The Glamour and Dark Underbelly of the Swinging Sixties at Bonhams Cabaret Club Costume Sale

In London in the Swinging Sixties, anyone who was anyone could be found at Percival Murray's Cabaret Club on Beak Street. The Krays, Peter Sellers, Jean Harlow and Jane Birkin were members, and the club's hostesses included Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, central figures in the Profumo Affair, a scandal which shone an unflattering light on the lives of the British upper class and which eventually brought down the Government of Harold Macmillan. The atmosphere at Murray's was lent glamour by the no-expense-spared extravagant and daring costumes designed by Michael Bronze and Ronald Cobb. An archive of their wonderful watercolour and gouache designs are being offered by Bonhams in an online only auction. The Murray's Cabaret Club Costume Design Archive sale is live now and runs until 25 June.

Christine Keeler remembered her time at Murray's well. "Working at Murray's left you in an unreal world: at night-time you entered this fantasy place, where the rich and famous queued for your attention; the days were an endless series of dinner and party invitations, and the social life was truly amazing. It was only after I left Murray's and returned to the real world that I realised the strange underground fantasy life I had been leading."

Highlights include:

• An original design for a Murray's Cabaret Club showgirl in two black and white ensembles by Ronald Cobb. Estimate: £400-500.
• A large signed costume design for a Murray's Cabaret Club showgirl in a blue and white dress by Ronald Cobb. Estimate: £500-600.
• A group of five costume designs for Murray's Cabaret Club showgirls by Michael Bronze. Estimate: £600-900.
• An original costume design for a Murray's Cabaret Club showgirl from The Rag Time Medley by Ronald Cobb. Estimate: £300-400.
• An original design for a menu at The Cabaret Club by Ronald Cobb. Estimate: £500-600.


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