The Arkwrights were one of the most famous families of the industrial revolution. Richard Arkwright (1732-92) invented the Spinning Jenny (or rather made the crucial adaptation to James Hargreaves’ initial idea) which revolutionised the manufacture of cotton and helped make him ‘the richest commoner in Europe’.
Among the highlights is a group portrait of Richard and Mary Arkwright with a baby by the studio of Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97) which is estimated at £50,000-70,000. The oil on canvas is after the prime version by Joseph Wright of Derby himself which is now on loan to the Derby City Art Gallery.
With the family remaining important industrialists as their factories continued to develop, Richard Arkwright’s son, Richard Arkwright Jr, bought Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire in 1810. By 1870, his grandson John Arkwright had become the largest landowner in the county but in the early 20th century the family fell upon hard times and were forced to sell Hampton Court Castle in 1912, having bought the more manageable Kinsham Court the year before.
David Arkwright, the last surviving member of the direct family line, died in 1985, and the estate was inherited by the vendor's mother. She died aged 102 in 2020 and in April this year the property itself appeared on the market with an asking price of £3.5m.
As well as the Arkwrights, Kinsham Court is also known for being briefly the childhood home of Florence Nightingale. Another famous resident was Lord Byron who rented the property for six months and is thought to have written part of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage while residing there.
Bonhams said that none of the Kinsham Court contents have ever been on the open market before. They will now be offered at a stand-alone sale in Knightsbridge on October 12.
The 195 lots will include paintings, furniture, tapestries, books and ceramics and the combined estimate for the collection is £463,350-694,050.
Of the eight lots announced on Bonhams’ website so far, the highest estimate is on a pair of George III marquetry commodes guided at £80,000-120,000. They are attributed to John Mayhew (1736-1811) and William Ince (1737-1804).
A selection of further lots already announced appear below.