Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatsworth Attic Sale

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and their staff have been rummaging through the attics of the greatest English stately home, Chatsworth, and are now offering 1,419 lots of treasures through a Sotheby’s auction, October 1-7.

The Devonshire Borghese table, an Italian carved giltwood console table with a serpentine alabaster veneered top, mid-18th century, est. £40,000-70,000.

Grab some history and fly to Chatsworth now, or simply order the Sotheby’s catalog. Fat and juicy, it is highly collectible. Find this 512-page catalog (one of the most lavish and most elegant of recent decades of important and historic sales) at www.sotheby’s.com.

The Duke of Devonshire, photography by Nigel Hillier.

The sale is taking place at Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, UK. I wish I could attend. It will be a scramble—well, a very civilized and elegant one—of antique dealers, collectors, the curious and the merely acquisitive.

Thirty lots are the property of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (the great Deborah Mitford.)

I am a long time fan of Deborah, who reigned supreme as the Duchess of Devonshire for many grand decades. She’s now in her nineties, has recently published her biography, and must be looking at this sale with bemusement.

The following is the announcement from Chatsworth:

A unique three-day auction of rare and rediscovered furnishings and personal artifacts belonging to the Devonshire family is to take place this October at Chatsworth.

Rediscovered beneath layers of dust, these objects were once part of the fabric of the many great houses that have featured in the Devonshire family's history. Chatsworth, Devonshire House (on Piccadilly, London - demolished in the 1920's), Bolton Abbey, Chiswick House, Hardwick Hall, Lismore Castle and Compton Place have all contributed items.

The sale will be on view to the public at Chatsworth from 1st-4th October, prior to the auction from 5th-7th October.

The sale comprises 20,000 objects in over 1,000 lots, ranging in value from £20 to £200,000. Entry to the pre-sale exhibition will be by catalogue, on sale at Chatsworth or Sotheby's from September onwards.

The house and grounds will be open to the public as usual during the period of the sale and view.

The Bachelor Duke’s Russian Sleigh from his days as the Ambassador Extraordinary for the court of St James’ to the Russian Empire, est. £2,000-3,000.

A giltwood centre table from the Ballroom at Devonshire House, est. £4,000-6,000.

Teacups and saucers – some of many to be offered in the sale.

Friday 1st - Monday 4th October
Friday 9:00am - 4:30pm
Saturday 9:00am - 5:30pm
Sunday 9:00am - 5:30pm
Monday 9:00am - 2:00pm
Admission to the view is by catalogue only, which may be purchased at Chatsworth or ordered in advance.

Tuesday 5th - Thursday 7th October, 10:30am onwards

Interior of a cupboard overflowing with ceramics and glass, prices start at £20

The catalog weighs a ton and is crammed with lush images, family trees, portraits, and historical inventories.

Estimated prices seem rather low, considering the rare and historic nature of this sale. My guess is that the bidding will be hot.

There are glass cases of stuffed birds (I love the macaw), along with family silver, art galleries full of English, Italian and French paintings, carved mantels, gilded and mundane furniture, ballroom-sized mirrors, glorious Meissen porcelain, great and ordinary portraits, globes, dusty Louis Vuitton suitcases, silken fabrics, curtains, pelmets, lots of ‘domestic ceramics’, ormolu and oak desks, impressive marble busts, lichen-covered garden ornament, George III chairs, Georgian cabinets, bronze door handles, a fabulous tortoiseshell inlaid commode (chest), silver wick scissors, and lots of great and good, and bit of riff raff, too.

Much to covet.

An impressive Regency gilt-bronze free standing nine light candelabrum, circa 1820, 220cm high, used to illuminate the painted ceiling by Louis Laguerre in the famed Painted Hall of Chatsworth, est. £30,000-50,000.

One of six carved giltwood fauteuils, Louis XV, mid-18th century – covered in original blue and gold silk lampas from the Bachelor Duke’s Crace refurbishment, est. £18,000-25,000

A magnificent George II carved white marble chimneypiece by William Kent, circa 1735, from the Saloon, est. £200,000-300,000

Good luck! I hope you can at least acquire the catalog, with its endless family histories, its fine details and photographs of grand houses past, and all the flotsam and jetsam of stately homes of the Devonshire grandeur.

Textiles some of many examples to be offered in the sale

Images: www.sothebys.com and www.chatsworth.org, where more information is available.


vicki archer said...

