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The Drambuie Collection of Scottish Art, ranging from the 18th century to the post-War period with major works by Alexander Nasmyth, Hornel, Gemmell Hutchison, Peploe and Redpath, will comprise what Lyon & Turnbull's managing director Nick Curnow called "the most important sale of Scottish paintings since the celebrated Wemyss Honeyman Collection was sold in 1979".

Drambuie have also chosen to offload a significant collection of Wemyss Ware plus selected silver and furniture from the corporate headquarters, but the sale (the precise date to be decided) does not include the celebrated archive of Jacobite-related material.

The roots of Drambuie - the name is taken from the gaelic meaning "the drink that satisfies" - can be directly traced to 1746 when legend has it Bonnie Prince Charlie bequeathed to Captain John MacKinnon of Skye the recipe for a scotch whisky liqueur after their protection as he fled the English army. The MacKinnon family, now Edinburgh-based, remain the owners of Drambuie.

Highlights from the collection are currently in Memphis, Tennessee, on the final leg of an exhibition tour of the United States.

Robin Nicholson, curator of the collection, said the decision to sell after a generation of acquisition was part of the rationalisation of the company's assets. Drambuie has recently endured one of the most turbulent trading periods in its 260-year history and last year sold its West Lothian production plant.