GOWN BY LUCILE SELLS FOR $35,850 AT DOYLE NEW YORK'S NOVEMBER 16, 2004 AUCTION OF VINTAGE COUTURE, TEXTILES AND ACCESSORIES
Sale Featured Couture from the Collection of Margaret Daly Brown and an Extensive Private Collection of Costume Jewelry
On Tuesday, November 16 at 10am, Doyle New York held an auction of important vintage couture by the world's most famed couturiers. The sale also featured an extensive single owner collection of costume jewelry. Additional offerings included elegant handbags, hats, accessories, cases and trunks, as well as American, European and Asian textiles. Highlighting the sale was a remarkable group of gowns and accessories from the collection of Margaret Daly Brown, formerly from the estate of her daughter, Frances Carroll Brown.
One of four children, Margaret Daly grew up in affluence and privilege, traveling between New York City and Montana's Bitterroot Valley. The Daly's Montana estate with its 24,000 square foot mansion is now a state historic site operated by the Daly Mansion Preservation Trust.
In 1900, Margaret Daly, known all her life as "Madge", entered Baltimore society with her marriage to Henry Carroll Brown. The couple divided their time between the Mr. Brown's family estate, Brockland Woods in Baltimore County, and their townhouse at 18 East 76th Street in New York City, where Mr. Brown was a stockbroker with his own firm, H.C. Brown & Co.
While visiting Montana in 1911, Mrs. Brown suffered "a severe attack" for which the high altitude of 7,000 feet was blamed. The decision was made to bring her post-haste to sea level. The New York Times reported on her rushed journey cross-country by private rail car in the care of two physicians and several nurses, and her arrival at her mother's townhouse at 725 Fifth Avenue, the current site of Trump Tower. Margaret Daly Brown died the next day on April 29, 1911, leaving two young daughters, Margaret Price Brown, age 8, and Frances Carroll Brown, age 3.
The extraordinary gowns and accessories in Mrs. Brown's collection were carefully packed away in a trunk in 1913 and lay forgotten for ninety years until the distribution of the estate of her daughter, Frances Carroll Brown. They reflect a fascinating, dramatic woman, confident of her allure, with an instinctive flair for innovative design.
Highlighting the Margaret Daly Brown Collection was an avant garde 1910 purple voided velvet evening gown by Lucile, the first internationally celebrated British woman couturier. The gown appears to be from Lucile's American debut collection in 1910. It was the subject of tremendous interest during the exhibition from a number of museums, dealers and collectors. After competitive bidding from a determinded bidder in the room and a bidder on the telephone, the dress sold for a staggering $35,850 to the foreign buyer in the salesroom, far surpassing its pre-sale estimate of $5,000-7,000.
Other highlights from the Brown Collection include two elegant gowns by Worth. The first was a circa 1905 coupe des velours evening gown of pale aquamarine silk that sold for $13,145 to a foreign buyer and the second a gold voided silk velvet evening gown that also sold to a foreign buyer for $13,145. Each sold well beyond their pre-sale estimate of $5,000-7,000 and $7,000-9,000, respectively. One of the luxurious accessories in Mrs. Brown's collection was an extravagant ostrich feather fan adorned with her monogram in rose diamonds and platinum, which sold to a West Coast buyer for $3,286, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $500-700.
The dress by Lucile in the Margaret Daly Brown Collection appears to be from Lucile's American debut collection and is a superb example of her talents, not only revealing her passion for color and her emotional, impressionistic design, but also because it reveals the charged personality, the 'It', of Margaret Daly Brown.