Country house treasures in Spetchley Park sale

A pair of chinese embroidered sleeve cloths
A pair of Chinese embroidered sleeve cloths

Historic pieces from Spetchley Park, one of Britain’s greatest estates will be offered in a Gloucestershire auction at the end of January.

Items in the auction, ranging in price from under £100 to several thousands pounds, come from the stores and attics of Spetchley Park in Worcestershire, offering a glimpse of the lifestyles and interests of the Berkeley family.

Spetchley Park has been the dynastic seat of the Berkeleys since the early 17th century and played its part in many historic events, including being earmarked during WWII as the potential headquarters for Winston Churchill and his cabinet in the event of a successful German invasion.

The pieces for sale in the auction have been acquired over more than 400 years and range from interesting curios, to a library of antiquarian books, Worcester porcelain and rare silver.

Some of the items going under the hammer at Chorley’s auctioneers were picked up by family members during their travels in Europe, North America and India for display in Spetchley’s very own private museum during the 19th century. Other artefacts were purchased at various country house sales during the 19th century.

Elsewhere in the sale, Old Master paintings that had recently hung in the great hall of Little Sodbury Manor from the collection of the late Lady Killearn will go under the hammer. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at the 500-year-old manor, which is Grade I listed, during a ‘summer progress’ of 1535. It is also reputed that William Tyndale began his bible translation here in the early 16th century.

The portraits on offer in the sale largely date to the 17th century and include images of richly-dressed ladies and armoured noblemen.

The auction also includes a selection of fine carpets from one of Gloucestershire’s principal country houses, including a Ziegler example dating to 1900 and decorated with lions and peacocks, with an asking price of £12,000 to £18,000.

Chorley’s director and auctioneer Thomas Jenner-Fust commented, “From a lock of Elvis’s hair to the smallest house in the Cotswolds, Chorleys has sold from significant lots over the years, but this particular auction is one of our most exciting to date. With two historic and private collections going under the hammer for the first time, this is an excellent opportunity for historians, collectors and locals alike to acquire a piece of British history.”

The sale takes place on January 28.

John Varley (1778-1842), View of Belgravia House and Westminster Bridge
John Varley (1778-1842), View of Belgravia House and Westminster Bridge
Woodward (Georger Moutard) Eccentric Excursions, (c.1816)
Woodward (Georger Moutard) ‘Eccentric Excursions’, (c.1816)
Two dishes circa 1800
Two dishes circa 1800
Limoges enamel drawer purse
Limoges enamel drawer purse


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