Countess of Snowdon collection at Dreweatts

The private collection of Serena, Countess of Snowden (b. 1970) will go under the hammer in a special auction on April 9 at Dreweatts in Berkshire.

The sale will include sculpture, furniture, fine art and decorative objects from many of the UK’s celebrated design figures, such as Robert Kime, David Mlinaric and Rita Konig.

Among the highlights are historical Royal gifts, such as a charcoal work by Belgian artist Rik Wouters (1882-1916), titled Rue d’Amsterdam, which was a gift to H. R. H. Princess Margaret (1930-2002), by the King & Queen of Belgium on their visit to London in May 1963. The street scene carries an estimate of £4,000-£6,000. Three bottles of dry Riesling from the Rhine, Germany that are from Kensington palace, are believed to have been bottled for H. R. H. Princess Margaret for the Silver Jubilee in 1976. They carry an estimate of £30-£60.

A decorative boomerang curtain commissioned by Lady Cutler, the wife of the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler(1916-2002), for H.R.H. Princess Margaret, also features in the sale. The curtain was made by the members of the Embroiderers Guild of New South Wales in 1975 and comprises 54 individual panels by different members of the guild, all within ribbon borders. A panel on the reverse describes each embroidery and gives details of the embroiderer. It carries an estimate of £800-£1,200.

Other objects that have passed from H. R. H. Princess Margaret’s collection at Kensington Palace are her brown leather riding boots by Royal equestrian boot makers, Maxwell of London. Both H. R. H. Princess Margaret and H. R .H Queen Elizabeth II were keen riders all of their lives, having started riding lessons very young, with Horace and Sybil Smith at the internationally renowned Cadogan Riding School in Belgravia, London. The blocks are stamped: ‘H.R.H. Princess Margaret’ and are accompanied by cases and boot pulls, as well as a collection of riding crops. The group lot carries an estimate of £300-£500.

An early George III sabicu Pembroke table dating from circa 1760 that was also inherited and housed at Kensington Palace, is attributed to the cabinet maker Henry Hill of Marlborough, who also traded as an auctioneer, coach-maker and representative of the Sun Insurance Company in Marlborough from about 1740 until his death in 1778. He was well known for supplying furniture to the Wiltshire aristocracy. Inside, a paper label reads: ‘Pembroke table, Kensington palace, 1967’. Highly decorative, the top and flaps sport distinctive lozenge geometric veneering. A frieze drawer and chamfered square legs, with blind fret decoration completes the overall look. It carries an estimate of £1,200-£1,800. A charming 20th-century walnut and tapestry upholstered stool in George II style and also from H. R. H. Princess Margaret’s apartments at Kensington Palace, features a decorative top with shell carved knees and pad feet. It carries an estimate of £400-£600.

Commenting on the collection, Joe Robinson, Dreweatts Head of House Sales & Collections, said: “Dreweatts are delighted present the Collection of Serena, Countess of Snowdon. The collection includes pieces supplied by many of the UK’s renowned design figures and companies such as Hugh Henry, David Mlinaric, Robert Kime and Rita Konig which all points towards a vibrant mise en scene, designed for comfort and good living.”

Among an array of sculpture in the sale is a bronze work titled:  Asian Rhino by Annette ‘Nettie’ Lynton Mason (b. 1953), the actress and producer, married to Nick Mason CBE, drummer and founder member of Pink Floyd. The couple support various charities, including the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust. It is thought that this animalier bronze was made to raise money for Rhino Rescue. Annette studied under the internationally acclaimed wildlife sculptor Mark Coreth (b. 1958) to complete the piece at the Cowdray Masterclass in 2004. The signed work carries an estimate of £800-£1,200.

A maquette for the larger version of a work titled Still Water that was first installed at Marble Arch and is now housed at the Daylesford home of Lord and Lady Bamford, is a highlight of the sale. The work is by the British sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green (born 1963), who specialises in creating realistic depictions of both smaller and larger than life-sized models of horses’ heads. In bronze on an oak plinth, it carries an estimate of £7,000-£10,000.

Among the fine art in the sale, is a preliminary sketch of Prince Augustus Frederick, the 8th Duke of Sussex, for an oil painting now in the Royal Collection. The painting is currently hanging on the grand staircase at Buckingham Palace and was presented to Queen Victoria by the sitter. In pen and ink, the sketch carries an estimate of £500-£800.

A watercolour titled The Via Appia in the Roman Campagna by the great British painter, draughtsman and writer, Edward Lear (1812-1888), captures the first and most important of the roads built by the ancient Romans, known as Via Appia. This Roman road was used as a main route for military supplies in the Roman conquest of southern Italy in 312 BC. The painting also captures in the distance, one of the many catacombs along its path. Dating from 1838, it carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

Among many affordable items in the collection is an interesting study in watercolour and pencil for the Coronation Chair, which is an ancient wooden chair that British monarchs sit on during their coronations. It was commissioned in 1296 by King Edward I to hold the ‘Stone of Scone’, which he had captured from the Scots. The chair was named after Edward the Confessor and until 1997 it was held in his shrine at Westminster Abbey. The study carries an estimate of £100-£150.

Asian works in the collection include a Chinese zitan cased duan inkstone, dating from the Qing Dynasty, which was used in traditional Chinese calligraphy and first devised 6000 to 7000 years ago. The stone mortar enabled the grinding and containment of ink. To make ink, an inkstick is ground against the stone with a small amount of water to create a dark liquid, which is then applied with an ink brush. This example features a stylised chilong dragon and a fitted zitan hardwood box. It carries an estimate of £2,000-£4,000.

Among the pieces by well-known designers in the sale, is a cream, red and green floral carpet designed by Scottish interior designer Hugh Henry (b. 1947), for interior decorator David Mlinaric (1939), a partnership that has spanned decades and included projects around the globe. This vibrant carpet has a border of leaves around a trailing pink and dotted design. It carries an estimate of £800-£1,200.

Two large ‘Belle Rives’ lacquer drinks trays by Rita Konig for The Lacquer Company, add a contemporary twist and are estimated to fetch £100-£200. In contrast, is a folding triptych fire screen by the late celebrated designer, Robert Kime. It sports bell-shaped feet and an arched handle and carries an estimate of £400-£600. Amongst other works by the Kime in the sale is a late Victorian rosewood writing table with a dark blue and leather inset top, which carries an estimate of £500-£600. A brass student lamp by Kime with a printed paper shade has an estimate of £200-£300 and a 20th-century north west Persian Tabriz carpet sourced by Kime is estimated to fetch £600-£1,000. A group of three window seat cushions and a set of curtains in an Indian pattern of scattered flowers by Kime carry an estimate of £300-£500.