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…will take place next week.

I thought you might like to read a little about it  as the contents of the sale are fascinating and are especially so for people interested in the contents of country houses of Jane Austen’s era.

The sale of the contents of the attics of Althorp House, the home of the Earl Spencer and his family, together with another sale of some of the original contents of Spencer House in London, another family home but one which is now  let on a long lease, will take place next week at Christie’s Salerooms in Kensington. The object of the sale of these superfluous family items is to raise money for th £10 million restoration project at Althrop, which includes the rather expensive installation of a new roof.

Some of the most interesting articles on sale are the many carriages, including this wonderful George IV era livery painted State Chariot made by the celebrated firm of Baker and Son of Chandos Street, London. Its sale price is estimated at between  £50,000-80,000

The interior is lined in sumptuous ‘padua’ red watered silk, a family colour derived from the hunting field, and the roof is mounted with magnificent silvered coronets. As was customary, the coats-of-arms on the doors were updated over time and those on this chariot almost certainly date from its use for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

These carriage are now very rare items. As Edward Clive, Director of Christie’s explains:

“The collection of Spencer carriages is the most impressive ancestral group to survive to this day, and we are thrilled to be able to present them at auction in July. A large number of carriages suffered as a result of bombing raids during World War II, particularly as so many were stored in mews stables in London. The Spencer carriages were moved to Althorp before they could suffer such a fate, and as such they are a rare and remarkable survival.”

But there are more modest items from our era included in the sale,  silver kitchen spoons and kitchenalia etc

Andrew Waters, who is the Director of Private Collections and House Sales at Christie’s London showroom has explained the process of clearing the attics of their treasure:

“We spent three months exploring the attics and storerooms at Althorp in order to prepare this sale, and it was one of the most interesting experiences of my twenty years at Christie’s. The auction will present a unique glimpse into the history of one of the country’s most important aristocratic families, and with estimates starting at £200, will also offer a very accessible opportunity to acquire works of art with a fascinating and distinguished provenance.”

I have to say I would have loved the opportunity of rooting around….

It will be very interesting to see if the Country House Sale Effect still holds sway over the prices; since the Mentmore sale in 1977, items associated with country houses have usually realised higher sale prices  then individual items put in normal sales.

The E-Catalogue is available to view here. I do hope you enjoy pouring over its pages,and like me, placing imaginary bids….and pondering the contents of its attics and how these items are at so much variance with the contents of mine…..

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