CHATSWORTH, 7th October, 2010 — The third and final day of Chatsworth: The Attic Sale was driven by the relentless energy and raw determination of the local population. No fewer than 620 people and four dogs made their way to Sothebys rural outpost today, many of them arriving early, staking out their territory at the back of the saleroom, and settling down in folding campchairs, their picnics at their sides.
CHATSWORTH, 7th October, 2010 — The third and final day of Chatsworth: The Attic Sale was driven by the relentless energy and raw determination of the local population. No fewer than 620 people and four dogs made their way to Sotheby’s rural outpost today, many of them arriving early, staking out their territory at the back of the saleroom, and settling down in folding campchairs, their picnics at their sides.
They were here for the eight-hour duration, and they had no intention of leaving empty-handed. As many as twenty individual bidders locked horns on a number of items, time and again pushing prices to multiples of pre-sale estimates and bringing the total for the three-day sale to £6,485,282* / US$10,250,637 (including buyer’s premium, see notes below) – almost three times pre-sale expectations of £2.5 million.
The Duke of Devonshire, who was present throughout almost the entire three days of the sale, said: “I am delighted how well the sale has gone. There has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for these wonderful items, and it’s great to know that wherever they may end up they have now been given a new lease of life. The funds raised have exceeded our expectations and will allow us to accelerate a number of projects at Chatsworth and our other Estates, including improvements to buildings, new visitor experiences and green initiatives. I am extremely grateful to Sotheby’s for such a brilliantly organised and executed sale.”
Harry Dalmeny, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s UK and auctioneer for much of the sale, said:
“It’s been an auctioneer’s dream, Sotheby’s has been working with the Devonshire family and curators for the last two years to make this auction a spectacular event, and the flying success of the last three days at Chatsworth has been the result of months of dedicated team work, at the most magnificent of settings.
“As auctioneer, it was a great pleasure to engage with such enthusiastic bidders, from connoisseurs of English furniture competing for architectural gems designed by the brilliant William Kent, through to a great many local bidders, keen to take home a piece of the Devonshire family’s history, to those who have come from around the world, drawn by the magic of Chatsworth. It has been a great privilege to work with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and their extraordinary team at Chatsworth, all of whom have made our endeavours here not only easier, thanks to their invaluable input into the sale, but also fun.”
Highlights from the previous two days included:
> Lot 82, a magnificent George II carved white marble chimneypiece designed by William Kent c. 1735 for the Saloon at Devonshire House on Piccadilly in London. This sold for £565,250 – far above its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000, and a record for a chimneypiece at auction.
> A rare Maori Nephrite Pendant (lot 450, a hei-tiki), found hidden in the back of a dark cupboard in the storerooms at Chatsworth. Kept in embellished treasure boxes, and brought out on special occasions by the Maori, hei-tiki were considered “trophy” finds by Captain Cook and his crew, who were the first to bring them back to England (giving one to King George III, now in the Royal Collection). This pendant was possibly acquired by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the early 19th century. Today it sold to an anonymous private buyer, bidding over the telephone, for £45,650 – more than six times the pre-sale low estimate of £7,000
> Lot 736, “The Monkey Table”, a Japanese Lacquered Centre Table, is “supported by three mangy stuffed monkeys”, [The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire]. Purchased by the Bachelor Duke at the Great Exhibition of 1851, this rare and unusual item sold for £22,500 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000.
Additional facts and figures:
> Number of helicopters that landed by the marquee: 12 Number of horseboxes used to collect lots purchased at the sale: 15 Number of people who came to the pre-sale exhibition: nearly 6,000 Number of catalogues sold prior to the sale: 12,500 Number of clients who bid at the sale: 1,719 comprising:
> Bidders in the room: 915 Absentee bidders: 254 Telephone bidders: 180 Clients registered to bid online: 250
> Lots sold to online bidders: 120, ranging from £50 to £42,500 Lot with the highest number of individual bids: lot 1339 (Dowager Duchess’s brooch), 80 bidders.
Sold by lot: 98.2% Sold by value: 99.8%