I will try and have a look Diane and if nothing else purchase a catalogue....The Duchess of Devonshire is an astounding woman and Chatsworth is one of my favourite stately homes. xv

ArchitectDesign™ said...

imagine the fun the curators had poking through those attics! All of these treasures just waiting to be rediscovered! I wonder what all they found which they decided to keep or how they came to each decision. Did it have to be of extraordinary historical value, or purely aesthetic? Was size an issue? There is an interview in there somewhere!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Much to covet indeed. If only to get the Louis Vuitton suitcases and some silk fabric. The catalogue sounds too good to be true.........I will see if I can get one. XO

Grant K. Gibson said...

This had to be one of the most exciting sales in years!

Brillante Home Decor said...

I always discover exciting news through you, my dream life would be to fly happily from auction to auction around the world, collecting treasures and meeting interesting personalities. At least I can do it virtually reading your blog. Ciao.

24 Corners said...

If I had a genie lamp...those tea cups and the sleigh would be mine, what a dream sale! There should be a documentary, start to finish, with many interviews.
xo J~

pretty pink tulips said...

So many treasures to desire!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

This auction is going to be epic. Many of the baubles actually look attainably-priced too.
Ah Chatsworth, such a wealth of wuthered heights and horse-riding men in tail coats and empire waists and busts and butlers springs to mind....how dreamy.


Lord Cowell said...

Thanks for the detailed post on the auction. I was unable to get a catalogue, but I adore Chatsworth...


I would love to rummage through their china, crystal and silver.
David :-)

Love Your Homes said...

Hi Diane,
your blog is really one of a kind.

One copy of the Chatsworth is being forwarded to me by my family in England. Thanks for the reminder of the auction!

I forwarded your recent post of Istanbul to a dear friend before she left to spend a week the other day.

Many thanks,

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Dear Friends-love, love, love all your insights and witty and wonderful comments.

Yes, this sale is going to be epic. Starts tomorrow.
I wish I were there.
Imagine...rummaging through the attic, as Stefan noted.
This kind of sale seldom happens--never--and it is a chance to buy history and wit (and some everyday things with a great provenance).
'Where did you find these lovely tea cups we are sipping from?'
'Oh, they're from Chatsworth'' you respond.
If you can't be there--I highly recommend the SOTHEBY'S catalog...it's a keeper, to read even after the sale.
I am watching to see the prices realized...i think they will be astronomical even for the ordinary.
Cheers DIANE

Square with Flair said...

I was unaware of this auction, and appreciate knowing about it. Such high profile estate sales, such as those of the Windsors, Mona Bismarck, Diana Vreeland, Jackie Onassis, and Yves Saint-Laurent, are fascinating studies in taste and social history.

I cannot believe the extent of this sale, sounds like it is long overdue, and the pieces will go on to live interesting new lives rather than perish in storage. Of course this is all symptomatic of the end of a certain grand style of living. "Brideshead Revisited" no more.

I can understand why the Duchess of Devonshire much prefers the little house on the estate that she now resides in. Such palatial possessions and the interiors of Chatsworth really are not the most pleasant to live in. Especially nowadays.

Thank you!

Reggie Darling said...

And Debo complained about how poor they were after settling the death duties when Andrew's father died, and in what reduced circumstances they lived in! Who knew that there were 20,000 LOTS of things to sell at auction, without hardly making a dent in what's left...

Ah, to be a Cavendish!

W.E. said...

Have just discovered you and your blog and am now positively smitten. Thank you for such lovely visual and written distractions!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Dear Friends--Square with Flair and Reggie, and new friend WE! WELCOME W.E....love your blog.

I love your comments. You are all correct--this was a sale of the century (21st)...and I am waiting to see Sotheby's list of prices realized. i think it must have been hugely successful...I hope so as Chatsworth constantly needs repairs, etc.
I am currently reading (can't put it down) (my own signed copy) of 'Wait for Me, the new new new biography of Deborah Devonshire. I have read all the letters among the sisters, plus 'In Tearing Haste'...letters from Debo to Patrick Leigh Fermor, as well as all the other biographies of the sisters, and this one is perhaps the most poignant and real. It is of course the most current. It is highly detailed...and I'm just immersed in her post-war life of the forties, her husband coming back after years away in the war, after the death of many of her best friends, and her ailing parents, Unity fading fast...two young children. All the palaces in the world cannot assuage the pain of this period. Debo is the survivor--and I believe her book is no 1 or 2 on the best seller list in UK now, where it has just been released. He voice comes through, and the book is quite vivid (her researchers do a fantastic job, along with fine editors and collaborators)...and rich with detail, like the best plum pudding (English of course).
I hope you'll all read it and add it to you Mitford/Devonshire/Chatsworth/Mitford Sisters library.
cheers, DIANE