Chorley's Country House Sale - 18th & 19th July 2017

Chorley’s two-day ‘Country House Sale’ on Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th July will include items sourced from houses large and small across the three counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and beyond. 

A strong selection of militaria is led by a historic presentation sword presented to Lieutenant Colonel George Smith in 1802.  George Smith began his military career in 1778 as Ensign in the 25th Regiment; his early career included service in Corsica but it was not until 1799 that he was nominated Lieutenant Colonel of the 20th Regiment.  On his appointment, he immediately went to Holland where he was mentioned in Sir Ralph Abercromby’s official despatch following the defence of Crabbendam against a superior force. He was again mentioned in despatches following the 1801 excursion to Egypt ‘The cool and spirited conduct of Lt Col Smith, and the corps and detachment under his command, is well deserving of praise…’.  At the close of the Egyptian campaign, Smith and his regiment travelled to Malta en route to England and it was there that the presentation of the sword was made. In a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Ross, he states of his brother officers that ‘they request your acceptance of a sword…….May you have the health to wear it, and, when you draw it in defence of your king and country, may it be the good fortune of the 20th to be under your command’.  He was knighted in 1807 and shortly afterwards appointed aide-de-camp to His Majesty, however he died soon afterward.  This historic item asks £8,000-10,000.

Among the textiles is a piece with an interesting provenance.  This Brussels lace fan decorated with panels of the four seasons was the property of Mary Chamberlain (née Endicott) who was wife of the British Statesman Joseph Chamberlain and daughter to the US Secretary for War.  Painted by John Singer Sargent in 1902 holding a fan, she was a fashionable society lady and the fan on offer at Chorley’s looks good value at £300-400.

The sought-after country house look cannot be achieved without paintings of animals.  Thomas Sidney Cooper is one of the biggest names in 19th Century art and the sale includes a small oil painting depicting Sheep on Romney Marsh; painted on board this is a little gem and carries expectations of £1,500-2,000. 

For the racing enthusiast there is a painting of Sainfoin, the winner of the Epsom Derby in 1890, painted by Adrian Jones. The 1890 Derby was run on heavy ground and in driving rain - the favourite Surefoot carried odds of 40/95, while Sainfoin was an outsider at 100/15.  The unusually small field of just eight runners was soon led by Sainfoin and he held on to win by three quarters of a length. The painting is fancied at £2,000-3,000.

A strong book section has a small collection of books relating to the Scottish Borders and another to the Tewkesbury area.  Collectors of Royal Memorabilia will be tempted by an interesting Visitor’s Book for Ealing Studios.  This book contains the signatures of both Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret on the occasion of their visit to the set of Nicholas Nickleby in 1946.  The film which was released in 1947 was produced by Sir Michael Balcon and his bookplate is on the slipcase in which the visitor’s book is contained.  A photograph of the Princesses with Reginald Barker and Sir Michael Balcon is included in the lot.  This will not set you back a king’s ransom at £100-150.

A wide selection of country house furniture and furnishings includes several hugely decorative pieces.  An outstanding set of three Venetian glass chandeliers in clear, pink and blue glass and each having fifteen lights ask £6,000-8,000.  A smart Gothic style oak and brass bound stick stand is in the manner of Pugin and should achieve £300-500.

Woo Gilchrist