The Story of the 'Queen’s Dwarf’s' Tiny Trousers Sold for £9,750

The Story of the 'Queen’s Dwarf’s' Tiny Trousers Sold for £9,750

A pair of trousers thought to have been worn by the 17th century court dwarf Sir Jeffrey Hudson (1619-1682) sold for £9,750 in yesterday's Jan Finch Collection auction. 

10 November 2022

The diminutive green silk and brocaded garment, just 29cm high, were sold at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet as part of the collection of the late Jan Finch.

A pair of green silk brocaded trousers, Sold for £9,570 (including fees) 

A pair of green silk brocaded trousers, Sold for £9,570 (including fees) 

The 45cm high Sir Jeffrey Hudson led an extraordinary life. The favourite court dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of the ill-fated Charles I, he first came to the court’s notice when he was served up in a pie wearing a miniature suit of armour. Known as the 'Queen’s dwarf' and 'Lord Minimus', he was painted by Van Dyck standing with the Queen, her pet capuchin monkey, 'Pug', on his arm.Despite his size, he later fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and fled with the Queen to France but was expelled from her ‘court in exile’ when he killed a man in a duel. In 1644 he was captured by Barbary pirates and spent 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being ransomed back to England sometime after the Restoration. As a ‘Roman Catholick’ he was imprisoned during the period of anti-Catholic hysteria surrounding the Popish Plot and was not released until 1680. He died two year’s later and was buried in a pauper’s grave. 

This pair of trousers, mounted in a fitted case, carried an old inscribed card from the Marquess of Abercorn reading Worn by the Celebrated Sir Geoffrey Hudson Charles I’s Dwarf.

A pair of green silk brocaded trousers.

A pair of green silk brocaded trousers, Sold for £9,570 (including fees) 

Previously owned by the Kensington antiques dealer Eila Grahame, they were part of the collection of the pioneering dealer Jan Ellen Finch (1952-2021) of Finch & Co. It was under her leadership that Finch & Co, a business she started at Portobello Market in the 1980s, became one of the best known and most charismatic dealerships of the modern era. The firm’s ‘wunderkammer’ mix of ethnographic art, European sculpture, antiquities and latterly Modern British art, became a regular fixture at international trade fairs

The buyer of the trousers was a private gentleman based in Belguim.


 

 

 


 

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