Lord and Lady Sandys’ Remarkable Auction

In the heart of London, on the 29th of November 2023, Christie’s is set to unveil a treasure trove of history and artistry – “Ombersley Court: The Collection of Lord and Lady Sandys.”

This remarkable collection bears witness to the illustrious journey of an English aristocratic family that has spanned five centuries. Many of the exquisite pieces of art within this collection found their home at Ombersley Court after the grand estate was constructed in the early 18th century.

Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction

Some pieces were acquired through inheritance, having graced the halls of the Sandys family for generations, while others were specially commissioned for Ombersley Court. The last custodians of this legacy, Lord and Lady Sandys, left their indelible mark before their passing in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Following the sale of Ombersley Court in 2017 and the generous gifting of significant artworks to institutions, such as Sir Thomas Lawrence’s captivating portrait of Marcus Hill, 3rd Baron Sandys (1798-1863), to Historic Royal Palaces at Hillsborough Castle, the time has come to offer 220 lots for sale.

This comprehensive collection comprises Old Master Paintings, Furniture, Silver, Asian Art, Militaria, and Decorative Arts. These treasures, amassed over a span of more than 450 years by members of the Sandys and Hill families, offer an enchanting glimpse into history and artistry.

Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction

The auction estimates for these lots range from a humble £500 to a staggering £500,000, with some lots priced at £1,000 or below, offered without reserve. It is anticipated that the collection, as a whole, will fetch a sum in the vicinity of £2 million.

Adrian Hume-Sayer, the Conductor of This Historic Auction

In the world of art auctions, the sale of collections like Ombersley Court’s is a rarity, and Christie’s feels immensely honoured to be entrusted with this momentous auction. Adrian Hume-Sayer, the Director of Specialist, Private & Iconic Collections at Christie’s London, lends his expertise and insights to this extraordinary event.

He notes that the Ombersley Court collection weaves a captivating narrative, chronicling the remarkable journey of a single family over the course of more than four centuries. These objects’ unbroken provenance adds an undeniable allure to the story.

Within this extraordinary collection, one finds notable groups of works that have been inherited over generations. Noteworthy among them is the significant cluster of Old Master paintings, originally commissioned by Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford.

Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction
The Burning of the Soleil Royal in Cherbourg Bay, during the Battle of La Hogue, 1692 
(Estimate: £120,000-180,000)

These paintings provide a fascinating window into the past, as they have journeyed through time, passed down from one generation to the next. Equally intriguing are the pieces that were commissioned specifically for Ombersley Court, both during its inception and later, during the early 19th century, for the Marchioness of Downshire.

Among the many captivating objects acquired over the centuries, there is the gem-like casket purchased by Elizabeth Trumbull during her sojourn in Turkey in August 1690. Each piece in this collection carries with it a unique tale, and together, they form a mosaic of history, art, and heritage.

Highlights from Ombersley Court Collection

Van De Veldes: A Maritime Odyssey

Among the highlights of the Ombersley Court collection are four monumental naval scenes, each an exquisite masterpiece painted by Willem van de Velde the Younger and his Studio. These stunning works of art have graced the walls of the Sandys family since their commission in the late 17th century. These maritime treasures are nothing short of awe-inspiring and transport us to a bygone era when naval exploits were immortalized on canvas.

  • An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea: This magnificent painting is estimated to be worth between £300,000-500,000. It captures the grandeur of an English warship, a testament to the naval prowess of its time.
  • The Burning of the Soleil Royal in Cherbourg Bay, during the Battle of La Hogue, 1692: Estimated to fetch £120,000-180,000, this painting vividly portrays the dramatic events of the Battle of La Hogue, an iconic moment in maritime history.
  • An English three-decker at anchor in a seaway with a Royal Yacht arriving in the fleet: This masterpiece, with an estimated value of £150,000-250,000, transports us to a time when royal yachts graced the seas, a sight to behold.
Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction
An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea 
(Estimate: £300,000-500,000)

These paintings, commissioned by Admiral Edward Russell for his residence, Chippenham Hall, near Cambridge, between circa 1693 and 1698, carry a rich history of their own.

