (estimated at £10,000-15,000), dated circa 1880, which winds up to feature a "breathing' Beauty" and a Prince playing a lute will also feature in the sale.

Elsewhere on the Royal memorabilia markets, a signed photograph with Prince Philip is currently up for sale to collectors, as are signed photos of her son Prince Charles with Diana - one with a baby Prince William, and one with both young William and Harry.


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