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Auction date - delve into the history of the Cullum family of Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 11:48 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:48 16 August 2019

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERS

Items in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

Sworders

A "remarkable" historical archive relating to a once famous Suffolk dynasty is going under the hammer.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

The diaries, journals and letters of Lady Ann Cullum (1807-1875) of Hardwick House, near Bury St Edmunds, is part of the Sworders fine interiors sale on September 10-11 at Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.

The archive, which is estimated to fetch thousands of pounds, has come for sale from the collection of Rodney Whitworth of Walsham-le-Willows in Suffolk.

Lords of the manor of Hardwick, the Cullum family lived at Hardwick House for almost three centuries, but the estate was sold during the Depression when the last family member died. Without a direct heir, Hardwick was dismantled for building materials in 1926.

Experts in Suffolk county history as well as noted authorities in antiquarian and botanical matters, the Cullum family of eight successive baronets authored works on the county and its fauna and flora.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

John Black, director of Sworders, described the collection of items - including a large album of letters pitched at £3,000-5,000 - as a "rare group".

He said: "This collection is an amazing insight into the extent of Lady Cullum's travel in Europe in the mid-19th century, before and during her marriage to the courtship of Sir Thomas. The album also is a fascinating document of Bury St Edmunds and Hardwick House."

Miss Ann Lloyd, the daughter of John Flood of Farmley, Kilkenny, was educated in England at Mrs Schnell's School of Young Ladies.

It was while on a Grand Tour with her Aunt Elizabeth in 1831 that she met the Reverend Sir Thomas Cullum (1777-1855), 8th Baronet of Hardwick.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

Ann's journals

Included in the sale are Ann's leather-bound travel journals from the 1830s. They cover the trip she made as debutante to Naples, Oberland, Genoa, Munich and Dresden in 1830-31, a coach box tour of Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France as Lady Ann Cullum in 1833, further travels in Malta and Sicily in 1838-39 and a tour to Greece and Turkey in the spring of 1840.

Most include engravings and sketches with the contents also transcribed onto typed pages. The journals for each of Lady Ann's four sojourns are estimated at £300-500 each.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

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Ann's letters

A large album of around 160 mainly autograph letters sent to the Cullum family in the 18th and 19th centuries features correspondence with royalty, statesmen, military leaders and men and women of arts and science.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

Highlights include eight letters to Lady Cullum from novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, 24 lines by the abolitionist William Wilberforce and notes from mathematician Charles Babbage (July 1864), geologist George Barrow (November 1851) and social commentator Thomas Carlyle (1847). Others come from the Duke of Cumberland's son George - later George V, last king of Bavaria - who Ann had met while at Mrs Schnell's School.

Ann's diaries

Lady Cullum's diaries in three volumes from 1854-65 (estimate £300-500) describe her meetings with many similar luminaries. Following regular meetings with the historical writer and poet Agnes Strickland while in London she waspishly observed: "Miss S is very prosy and always talking of herself and her books - she is an extraordinary looking woman, very well meaning but most tiresome companion. She has a high opinion of her celebrity which almost amounts to mania".

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

She enjoyed the Thackerays' company more. In 1863 she wrote: "Dined at the Thackeray's. Miss Thackeray and Lord Stanley very amusing. Thackeray was in high spirits… I settled down the presents with him at the back of his house. It is to be done when his novel is finished; his novels are his bank…' And finally on December 26, 1863 - "Shocked and grieved to hear of Thackeray's sudden death".

A family scrapbook of around 100 drawings and watercolours (estimate £800-1200) reveals what Hardwick House looked like.

Among many local scenes, including a panorama of Bury St Edmunds which local residents would still recognise today, is a view of the property and its gardens.

Items in the Lady Cullum auction  Picture: SWORDERSItems in the Lady Cullum auction Picture: SWORDERS

Cullum family scrapbook

A family scrapbook of around 100 drawings and watercolours (estimate £800-1200) reveals what Hardwick House looked like.

Among many local scenes, including a panorama of Bury St Edmunds which local residents would still recognise today, is a view of the property and its gardens.

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