Ombersley Court

The Great Hall at Ombersley Court.

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The early 18th-century home, with Baroque and Regency interiors, was home to the Sandys family for nearly 300 years.

The most recent members of the family, Lord and Lady Sandys, died without heirs and the house was sold.

Ombersley Court

Ombersley Court in Worcestershire.

Some of the family’s artworks went to institutions including Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Marcus Hill, 3rd Baron Sandys (1798-1863), which went to Historic Royal Palaces, Hillsborough Castle.

The remailing collection, some 220 lots, will be offered at Christie’s on November 29. Among the lots are Old Master paintings, furniture, silver, Asian art, militaria and decorative arts.

The collection had been assembled over more than 450 years by members of the Sandys and Hill families. Estimates range from £500 to £500,000, with lots at £1000 or below offered without reserve. The overall collection is expected to realise in the region of £2m.

Adrian Hume-Sayer, director and specialist for private and iconic collections at Christie’s London, said: “Sales of collections such as this are rare to come to the market today. The collection from Ombersley Court tells the remarkable story of a single family over the course of more than 400 years and the objects’ unbroken provenance weaves a captivating story. This collection includes notable groups of works which were both inherited, such as the important group of Old Master paintings commissioned by Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, and works commissioned specifically for Ombersley Court.”

Among the significant lots coming up at Christie’s are four monumental naval scenes by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio, which have been in the family since they were commissioned in the late 17th century. The group is from a series of seven paintings that were commissioned from the great Dutch marine painter by Admiral Edward Russell for his house, Chippenham Hall, near Cambridge c.1693-98.

Naval scene

Among the highlights of the sale are four monumental naval scenes by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio. Among them is An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea which is estimated at £300,000-500,000 at Christie's.

Russell was the nephew of the 1st Duke of Bedford and a member of the ‘Immortal Seven’ who had invited William III to come to England. He was made treasurer of the Navy in 1689 and famously defeated the French at the Battle of La Hogue in 1692, later becoming an influential MP for Cambridgeshire and was made Earl of Orford in 1697.

Following Russell’s death in 1727, the paintings passed to his great-niece, Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys, in whose family they have descended until the present day. The sale of these works coincides with the notable exhibition The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London.

Naval scene

One of the four monumental naval scenes at Christie's is The Burning of the Soleil Royal in Cherbourg Bay, during the Battle of La Hogue, 1692. It is estimated at £120,000-180,000.


The late Lord Sandys (1931-2013) was a Conservative politician and served under Edward Heath as Lord-in-waiting. His wife Patricia, Lady Sandys, died in 2015 and the house was sold in 2017 to businessman Tim Hopkins.

A selection of lots from the sale include:

Baron Sandys

Among the portraits of members of the Sandys and Hill families in the collection is Sir Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of Edwin, 2nd Baron Sandys (1726-97). The half-length picture, with Baron Sandys in a pink and green velvet waistcoat and jacket, is estimated at £200,000-300,000 at Christie's. It was exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in 1967.


One of two late 16th /early 17th century close helmets, English or Flemish. Each has an estimate of £5000-8000 at Christie's.

Kangxi vases

This pair of Kangxi period Chinese blue and white 'soldier' vases and covers are estimated at £60,000-80,000 at Christie's.

Turkish cabinet

An Ottoman Turkish tortoiseshell, bone and mother-of-pearl inlaid walnut table cabinet, is estimated at £12,000-18,000 at Christie's. The auction house said this gem-like casket was bought by family member Elizabeth Trumbull in Turkey in August 1690.

Bamboo chairs

A set of four Regency bamboo and simulated bamboo side chairs c.1814, attributed to Bailey, Tatham & Saunders. They are estimated at £3000-5000 at Christie's.