‘Ombersley Court: The Collection of Lord and Lady Sandys’ will feature Old Masters, militaria, silverware, furniture and other decorative arts which were assembled over 450 years by the Sandys and Hill families.
‘Sales of collections such as this are rare to come to the market today and Christie’s is honoured to have been entrusted with the auction,’ says Adrian Hume-Sayer, director, specialist, private & iconic collections, Christie’s London.
The sale is led by a group of four naval scenes by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio, which were owned by the Sandys from the late 17th century until the death of Lady Sandys in 2015. Richard Hill, 7th Baron Sandys, predeceased his wife in 2013.
Ombersley Court changes hands
Following the deaths of the couple, the family seat of Ombersley Court, in Worcestershire, was put on the market by Savills. It marked the first time the property had changed hands in 300 years. The Grade I-listed country pile was bought by Tim Hopkins, chairman and founder of the Gemini Property, which works across commercial and residential developments.
Ombersley Court is now run as an exclusive venue for weddings and other celebrations.
As the Sandys’ considerable collection was not able to be preserved intact, trustees have made offers in lieu and gifts of key works to public institutions. These included Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Arthur Marcus Cecil Hill, 3rd Baron Sandys, to Historic Royal Palaces, Hillsborough Castle, and the larger part of the important Regency furnishings of the ‘Chinese Room’ to be divided between the collections of The Victoria & Albert Museum and Leeds Art Fund for Leeds City Museums & Art Galleries, Temple Newsam.
The four remaining chairs from the ‘Chinese Room’ are among the 220 lots that will be offered by Christie’s on 29 November. Estimates range from £500 to £500,000. The lots are expected to realise in the region of £2 million.
Encapsulating a legacy
Hume-Sayer continues: ‘The collection from Ombersley Court tells the remarkable story of a single family over the course of more than 400 years and the objects’ unbroken provenance weaves a captivating story.
‘This remarkable collection includes notable groups of works which were both inherited, such as the important group of Old Master paintings commissioned by Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, and works commissioned specifically for Ombersley Court both at its inception and subsequently for the Marchioness of Downshire in the early 19th century. Other fascinating objects acquired over the centuries include the gem-like casket bought by Elizabeth Trumbull in Turkey in August 1690.’
Funds raised from the sale will be used to continue the legacy of The Sandys Trust, which supports a range of charitable causes including environmental causes and respite care.