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October 26 2019
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In with a bang: at the start of his career, the late Ian Thomas helped to design Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation dress.

The Queen’s dressmaker Ian Thomas died a quarter-century ago, but it’s only this month that his estate will be offered, by Amersham Auction Rooms. As an apprentice, Thomas worked on the dress Queen Elizabeth II wore to her coronation ceremony, in 1953, and he would go on to serve as her dressmaker for three decades. (As a token of her appreciation for Thomas’s years of work, the Queen is said to have gifted him a horse and a corgi.) Among the more than 500 items in Amersham’s sale are a selection of Thomas’s fashion illustrations for the Queen, including one of the peach outfit she commissioned for her state visit to France in 1992, a year before Thomas’s death; a series of portraits and sketches attributed to Cecil Beaton; and royal-family Christmas cards bearing the signature of the Queen, one of which features the 1981 photo of her in a blue chiffon ensemble, designed by Thomas, and Princess Diana in her wedding dress. The sale is expected to garner between $120,000 and $130,000 at auction. (amershamauctionrooms.co.uk) —Julia Vitale

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