'Charles Strickland with a Fishing Rod' by George Romney has been bought by Sizergh Castle.

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Castle catches a Romney portrait

Sizergh Castle and Garden, a stately home in Cumbria run by the National Trust, has bought a portrait by 18th century painter George Romney.

The Strickland family have lived at Sizergh for more than 750 years and this work titled Charles Strickland with a Fishing Rod was painted by Romney in the 1760s.

Romney later went on to become a successful Georgian society artist and is best known for his portraits including those of Lord Nelson’s mistress, Emma Hamilton.

He built up his reputation by painting the local gentry, which included the Stricklands.

The painting was auctioned in the late 1800s and bought by the Grosvenor Estate, where it hung in an accountant’s office and was gifted to him on his retirement. According to the National Trust, after striking up a friendship with the late Mrs Strickland and her son Henry, this gentleman wrote into his will that the castle would have the first chance to buy the painting when he died.

The picture was purchased for an undisclosed sum after fundraising with donations from volunteers at Sizergh, the Romney Society and the V&A Acquisitions Fund. It was restored with funds raised from a sale of raffle tickets.

Plea to help find lost Terry Frost work

The owner of a painting by Modern British artist Terry Frost (1915-2003) is appealing for help after he left it on a train from London on January 23.


'Blue Harbour', the Terry Frost painting left on a train after a valuation in London, has now gone missing.

After he got off at Milton Keynes he realised it was still in the busy carriage. The painting was wrapped in brown cardboard packaging and is believed to have been removed from the train somewhere between Milton Keynes and Crewe.

Painted in 1954, Blue Harbour is valued in the tens of thousands of pounds. Its owner had brought it to London that day to be valued.

Anyone with information about the painting is asked to contact British Transport Police by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 and quoting crime reference 2000009076. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Museum buys Mulberry archive

An historic archive belonging to the engineer who oversaw the design of the Mulberry Harbours for the Normandy landings in the Second World War has been bought by a museum after being offered at a Mitchells auction.

The personal archive of medals, documents and photographs relates to Colonel Vassal Charles Steer-Webster OBE (1897-1970). He led the construction of the famous floating harbours used to land troops, vehicles and supplies.

Offered as a single lot at the Cockermouth, Cumbria, saleroom by Steer-Webster’s 87-year-old nephew, it was estimated at £10,000-15,000 and sold for £28,000 (plus 26.4% buyer’s premium inc VAT) to the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham, Kent, bidding by phone.

It was the highest-selling lot at the March 18-20 Antiques and Fine Art sale.

The archive included 150 black and white photographs of the Mulberry Harbour in construction, presentation models of three of its pre-fabricated sections: the Phoenix anchorage point, the Whale floating roadway and the Concrete Mat (nicknamed ‘chocolate mattresses’ because they looked like a bar of chocolate).

Specialist trio joins Ripon saleroom

Elstob & Elstob has hired three new specialists. Inez Tobin joins as jewellery consultant.

Tobin, previously at firms including Bonhams and Christie’s, will help run specialist jewellery sales including those planned for May 28 and November 26 and a ‘luxury’ sale scheduled for December.


Inez Tobin has joined Elstob & Elstob.

Jessica Aldred, an antique textiles specialist, also joins the firm. An expert embroiderer, she has worked in the costume department at the Royal Opera House and taught at the Royal School of Needlework and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The third consultant to join is classic vehicles specialist Richard Heritage.

Elstob & Elstob was launched by David Elstob and his wife Beth in January 2019. The firm relocated to a saleroom on Ripon Business Park in February.

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In Numbers


The hammer price for a charity lot added to the end of a live online-only auction held by Clarks of Liskeard, Cornwall, on March 26. It was catalogued as “a 21st century toilet roll, dated 4th March 2020, set with intaglio concentric ring design, unused” with all the proceeds going to Liskeard Food Bank.


Sold to benefit Liskeard Food Bank, the final lot at a recent auction held by Clarks sold for £100.