Italian marble sculpture by Emanuele Caroni - estimated at £20,000-30,000 at Fieldings on September 2.

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Situated in the village of Wordsley in the West Midlands, the mansion was built in 1757 for the industrialist John Holt. Originally surrounded by parkland, it was encroached on two centuries later by housing.

For the past 160 years it has been owned by the same family, but recent rising maintenance costs have forced them to sell and consign the house’s contents to auction.

The sale will take place on September 2 at Fieldings Auctioneers in nearby Stourbridge and comprises 178 lots, estimated to total £50,000-70,000. “The contents mostly date from the late 1800s onwards, with a few later pieces dotted through,” said Fieldings’ Liz Winnocott.

The house had been acquired in the 1850s by the Hodgetts family of glass-making fame, and remained with them until 1924 when it passed by marriage to the current family, the Firmstones.

“The Firmstones were very theatrical – arty, quirky types,” said Winnocott. Paintings by various family members, including Emily Hodgetts, a gifted amateur artist, will also be included in the sale.

The star piece, guided at £20,000-30,000, is this 19th century Italian carved carrara marble sculpture of cupid taming a lion by Emanuele Caroni (1826 -76). Believed to have been in the house since the late 1800s, L’Amour Vainqueuer de la Force was one of three sculptures entered by Caroni into the Exposition Universelle at the Paris Salon in 1867, alongside Esclave au Marche and Ophelie.

It is signed to the reverse E Caroni F 1867, and measures 3ft 5in (1.05m) high.

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