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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s To Auction Property From Carlton Towers

Sotheby’s London will be conducting an auction on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 of English and continental furniture, objets d’art, silver, ceramics and Old Master paintings from Carlton Towers, Yorkshire, a major Grade I listed Victorian country house substantially remodeled first by E.W. Pugin and then by J.F. Bentley in the second half of the nineteenth century. Comprising 120 lots, the sale is estimated to raise in excess of £1 million. The Trustees of the Beaumont Trust have arranged this sale to fund a major restoration program of the fabric and interiors of Carlton Towers.

Giovanni Antonio Canal
Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, Venice, the Bacino di San Marco, Looking West with the Palazzo Ducale to the right and the Church of Santa Maria Della Salute in the Distance, Oil on canvas. Est. £25,000–35,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

Highlights of the sale include a remarkable table by Edward Holmes Baldock (est. £18,000-25,000), a group of Dutch and Flemish marquetry furniture and gilt-bronze mounted objects from the 19th century. Extraordinary silver includes four magnificent wine coolers by Paul Storr probably supplied to Bernard Edward, 12th Duke of Norfolk (est. £60,000-80,000), and a significant number of Old Master paintings.

James Stourton, Sotheby’s Chairman, UK, comments: “Carlton Towers contains some of the most opulent Victorian interiors in the country and this sale offers the rare opportunity to acquire items that reflect the remarkable evolution of this historic noble house.”

Lord and Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard of Carlton Towers said of the sale: “Together with our fellow trustees of the Beaumont Trust, we are extremely proud of the extensive restoration that the Bachelor Wing, the Clock Tower and the Baroness Tower at Carlton Towers has undergone. The restoration includes the refurbishing of bedrooms, many of which were still in the condition in which they were left at the end of war-time use as a hospital. This and the need to plan for the future has made necessary the sale of some of the contents of Carlton Towers, in particular objects from the Tempest Collection.”

The history of Carlton Towers provides the back-drop to the collection displayed in its magnificent gothic revival interiors. The furniture and works of art to be offered comprise an eclectic mix of English and continental pieces spanning from the early 17th century through to the late 19th century, which corresponds to the architectural and ancestral evolution of Carlton Towers. An ancient family house, Carlton Towers and the estate has passed directly by descent since the Norman Conquest, through the Bruces and Bellews, then the Stapleton family, who were prominent in the Middle Ages, and then to the Beaumonts followed by the Tempests. The Tempest fortune not only saved the house and estate following the bankruptcy of the 9th Lord Beaumont, but also brought to Carlton the great collection of furniture, paintings and objects of Broughton, many of which are included in this sale, as well as establishing the Tempest Collection, which was formed on the Continent in the first half of the 19th century.

An identifiable focus of the furniture collection at Carlton Towers are those items that were collected by Charles Henry Tempest for Broughton Hall and which arrived at Carlton through the marriage of his daughter Ethel, to Miles Stapleton in 1893. These include an impressive pair of candelabra in the manner of Pierre- Philippe Thomire (est. £40,000-60,000) and a pair of gilt-bronze mounted serpentine marble vases after the model in the Louvre (est. £25,000-35,000). A rare English octagonal tulipwood, kingwood, ivory and pearl shell marquetry library centre table, circa 1840, is attributed to Edward H. Baldock (est. £18,000- £25,000). Most probably acquired by Miles Thomas Stapleton, 8th Lord Beaumont (1805-1854) from Edwards and Roberts, the present table is very similar to an example supplied in 1841 to the Duke of Buccleuch for Dalkeith Palace, Scotland, now in the furniture collection at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

Evidence of grand tour activity and the treasures returned to Carlton Towers is provided by an eminent group of bronze mounted marble vases and metal vases in the Main Entrance, Bow Drawing Room, Morning Room and State Dining Room. The pair of gilt-bronze mounted Verde Antico baluster vases, Napoleon III, circa 1860 in the manner of Pierre Gouthière, in Louis XVI style are estimated at £7,000–10,000.

A pair of George III gilt-brass wall lanterns, circa 1780 and estimated at £10,000-15,000, were made especially for Carlton Hall. The design of these wall lanterns, incorporating anthemia motifs and rams’ heads, reflects the interest prevalent in the second half of 18th century for the neo-classical of whom the main proponents were such architects as Robert Adam and James Wyatt. Although ceiling hanging hall lanterns of this period incorporating these design elements are not unusual, wall mounted lanterns are surprisingly rare.

Old Master Paintings
A significant number of Old Master Paintings will be included in the property from Carlton Towers. Arabella Chandos, Sotheby’s Senior Director in the Old Masters Department, comments: “The wonderful selection of paintings to be offered is truly a diverse and varied collection, reflecting the historic provenance of descent from the different branches of the Fitzalan Howard family.”

A pair of circular oils on canvas, “Satyrs and Fauns Dancing Before a Shrine” and “Diana in a Landscape with the Attributes of Hunting and Dancing Figures” are attributed to by Dirk Van der Aa (The Hague 1731- 1809) and estimated at £50,000-70,000. Van der Aa was active predominantly in The Hague and patronized by the Stadholder, William V, Prince of Orange and Nassau-Dietz. Other examples of his work include the overdoors in the former royal palace at the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, now the Escher Museum. The tempera on panel, gold ground “Christ Appearing to his Mother” by Lippo D’Andrea (Florence 1377 – after 1427) is a small panel that almost certainly formed part of a predella, estimated at £20,000 – 30,000 . It shows the Resurrected Christ appearing to Mary, His mother. The episode is said to have taken place on the morning of the Resurrection when, while the three Maries made their way to the tomb, the Virgin remained at home to pray. The subject was particularly popular in 14th-century Italian art.

An oil on canvas painting traditionally attributed to Bartolomé Estebán Murillo but more recently associated with the Roman painter Tommaso Salini, called “Mao” (1565-1625), is being offered, as well as “Boys Pausing from a Hunt,” and “Playing at Odds in a Forest Clearing” is estimated at £50,000–70,000. Although the theory was put forward in 1989 that these were all late works by Salini, datable to the last five years of his life (1620-25), it is now generally accepted that the paintings must date towards the middle of the 17th century and therefore cannot be by Salini himself. The Spanish influence is clear, but the elegance of the figures and naturalistic attention to detail in the animals and still life elements point rather to an Italian artist.

Two works to be offered by followers of Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, are the oil on canvas “Venice, the Bacino di San Marco, Looking West with the Palazzo Ducale to the Right” and the “Church of Santa Maria Della Salute in the Distance,” est. £25,000–35,000, and “Venice, with the Bucintoro Returning to the Molo on Ascension Day” which repeats the composition of Canaletto’s original in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, estimated at £25,000–30,000.

For some collectors the highlight of the sale will be the marvelous group of silver which includes makers such as Paul Storr, represented with two magnificent pairs of almost matching George III silver wine coolers, rims and liners, each on four cast scroll and shell supports and engraved coats-of arms, lion mask, reed and leaf and shell pattern handles, with the detachable rims an liners engraved with the Howard Crest (est. £60,000-80,000), as well as spectacular examples of 19th exhibition and trophy silver. Of particular interest is a pair of massive Victorian silver-gilt sideboard tankards, Hancocks & Co, London, 1874 estimated at £18,000-£22,000.