SUCH was the media coverage, and the worldwide interest, within the first three hours Sotheby's sale of the contents from the attics at Chatsworth had outstripped their modest £2.5m estimate for the entire three days.


By close of play on October 7, over 900 bidders had come to the marquee in Chatsworth's grounds to attend the sale, some arriving by helicopter, others by coach. Another 180 had bid by phone and an additional 254 had left absentee bids and all bar 25 of the 1416 lots had found new owners to generate £6.48m (including premium).

Despite numerous pieces eclipsing the auctioneers' estimates (as is very often the way with house sales), Sotheby's predictions about what would be the most expensive lots still proved correct.

These were the architectural elements designed by William Kent for Devonshire House, the now demolished London home of the Devonshire family. The three top lots, all secured on the first day, were all Kent-designed marble chimneypieces, led by a version created for the Saloon which topped the bill at a premium inclusive £565,250.

A full report will appear in next week's edition of ATG.