Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Earl Spencer's [Pounds Sterling]30m Attic Sale; Treasures from Althorp Estate and London Home to Go under Hammer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Earl Spencer's [Pounds Sterling]30m Attic Sale; Treasures from Althorp Estate and London Home to Go under Hammer

Article excerpt

Byline: Louise Jury Chief Arts Correspondent

IT is the poshest and potentially most lucrative clear-out of the year.

Earl Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana who has just asked for the hand in marriage of his third wife, is set to make a small fortune after clearing out his attic cupboards for what is set to be a multi-million-pound series of sales at Christie's.

An Old Master by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, hailed as one of the most important works by the artist left in private hands, is expected to make between [pounds sterling]8 million and [pounds sterling]12 million while a second masterpiece, King David by Il Guercino, has an upper estimate of [pounds sterling]8 million.

Other works have also tumbled out of the storerooms at Althorp, the ancestral family home in Northamptonshire, which is undergoing a [pounds sterling]10 million reroofing and restoration project. Even more treasures are to be sold from Spencer House in St James's, their London home until 1924 and one of only a handful of the capital's great 18th-century private palaces to remain intact today.

The series of sales will include some of the finest English and French furniture, porcelain and works of art as well as arguably the most important group of aristocratic 19th-century horsedrawn family carriages in existence. Experts are still working through a labyrinthine network of attics, cellars and stables at Althorp and finding silver, textiles, furniture and ceramics. More than 500 lots are destined for the attic sale.

In a statement today, the trustees of Althorp said: "For 18 years, the trustees have significantly built up the estate through the acquisition, development and retention of commercial and residential property. The trustees believe now is the time to prepare for further, positive diversification and have therefore elected to sell a selection of works of art that are not core to the Althorp collection. …

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