Shrubland Hall contents sale begins

A SALE of the contents of one of Suffolk's stately homes began yesterday - with more than £2.2million taken on the first day.More than two centuries of history went under the hammer as Sotheby's started the auction of contents from Shrubland Hall, in Barham, near Ipswich.

By John Howard

A SALE of the contents of one of Suffolk's stately homes began yesterday - with more than £2.2million taken on the first day.

More than two centuries of history went under the hammer as Sotheby's started the auction of contents from Shrubland Hall, in Barham, near Ipswich.

The auction, which continues until Thursday at the hall, has about 1,700 lots ranging in price between £20 and £120,000 and is described as the biggest sale of its kind anywhere in the UK this year.


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Most of the items have guide prices of £5,000 or less and in total the sale was expected to raise £3.5m for the owners.

But a spokeswoman for Sotheby's said the total had already reached £2.258m on the first day of the auction.

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“Many works making multiples of estimated prices, some times as much as five or even 10 times the estimate,” she said.

“Telephones in the auction marquee were constantly manned by up to 20 Sotheby's staff, taking calls from as far afield as the US, Asia and Russia, as well as from across the UK.

“More than 3,500 people came to view at the house over three days and over 3,000 catalogues were sold to clients in the UK and overseas. There were also 200 bidders registered to bid in person on the first day.”

By late afternoon the highest selling item was a pair of marble topped tables selling for £68,400, which had been estimated to be worth between £50,000 and £80,000.

Other large selling items included a pair of early Victorian gilt bronze English chandeliers selling for £60,000, which had been estimated to be worth £25,000 to £40,000.

A carved Regency side table estimated to be worth £12,000 to £18,000 went for £33,600 and an Italian onyx vase estimated at £3,000 to £5,000 fetched an amazing £28,800.

The Shrubland estate, which is on the market separately for £23 million, is being sold by owner Lord de Saumarez to pay off death duties.

Lord de Saumarez is a descendent of James de Saumarez, who came from Guernsey and was Nelson's second-in-command at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

He has said that the decision to sell Shrubland and its contents had been an extremely difficult one, but throughout its long history the house has seen many changes and the moment had come for it to turn another corner.

In the 1960s, Shrubland was turned into a health clinic and it has featured in two James Bond films, Thunderball and Never Say Never Again.

n For more details of the sale, contact Sotheby's on 0207 293 6000, or visit the website www.sothebys.com.

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