Private buying dominated as Sworders sold the contents of a Cotswold manor house on July 23. Classic English country house furniture and chattels from Alderley House in the village of Alderley, near Tetbury, were hammered down in Stansted Mountfitchet for a total of £255,185. The vendor, Victoria Grace Day was an international polo player and co-founder of the Ascot Park Polo Club whose family have recently relocated to Montana.
Victoria Grace Day
“It was a lovely sale and people really bought in to Alderley’s classic country house look” said Guy Schooling, Chairman of Sworders. “The auction total was right at the top end of my expectations. I have spoken to the seller in the United States 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 the West Gloucestershire MP Robert Blagden Hale on the site of an original 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.
Victoria Grace Day had overseen the redecoration of the house in the English country house style. Every one of the 14 bedrooms plus reception rooms including the drawing room, dining room, sitting room, study and a library (with over 1,300 leather board volumes) was impeccably turned-out with English and French period and period-style furnishings.
The dining room had been the focus of the family home - centred by a Regency period mahogany dining table with five leaves by the Cheltenham cabinet maker John Adler and an imposing pair of Victorian giltwood pier mirrors with phoenix and shell carved crests. They sold at £7,400* and £6,900* respectively.
Alderley House Dining Room
The sale was remarkable for the sheer quantity of Georgian and Victorian furniture, English and French mantel clocks, Brussels tapestries and near-eastern carpets and rugs. More than 66 container loads of art and antiques (in storage since the property was sold in 2017) were shipped to Stansted for sale in more than 350 lots. They included a Steinway mahogany 'Model O Boudoir' grand piano c.1924 sold for £6,900* and a typical early 18th century Flemish verdure tapestry depicting exotic birds in a country house landscape that set the mood for sale, hammered down as lot number 1 for £6,000*.
Lot 1 - A Flemish verdure tapestry, early 18th century
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 £5,000* followed by a similar settee also with Scalamandré silk floral upholstery sold at £3,800*.
Lot 30 - A pair of modern armchairs, by Whitehead Designs
Among the best pieces of antique furniture in the sale was an Edwardian satinwood writing table with strung and crossbanded decoration bearing a maker’s label for Howard & Sons. Estimated at £800-1,500 it sold for £3,800.
Lot 305 - Howard & Sons satinwood writing table, c.1900
Sworders recreated the feel of the Gloucestershire country house for this stand-alone sale of more than 350 lots - the latest in a series of successful single-owner country house contents sales conducted by the auction house. The firm sold the principal contents of North Mymms Park, Hertfordshire in April last year for £1.75m.