Classic English country house furniture and chattels from Alderley House in the village of Alderley, near Tetbury, were hammered down in Stansted Mountfitchet on July 23 for a total of £252,845.
The vendor was Victoria Grace Day, an international polo player and co-founder of the Ascot Park Polo Club whose family have recently relocated to Montana.
“People really bought into Alderley’s classic country house look,” said Sworders chairman Guy Schooling. “The auction total was right at the top end of my expectations. I have spoken to the seller in the US who watched the entire auction live via our website and she is just as delighted with the result as I am.”
The present-day Alderley House was built in the mid-19th century for West Gloucestershire MP Robert Blagden Hale using elements of a 17th century manor house.
A school for much of the 20th century, it was returned to a private dwelling in 2009 when it was bought by the Day family and restored back to its original state (with the addition of a riding school, a swimming pool, a polo field – and a bottling plant for the natural spring water found by a diviner in 2010).
The house had been decorated in quick time in the English country house style with every one of the 14 bedrooms plus reception rooms turned-out with English and French period and period-style furnishings.
Less than a decade later, the sale was remarkable for the sheer quantity of decent quality period furnishings: 66 container loads of art and antiques (in storage since the property was sold in 2017) were shipped to Stansted Mountfitchet.
First is a flyer
A typical early-18th century Flemish verdure tapestry depicting exotic birds in a country house landscape set the mood for this sale, hammered down as the first lot of the day to a private buyer for £4900, quickly followed by a Steinway mahogany ‘Model O Boudoir’ grand piano c.1924 sold for £5600.
The family dining table, a generous size with five leaves, was from the Regency period and made by the Cheltenham cabinet maker John Adler. It centred a room that included an imposing pair of Victorian giltwood pier mirrors with phoenix and shell carved crests. They sold at £6000 and £5600 respectively.
A generous number of leather Chesterfields and upholstered chairs and sofas – some of them relatively modern – found eager buyers. A pair of modern armchairs by Whitehead Designs, each with walnut legs and upholstered in yellow-striped silk by Scalamandré, sold for £4000, followed by a similar settee with Scalamandré floral upholstery which took £3100.
Among the best pieces of antique furniture was an Edwardian satinwood writing table with strung and crossbanded decoration bearing the magic maker’s label for Howard & Sons. Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold for £3100.