Derbyshire Life - - Antiques -

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.

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