‘THE WEALTH OF NATIONS’
Conducting an entire Fine Art Auction at a listed 18th century country house, with the added task of selling the mansion’s entire contents, must be no easy undertaking but Hansons managed it in style, delivering a memorable sale. Associate Director Adrian Rathbone reports that over 600 visitors attended the first viewing day alone. Country House auctions are more of a rarity in these days of internet technology and it’s hardly surprising that people interested in antiques should relish this reminder of past times. The auction as a whole realised a total of over £1 million and contained some outstanding items, attracting specialist collectors as well as those in search of a memento of their schooldays when Bishton was St Bede’s School. The highest selling item in the Fine Art sale was in the clock section: a bracket clock by Britain’s most famous clockmaker, Thomas Tompion ( top right). Dating from c.1690, it sold for £200,000.
The highest prices achieved in the sale of the contents of Bishton Hall itself included £19,000 for a 1958 Series One Land Rover which had been languishing in an outbuilding for many years. The paintings and library sections featured some particularly fine items: The Grand Canal, Venice by Antoine Bouvard (18701956) made £10,900 ( left) and a view of Orford Castle in Suffolk by Henry Bright (1814-1873) achieved £12,100. The ‘hidden treasure’ unearthed by the sale was a 1776 first edition of Adam Smith’s ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’ – rare and highly sought after in the antiquarian book world. Two phone bidders in the USA and Britain battled over it, with the latter winning it for £65,000 – proof of the power of the written word! War I. Items with a local connection included a consignment from a 17th century Derbyshire manor house, which included a German MedievalRevival ¾-length suit of armour that made £4,750, and a collection of 19th century art, including the paintings, pictured below, by Sidney Richard Percy (1822-1886) from a Nottinghamshire
Hall that sold for a total of £84,000.