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A pair of George III mahogany library armchairs (one shown right) forms part of Dreweatts’ showpiece sale for the spring: the private collection of the architect Sir William Whitfield (1920-2019).

The 570 lots, to be sold across two days on March 10-11, come to Newbury from St Helen Hall in County Durham, the Palladian house that Whitfield purchased in 1967 when it was at imminent risk of demolition. Over the course of the next four decades it was restored it to its former glory and furnished with high quality objects by Whitfield and his partner Andrew Lockwood.

Before the sale, the interior design firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler is presenting selected items from the auction in room-sets at Donnington Priory and Dreweatts’ London gallery on Pall Mall.

These library chairs c.1765 were possibly those supplied for Philip Howard (1730-1810) at Corby Castle, Cumbria, and later sold by Phillips in 1994 as part of the Corby Castle house sale. They carry an estimate of £8000-12,000.

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Nick Hall of Bentley’s stumbled across what he describes as a “time capsule of early furniture, fine art and objects when on the road following up leads for consignments”.

The large period farmhouse had been in the same family for many generations, each adding their own purchases to the ever-mounting collection, including an Elizabethan marquetry inlaid oak livery cupboard, c.1580-1600.

It is estimated at £8000-12,000 in the March 7 auction in Cranbrook, Kent.