Saling: Wine writer to sell collection at auction

Wine writer Hugh Johnson

Wine writer Hugh Johnson - Credit: Archant

THE personal collection from the Essex home of the world’s best-selling wine writer, Hugh Johnson, is to be sold at auction.

The items, including wine, paintings and statues valued at £250,000 in total, come from Saling Hall, in Saling, near Braintree, where Mr Johnson lived for more than 40 years. They will be auctioned as part of a specialist sale held by Sworders’ Fine Art Auctioneers on Tuesday, May 14.

Hugh Johnson is best-known as an author and wine expert, whose bestseller, The World Atlas of Wine, is regarded as one of the most important wine publications ever written.

He and his wife, Judy, purchased Saling Hall in the 1970s and recently sold the property, which was on the market for £2.5million, before moving to London.

Next week’s sale features principal pieces from their former home, such as paintings by George Romney and Sir Joshua Reynolds, as well as a collection of French and German wines.


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One of the sale highlights is a portrait of Lady Wray by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Believed to have been painted around 1767, it is being auctioned at a guide price of £20,000 to £30,000.

The painting by George Romney is a full length portrait of Isabella, Countess of Glencairn. It’s for sale at a guide price of £30,000 to £50,000.

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Managing director of Sworders Guy Schooling said: “It’s always particularly nice to sell such a large and personal collection from such a prominent local property.

“These pieces have been chosen with care and so clearly enjoyed by Hugh and Judy. All the lots have history behind them, especially the works by artists they know or who are connected to their love of gardens or of wine. It gives the sale such a personal flavour.”

The collection also includes over 300 lots of fine and rare wine from Hugh Johnson’s cellars at Saling Hall, and a statue of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, by Stephanos Barcoutes at a guide price of £5,000 to £8,000.

Mr Schooling added: “In the world of wine, provenance is all important and these wines have great cachet because Mr Johnson has chosen them for himself.

“He has said he wouldn’t hesitate to drink any of these wines with friends. Some of the wines are expected to sell for between £3,000 and £5,000, but others may go for as little as £100, so they are accessible for most people.”

The auction is due to take place on Tuesday, May 14 at Sworders’ sale room in Stansted Mountfitchet.

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