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Small clutch, covered with diamontes

2002.0057.0003.001

Small clutch, covered with diamontes

Object information

Physical description

Small clutch, covered with diamontes. The bag features an ornate metal clasp at the top of the opening and is lined with cream satin. The interior of the bag features a small attached coin purse with a metal clasp and a small removable glass mirror. A small textile tag sewn onto the interior of the bag has the mark "British / Made".

Statement of significance

The Frances Digges collection includes a satin and lace debutante dress with train, an ostrich feather fan, high heeled satin shoes with diamantes, small clutch bag also with diamantes and full length cream kid gloves. Accompanying the dress and accessories is the official photograph of debutante, Elizabeth Sanderson, her invitation to Court and the dinner menu for the evening. Miss Sanderson wore the dress and associated accessories in July 1939 when she was presented to Queen Elizabeth and King George VI at the Court of Buckingham Palace.

The Sanderson's were wealthy landowners who had owned a vast property named 'Billabong', stretching out along the Murray River. Families who enjoyed such high social status often maintained strong ties with the English Establishment and it was appropriate for young women like Elizabeth to be presented as a debutante at Court and experience her first London 'Season', thus marking her official entry into society. Miss Sanderson spent five months in England, enjoying a high society lifestyle of balls, theatre, fine dining, dress fittings and weekend visits to country estates. Her presentation as a debutante at Court was among the most significant events in her life.

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