Single buyer takes home ex-family heirlooms in four day £1m auction

Combe Sydenham house by Edward Gurden Dalziel, 1870

A single determined bidder ensured that a group of lots relating to Combe Sydenham, the historic manor in Somerset, all ended up ‘back where they belong’ last month. “In the age of the internet, auctions may scatter art and antiques across the globe but sometimes they can gather antiques back into a collection too,” observed Helen Carless, Lawrences’ Managing Director. “We were fortunate to have been given the opportunity to sell four lots that each related to one historic house in Somerset and the current owner bought them all, to place back in the family collection.”
A large watercolour view of Combe Sydenham house by Edward Gurden Dalziel, 1870 (see image,
above) that was probably a Royal Academy exhibit in 1871, made £3,250.
A Victorian oil painting by John Adams Whipple, also depicting the house, made £400. This picture
had been spotted by the vendor’s father in the window of an antique shop in Kensington and was
recognised immediately. A more modern oil on board of an atmospheric moonlit scene at Combe
Sydenham house, painted by Felix Kelly in 1964, made £5,500 (image right, immediately below).

moonlit scene at Combe Sydenham house, painted by

The Earl of Egmont’s chairs
The following day, a pair of Windsor armchairs that had been made in about 1756 for John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont were offered for sale. The chairs were sold at a sale at Enmore Castle in 1899 and went to Combe Sydenham.
The superb provenance and strikingly decorative design of the pair (see image below) ensured that the price topped £15,000 and these have also returned to the house.
The buyer of all four lots, William Theed, commented that he had sat on these very chairs when he purchased the house in 1963.
In addition to the Combe Sydenham lots, two large drawings by Dame Elisabeth Frink (who lived and worked at Woolland, Dorset) from 1962 were sold. One of a horse’s head and the other of a fallen warrior, they showcased Frink’s skill at portraying the vulnerability of strength. These made £3,500 and £4,750 respectively.
A twilight landscape scene in oils, entitled ‘Evening’ by Midlands artist William Kiddier (1859-1934) surged beyond its estimate of £400-600 to make £6,875, almost ten times any other price paid for this artist’s work in any auction. The lots contributed to an auction that totalled £1m across four days of selling.

Windsor armchairs made in about 1756 for John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont

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