LONDONERS with a craving for some good-value vintage furniture, or a spot of stately home eccentrica, should head for Devon, where the contents of The Chanter's House, Ottery St Mary, come up for sale this month.
Though it recently featured in the Harry Potter books as Ottery St Catchpole, Ottery St Mary's main literary claim is as the birthplace of the writer of Kubla Khan, poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in 1772.
The Chanter's House was bought by Samuel's older brother, James, in 1796 and has been the seat of the Coleridges ever since. The family is selling because of the burden of its upkeep. In the sale, more than 600 lots of furniture and curiosities, from wardrobes to rickshaws, go under the hammer with estimates starting at Pounds 20 for a group of wooden, tin and leather boxes (lots 450 and 451).
The house, built in the 1340s, was remodelled in the late 19th century to become the last word in Victorian country splendour. But this may be your last chance to snoop around it. The 18-bedroom pile, set in five acres, has been sold to a London-based buyer.
Alongside a mountain of family portraits of fresh-faced young men and crusty old judges, there is a haul of plaster plaques and casts. One plaster group, "after Michelangelo", was cast by Domenico Brucciani, responsible for many of the treasures in the peerless VA sculpture courts (lot 66, est Pounds 3,000-Pounds 5,000). …