Fauntleroy suit

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The suit pictured was worn by six-year-old Walter Hamilton Moberly during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. In June 1887, Walter travelled to London to watch the Queen drive through the streets to Westminster Abbey. While he was there he wore the suit pictured, which is made of mauve plush, with a matching hat and a lace collar.

At the time the ‘Fauntleroy style’ was the latest fashion for young boys. Walter’s suit was based on the clothes worn by Cedric Errol, the hero of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s bestselling novel ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’, a ‘rags to riches’ story first published as a magazine serial in 1885.

As young boys of the time typically wore dresses, it is likely that Walter would have felt very grown-up in this suit, which includes knee breeches. The suit was purchased from the gentlemen’s outfitters Eldridge & Young, which was based near Walter’s grandparents’ home in Salisbury.