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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mary Dunhill

Mary Dunhill born in 1907, was the daughter of Alfred Dunhill, founder of the tobacco and pipe-making company. She died in 1988, aged 81 years old.




Originally trained as a hairdresser, she founded her perfume and cosmetic company in 1934.

The most common of Mary Dunhill perfume bottles are the flat disk shapes known as the Scentinel.  Introduced in 1937, the Scentinel was made to hold two drams of perfume and was called the "perfume guardian of your purse". These were manufactured of slim, clear glass bottles that were encased in either gold plated brass or solid sterling silver. To prevent spills, the smart metal case protects the tightly stoppered glass vial. It stands 2.25" tall.  It was designed after the old fashioned dividing watch case and was originally filled with Dunhill's Frou Frou de Gardenia perfume, by 1942, you could have it filled with White Hyacinth or Flowers of Devonshire. They made great gifts as they could be engraved with a monogram and could be filled with the lucky lady's favorite perfume. In the 1940s, the Scentinel was often packaged with a tiny amber glass funnel and a bottle of perfume.

To continue the personalized theme, Mary Dunhill also introduced Lipstick and Eau de Cologne bottles that could be fitted with individual metal initials.

In 1934, she released the perfume with a whimsical name of Frou Frou de Gardenia, this sweet floral fragrance had notes of gardenia, clove, tobacco and sandalwood. Another floral perfume, Flowers of Devonshire was released two years later. In 1938, the seductive oriental perfume Amulet was launched while Bewitching, an aldehydic floral perfume with a dominant carnation note was introduced in 1941. Two other lovely floral perfumes were introduced, White Hyacinth in 1941 and Escape, with its rich rose note was launched in 1943.

The only daughter among Dunhill's four children, Ms. Dunhill joined the board of Dunhill Holdings in 1944, explaining ''they were rather short of men,'' and in 1961 became chairman, succeeding her eldest brother, Alfred. In 1975, she became president. During her tenure as chairman, the company won the Queen's Award to Industry three times.



The perfumes of Mary Dunhill of New York City:
  • 1934 Frou Frou de Gardenia (a floral perfume)
  • 1934 Dunhill for Men
  • 1936 Flowers of Devonshire (a floral perfume with heather, lavender, countryside odors)
  • 1938 Amulet (an oriental perfume)
  • 1941 Bewitching (an aldehydic carnation perfume)
  • 1941 White Hyacinth (a floral perfume)
  • 1943 Escape  (a rich rose perfume)


Vogue, 1938:
"The ageless spell of the East is imprisoned in "Amulet," — Mary Dunhill's seductive, new perfume, laden with enchantment, and reminiscent of the romantic days of Cleopatra ... As oriental in scent as the charm which inspired its name."



The following images are taken from a 1939 advertisement.









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