Sunday, September 19, 2010

Architectural Treasures at Auction

When England’s greatest country estate cleans house no ordinary tag sale will do, which is why October 5 – 7 Sotheby’s will be hosting a sale of over 1,000 lots containing 20,000 objects removed from the store rooms of Chatsworth House.

This magnificent estate in Derbyshire has served for centuries as the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, including the famous Georgiana as portrayed by Keira Knightly in the 2008 film The Duchess. Chatsworth House itself is no stranger to the silver screen having appeared in numerous films, most notably as Pemberley in the 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice also staring Ms. Knightly.

While the sale includes mountains of furniture, china, glass, and fine art the most eagerly anticipated items are rare antique architectural elements salvaged from among the many castles, manors, and estates owned by the family over the centuries, including this eclectic grab bag of beautiful gilt-gesso architectural fragments dating from the late 17th and 18th centuries.

Among the rare fixtures and fittings are many long forgotten elements salvaged from Devonshire House, the palatial London residence designed for the family in 1733 by the great English architect William Kent. Once the epicenter of English society this “lost palace of London” was demolished in 1925 with many of the finest interior flourishes, including this pair of Kent designed brackets, making their way to the attics of Chatsworth where they lay forgotten and collecting dust for nearly a century.

The rediscovery of these artifacts provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of England’s architectural heritage as Kent’s work is now only to be seen in important preserved historical buildings. Aside from the 18th century a broad scope of historical English design periods are represented including this beautiful collection of 15th century carved oak Gothic tracery fragments that would look incredibly chic and romantic simply displayed and enjoyed as works of art.

Among all the grand and imposing antiques we were especially taken with this unusual little pair of charming late 17th century carved oak candle wall sconces in the form of flowering crocuses with beautifully aged patina.

Photos via Sotheby’s
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