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Design sketches for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation gown at auction

Up for auction (Picture: PA/SWNS)

A piece of embroidery made for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation gown is up for sale 70 years later.

The framed sample, which is part of a ‘historic masterpiece’, has been uncovered along with stunning watercolour designs created by a leading British fashion designer for the then Princess Elizabeth and the Queen Mother.

Norman Hartnell created the Queen’s coronation gown and made this sample with collaboration from Elizabeth.

It’s now being offered for sale at Hansons Auctioneers, of Etwall, Derbys, with an estimate of £2,000 and the sketches are expected to fetch £250.

The embroidery depicts the emblems of the four home nations and the Commonwealth, in silver and gold thread, diamante, silver bullion and mother-of-pearl.

It also features the flowers of the Commonwealth with the Tudor Rose at its centre.

Sample from the coronation gown (Picture: Isabel Murtough & Co / SWNS)
Detail on coronation gown sample (Picture: Isabel Murtough & Co / SWNS)

It comes with handwritten notes titled ‘Coronation dress emblems’ that detail colours and materials for each emblem.

For a Royalist, there’s no doubt it’s a collectors item.

Norman was best known for his work for the royal family – he held a royal warrant and made Elizabeth’s wedding gown, designing for her from the mid-1930s until his death in 1979.

When she asked him to design her coronation dress in 1952 it took eight months of research, design ideas and workmanship to come together.

Sir Norman Hartnell (Picture: Hansons Auctioneers / SWNS)

He produced around nine designs in total, which needed the Queen’s approval.

Notty Hornblower, textiles consultant at Hansons, said: ‘This embroidery is exquisite and a stunning auction find.

‘It was made during months of painstaking work to make a dress which became a historic masterpiece.

Norman Hartnell sketch designs for Princess Elizabeth (Picture: Isabel Murtough & Co / SWNS)
Norman Hartnell design notes for Queen’s coronation dress made in 1953 (Picture: Isabel Murtough & Co / SWNS)

‘It demonstrates the remarkable care and attention to detail that went into creating a gown worthy of the Queen for the first televised coronation, a milestone for the monarchy.’

The seller’s late aunt worked as a PA for the royal designer for 43 years, and Norman gave her the embroidery.

Notty added: ‘The Queen’s desire to ensure her dress honoured all those she served demonstrated her devotion to duty.

‘She liked her coronation dress so much she wore it six more times, one event being the Opening of Parliament in New Zealand and Australia in 1954.’

Hartnell was the Queen’s dressmaker from the mid-1930s until his death in 1979.

The sketches are seven watercolour designs of outfits made for Princess Elizabeth between 1947-52 and the Queen Mother pre-1952.

The sample and sketches will be sold on May 16.

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