Elizabeth I dress tassel, £3500 at Sloane Street Auctions.

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Established in 1782, the company claims to be the ‘oldest interior design company in the world’.

The firm says: “It was the artist and teacher Henry Newbery who really put the company on the global map back in 1872 when he inherited it from his late uncle. It was the perfect time to take this already age-old company and transform it into the power house of interior design.

“Newbery was a colourful character and when he became the headmaster at The Glasgow School of Art, he was very careful to keep his passion as a teacher and artist away from the business of the day. From the weaving looms to the tapestry frames and the assembly benches to the long rope twisting walks, Henry Newbery & Co have created collections of decorative trimmings for palaces, theatres, stately houses, hotels, offices and beautiful homes throughout the world for over two centuries.”

From ‘The Household’

Henry Newbery & Co has been by Royal Appointment since 1955. According to Sloane Street Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) of Chelsea which offered the tassels on March 1 both estimated at £1000-2000, they were found “in a box of archive trim titled ‘Stuart, Tudor & Hanover’ given to Henry Newbery & Co in 1946 by ‘The Household’, assumed to be the Royal Household “due to the longstanding connection with the Royal Household”. The archive was sent by the curator of Hampton Court Palace.

The oldest example dating to c.1598 was given to Queen Elizabeth I and depicted in several portraits of her, reputed to have been presented as a birthday gift anonymously. “Note the love knot”, the cataloguer remarked. It made £3500.


Charles I dress tassel, £2600 at Sloane Street Auctions.

The other dress tassel sold for £2600 was worn by King Charles I from 1626 until his execution in January 1649 on the sleeve of his under ceremonial jacket. It comprised wooden moulds adorned with silver twist and silver braid, silver pressed sequins, silver wire, and linen cord.