Christie's announces Ombersley Court: The Collection of Lord and Lady Sandys

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Christie's announces Ombersley Court: The Collection of Lord and Lady Sandys
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 brown coats and breeches with red waistcoats, Edwin with a cockatoo in his left hand (estimate £30,000-50,000). © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.

LONDON.- Christie’s will offer Ombersley Court: The Collection of Lord and Lady Sandys on 29 November 2023. The works in this historic collection tell the story of an English aristocratic family spanning five centuries. Many of the works of art were acquired or commissioned for Ombersley following the construction of the present house in the early eighteenth century, with others coming to the family by inheritance, and remained in situ during the tenure of the last Lord and Lady Sandys (d. 2013 and 2015). Following the sale of the house in 2017 and the gift of significant works to institutions – most recently Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Marcus Hill, 3rd Baron Sandys (1798-1863), to Historic Royal Palaces, Hillsborough Castle – 220 lots will be offered for sale, including Old Master Paintings, Furniture, Silver, Asian Art, Militaria and Decorative Arts. Assembled over more than 450 years by members of the Sandys and Hill families, the sale is led by an important group of four monumental naval scenes by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio, which have been in the family since they were commissioned in the late 17th century. Estimates range from £500 to £500,000, with lots at £1,000 or below offered without reserve. The overall collection is expected to realise in the region of £2 million.

Adrian Hume-Sayer, Director, Specialist, Private & Iconic Collections, Christie’s London: “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. The collection from Ombersley Court tells the remarkable story of a single family over the course of more than four-hundred 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.”

Highlights include:


An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea (estimate: £300,000-500,000); The Burning of the Soleil Royal in Cherbourg Bay, during the Battle of La Hogue, 1692 (estimate: £120,000-180,000); and An English three-decker at anchor in a seaway with a Royal Yacht arriving in the fleet (estimate: £150,000-250,000) by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio belong to a series of seven paintings that were commissioned from the great Dutch marine painter by Admiral Edward Russell for his house, Chippenham Hall, near Cambridge between circa 1693 and 1698. Russell was the nephew of the 1st Duke of Bedford and a member of the ‘Immortal Seven’ who had invited William III to come to England. He was made treasurer of the Navy in 1689 and famously defeated the French at the Battle of La Hogue in 1692, later becoming an influential MP for Cambridgeshire and was made Earl of Orford in 1697. Following Russell’s death in 1727, the paintings passed to his great-niece, Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys, in whose family they have descended until the present day. The sale of these works coincides with the notable exhibition The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London.


Amidst the illustrious members of the Sandys and Hill families and important historical figures within the array of Old Master portraits, are: Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Edwin, 2nd Baron Sandys (1726-1797), half-length, in a pink and green velvet waistcoat and jacket (estimate: £200,000-300,000) which 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 brown coats and breeches with red waistcoats, Edwin with a cockatoo in his left hand (estimate £30,000-50,000) and Daniel Mytens’s Portrait of Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford KB (1593-1625), full-length, in a purple suit, beside a table (estimate: £70,000-100,000).


The rich array of Furniture and Decorative Arts in the collection is exemplified by: a near pair of George I cut-gesso and giltwood side tables, circa 1725, in the manner of James Moore (estimate: £60,000-80,000); a pair of Chinese blue and white 'soldier' vases and covers, Kangxi period (estimate: £60,000-80,000); and a set of four Regency bamboo and simulated bamboo side chairs circa 1814, attributed to Bailey, Tatham & Saunders (estimate: £3,000-5,000).

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