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Sue S commented ruefully yesterday on this post here, that not many ordinary people would have been able to purchase items for the Chatsworth sale due to the vastly inflated prices the lots realised. This is most probably true, but at least the National Trust bought some items on our behalf which will be put on display at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

Emile de Bruijn, my jolly and very interesting correspondent, informs us via his fabulous blog Treasure Hunt of the successful real Treasure Hunt he recently conducted  to bring back to the  Hall two lots that were on offer to the public at the  Sale. Go here to read his article ‘From the Attic, in full.

©NTPL/Mike Williams

And the reason the Trust bought items from the sale? Hardwick Hallmore glass than wall– the magnificent Elizabethan country house designed by Robert Smythson, and once the home of an English She-Wolf, Bess of Hardwick, was owned until the 1950s (when it was given to teh nation by Andrew the 11th Duke in lieu of death duties) by the Cavendish Family and so to have some objects once owned by the Dukes to place into the rooms there was thought to be a desirable thing. I quite agree.

(But as the Earl of Hardwick was one of Mary Queen of Scots captors during her long imprisonment in England, I am not at all certain that Jane Austen would be equally enhusiastic…..)

The interim results are in – and yes-  once again the country house sale effect has resulted in massively inflated prices. The sale was expected to realise a total of £2.5 million from 20,000 lots. On the first day it raised £4.4 million, and a further £2.1 million on the second day, making a total of £6.5 million.

An item from the now demolished Devonshire House -shown above- that once stood in Piccadilly opposite Green park, attained the  highest sale price.

It was a white marble George II chimneypiece dating from circa 1755.

Here it is shown in situ, in the Saloon at Devonshire House circa 1900. It was probably designed by William Kent and carved by John Bosun. Estimated at between £200,00-£300,000 it sold for £565,250.

A magnificent mahogany bookcase dating from 1805-1810, attributed to the makers Marsh and Tatham after designs by Thomas Hope, shown below in his fashionable Ottoman Empire garb, in a portrait by Sir William Beechey dating from 1798, was also for sale.

It was commissioned by William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire in association with his then wife, Lady Elizabeth Foster, as part of their plan for remodelling the Duke’s bedroom at Devonshire house, and is  also sold well.

It has a central door that opens and is similar to  bookcases commissioned by the Prince Regent. Estimated for sale £60,000-90,000 it sold for £145,250.

The enamel, diamond and ruby brooch shown below, sold as the property of Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire,the present Duke’s mother and only surviving Mitford sister, was estimated at £80-100.

It eventually sold for £8,500. My goodness….now that’s what I call an attic sale.

I thought you might like to take a look at the e-catalogues for the Chatsworth and Ashdown Attic sales, both houses having connections to Jane Austen as I explained in my posts here (Chatsworth) and here (Ashdown),  and which are now available to view online at the Sotheby’s website.

The Chatsworth e-catalogue is available here

and the Ashdown House e-catalogue is available here.

There has been tremendous press interest in the Chatsworth sale recently;  it has been featured in magazines, newspapers and TV news programmes. The sale will take place next week and I promise to broadcast some of the results here.

Be warned, you can lose many, many hours on-line gazing at the marvellous and varied contents. My imaginary bid list is getting longer by the day…

I thought you all might enjoy seeing this video about the items on at Chatsworth…Go here to view it.

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.

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