Admiral Russell, a member of the ‘Immortal Seven,’ played a pivotal role in English history by inviting William III to the throne. His naval triumph at the Battle of La Hogue in 1692 solidified his legacy. After his passing in 1727, these exceptional works of art passed into the hands of his great-niece, Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys, where they have remained for generations.

Coincidentally, the sale of these paintings aligns with the noteworthy exhibition, “The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea,” currently on display at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London.

Old Master Portraits: Glimpses into Aristocratic Life

Amidst the luminaries of the Sandys and Hill families and other prominent historical figures, we discover a captivating array of Old Master portraits. Each portrait is a window into the lives and times of these illustrious individuals.

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Edwin, 2nd Baron Sandys (1726-1797): This half-length portrait, depicting Edwin in a pink and green velvet waistcoat and jacket, is estimated to be worth £200,000-300,000. Notably, it was exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in 1967.
  • Enoch Seeman’s Group Portrait of Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys (1699-1779) with her two eldest sons, Edwin Sandys (1726-1797) and Cheke Sandys (1727-1737): In this heartwarming portrait, Letitia and her sons are depicted in brown coats and breeches with red waistcoats, with Edwin holding a cockatoo in his left hand. This masterpiece is estimated to be valued between £30,000-50,000.
  • Daniel Mytens’s Portrait of Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford KB (1593-1625): This full-length portrait, depicting Henry in a resplendent purple suit beside a table, carries an estimated value of £70,000-100,000.
Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction
Group Portrait Of Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys (1699-1779) With Her Two Eldest Sons, Edwin Sandys (1726-1797) And Cheke Sandys (1727-1737), In Brown Coats And Breeches With Red Waistcoats, Edwin With A Cockatoo In His Left Hand
(Estimate £30,000-50,000)

Each of these portraits is a testament to the artistic excellence of their respective eras and provides us with an intimate glimpse into the lives and fashions of the Sandys and Hill families.

Furniture and Decorative Arts: Timeless Elegance

The Ombersley Court collection also boasts a rich array of Furniture and Decorative Arts that speak volumes about the refinement and taste of its owners over the centuries.

  • A Near Pair of George I Cut-Gesso and Giltwood Side Tables, Circa 1725: These exquisite tables, reminiscent of the artistic style of James Moore, are estimated to be worth £60,000-80,000. They exude the opulence of the early 18th century.
  • A Pair of Chinese Blue and White ‘Soldier’ Vases and Covers, Kangxi Period: These porcelain treasures, hailing from the Kangxi period, are estimated to be valued at £60,000-80,000. They are a testament to the enduring fascination with Chinese art and craftsmanship.
  • A Set of Four Regency Bamboo and Simulated Bamboo Side Chairs, Circa 1814: Attributed to Bailey, Tatham & Saunders, these charming chairs are estimated to be worth £3,000-5,000. They represent the elegance and innovation of the Regency era.
Lord and Lady Sandys' Remarkable Auction
A Pair Of 17th Century Black And Gold Japanese Export Lacquer Jewel Caskets
Estimate: £20,000-30,000

In the midst of these treasures, one can discern the evolution of design, craftsmanship, and style that has graced the halls of Ombersley Court over the centuries. Each piece is a testament to the enduring allure of fine furniture and decorative arts.

Conclusion

As we stand on the threshold of the Ombersley Court auction, we are poised to embark on a journey through time, art, and history. The collection on offer is not merely an assemblage of objects; it is a narrative of a family’s legacy, a testament to their tastes and passions, and a celebration of artistry through the ages.

Christie’s, with its unwavering commitment to the preservation and promotion of art and heritage, is the ideal custodian for this extraordinary collection. The auction promises to be a momentous occasion for collectors, connoisseurs, and history enthusiasts alike, as they vie for the privilege of becoming the next guardians of these treasures.

In the words of Adrian Hume-Sayer, Director, Specialist, Private & Iconic Collections, at Christie’s London, the Ombersley Court collection is a remarkable tapestry that tells the story of a single family over more than four centuries. It is a story worth preserving, cherishing, and passing on to future generations.

Images: Christie’s

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