Posted on: 13 July 2023
Country House Collection: June 2023
Managing Partner and Founder, Christina Trevanion, reflects on a fascinating and unique auction recently held by Trevanion at a historic Country House in Cheshire.
‘As a business we have embraced and adapted to the monumental shift that the auction industry has seen over the last few years. The Covid 19 Pandemic acted as a catalyst for the online market and we have seen a huge shift to online buying. A recent report states that now 78% of collectors buy online compared to 38% only a few years ago. And so for me, it has been joyous to get away from a screen and get ‘back to basics’ over the last few months and offer to the market the contents of Tushingham Hall in a traditional format, yet with the modern convenience and global exposure you would expect from a progressive business operating in 2023.
When we were invited to conduct the sale of the contents of Tushingham Hall, we knew immediately that we wanted to keep as many pieces as possible in situ, allowing potential buyers to see where things had stood for years, or even centuries. We felt very strongly that the essence of a country house sale lies in the location as much as in the provenance, so for example when we found a wonderful collection of painted Georgian furniture which had luckily escaped the 1980’s stripping tanks, it was important that we allowed people to view it as it had been found, similarly with the garden statuary and paintings – where better for them to be, than in the majestic surroundings of Tushingham Hall where they had lain, relatively untouched.
The Hall itself has been in the same family for more than two centuries, passing from the Kenyon family to the Vawdrey family via the female line and on to the current residents, the Moore Duttons. Every generation of the family added to the extensive collections of furniture, art, militaria, natural history and ephemera in the house, creating a unique home almost literally bursting at the seams with interesting and valuable objects.
The sheer variety of pieces offered for sale at the auction was reflected in the top selling lots on auction day. Highlights of which included a large 18th century spice cupboard which sold for £6000 and had been used to house artefacts in the Hall’s very own ‘museum room’, an utterly charming early 19th century oil on copper portrait of the three Vawdrey children with their pet rabbits sold for £5500, an Indian Matchlock Musket or Toredar sold for £5500, and a 17th century polychrome decorated and carved arched panel depicting a biblical scene and reputedly from the ‘olde’ Greenwich Palace before the fire in the 17th century, sold for £5500. All of these wonderful pieces were woven into the rich tapestry that was the contents of Tushingham and the people that added them to the collection, it was quite lovely being able to spend time researching and cataloguing them prior to the auction on the 28th June.
The auction offered an extraordinary variety of interesting pieces, indeed our buyers had the rare opportunity to buy everything and anything from a Walrus skull (sold for £2800) to an early nut cracker (sold for £3200), and whilst we are honoured to have been given the opportunity to conduct this auction, we are equally delighted that our clients and customers had the opportunity to view the hall itself for one last time prior to its sale.
Whilst we couldn’t go as far as putting a marquee on the lawn like they used to in the old days, we do feel that this nostalgic way of presenting an auction and the unique viewing experience we provided, really added to the overall phenomenal results on the day. It was a wonderful combination of the traditional and the modern, on the preview days prior to the auction, we welcomed our local customers and those who had travelled from far and wide from across the country just to visit the hall, and on auction day we registered buyers from all four corners of the globe; Europe, Hong Kong, America and New Zealand’.
If you have pieces you are looking at selling or are curious to find out what your items could be worth, you can book a free no obligation auction valuation appointment on 01948 800 202 or firstname.lastname@example.org.