New suitor

Lynette Robinson with the beautifully preserved 18th century child’s suit she’s hoping to identify. Photo by Steve Grant.

AFTER a chance “rescue” from a Fremantle auction more than 15 years ago, a beautifully preserved child’s suit from the 19th century is in need of a new home.

Textile artist Lynette Robinson said she put the winning bid on the elegant velvet suit back in 2004 after it mysteriously appeared amongst items more likely to be found in granddad’s toolshed.

“I was a Perth tech doing design and history, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was important, and if it didn’t get bought, I thought it would end up on the tip,” Ms Robinson said.

The suit is in the style popularised by Frances Hodges Burnett’s 1885s novel Little Lord Fauntleroy, which condemned young boys from well-to-do families to frilly cuffs and collars, but she’s traced the tailor back even further. Thomas Day operated from Kildare Street in Dublin, Ireland from 1848, specialising in “juvenile clothing”, and was still there nearly 50 years later. He was so proud of his product, even the buttons are impressed with his name.

But how one of his posher suits ended up on the other side of the world is a mystery Ms Robinson is hoping to solve.

“I wish I had taken more information about the suit at the time, such as the person who put it in the auction,” she said.

“It was such a strange thing to find in an auction like that.

“It could be 150 years old and that it survived at all is somewhat of a miracle.” 

Ms Robinson believes the fancy style could link it to one of the Swan River Colony’s gentry.

If you’ve got any clues about the mystery suit, email news@ fremantleherald.com and we’ll pass it on to Ms Robinson.

by STEVE GRANT

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