The catalogue to the Chatsworth Attic sale ,which I wrote about previously here, and which is to be held at Sothebys in London on the 5th -7th October landed on my doormat with a satisfyingly heavy thump yesterday. And while I have only had time to scan through its 512 pages(!), I thought you might like to see what I think are some of the more unusual items for sale. The scholarly catalogue is organised Duke by Duke time wise and my favourite items all hail from the times of the 5th Duke, husband to the famous Georgiana, and of the era of his son,The Bachelor Duke. Items from the now demolished Devonshire House, the Cavendish family’s London mansion and Chiswick House are included in the sale and it will be an architectural antique dealers paradise, so many great architectural pieces included, having been saved from the houses when remodelling or demolition took place.
First,a lot to outrage Marianne Dashwood: Lot 347, a George III mahogany, ebony and boxwood strung satinwood banded piano, which has been adapted to serve as a writing desk. Can you imagine the horror! Id quite like it,however…. It was made by the London piano makers, Broderip Wilkinson of 13 The Haymarket , and dates between1798-1807. it was included in the Chatsworth Inventory of 1818. There is also a Broadwood square piano circa 1815, Lot 568…. was it a gift from Frank Churchill?…No, it was brought by the 6th Duke and is estimated at £2000-3000.
Lot 365 is a delicious George III ebonised and parcel gilt work table circa 1800,probably owned by the Countess of Burlington at her home in Compton Place, Eastbourne. Estimate £500-1000. Below is a selection of lots of object of virtu-I covet Lot 451, the seed pearl brooch in the shape of a lyre, circa 1820 which has an estimate of £250-350.
Lot 301 is a miraculous survivor: a collection of 14 18th century turned oak canon ramrods. Nine have their original canvas bags which protect the sheepskin covered heads,and four have wrought iron sprial finials.Estimate £2,000 to £3,000. I would love to bid for these for my military history obsessed husband….
Lot 303 is a set of eight triangular wooden carriage stops(essential in the hilly surroundings of the Peak where Chatsworth is set).Estimate £30-50.
More quirky objects can be found in the ceramics that are for sale. Lot 765 is a collection of seven rare English creamware Bourdaloues, two marked “Wedgwood”. These were used by ladies in the 18th century to relieve themselves when in church or at the theatre. Named rather unkindly after the French Jesuit preacher Louis Boudaloue who gave long interminable sermons. These are estimated at £400-600
This trout head stirrup cup made by the Derby porcelain factory is delicious and dates from 1800. It has an estimate of £800-£1200
If I coud buy something,then I’d like these: early 19th century theatre lights used, one presumes, in the Bachelor Duke’s theatre at Chatsworth. I adore them.
I’m sorry, I just lied to you. Barefacedly. Forgive me. What I’d really like from the sale is this magnificent sleigh, with wrought iron runners and upholstered in leather which was acquired by the 6th Duke possibly when he was ambassador to Russia in 1817 .It is only estimated at £20o0 -£3000
Im sure the Mitford, Cavendish,Chatsworth associations are, as in the Althrop sale, going to make these estimates look exceeding low…when the auction takes place I’ll report back to you.