The sale of 440 lots on September 14 will include inherited furnishings with Guinness family connections from several properties including Elveden and Farmleigh in Dublin (sold in 1999 to the Irish state).
Edward Guinness (b.1969) Earl of Iveagh, is selling the collection to raise funds for house repairs. Elveden has not been a family home for nearly 100 years and is mainly used as a film location for TV shows and movies including The Crown and Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.
Much of the house’s interiors are based on the Mughal palaces that were the boyhood home of Duleep Singh (1838-93), the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire, who purchased the Elveden Hall estate in 1863. He came to England in exile after being removed from his kingdom by the British East India Company. On purchasing Elveden, he employed the architect John Norton to remodel the property.
Elveden Hall, along with its 16,000 acres, was then sold to Edward Cecil Guinness (1847–1927). Edward, the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness (the creator of the famous brew), listed the family stout company in 1886 reaping a multi-million pound fortune.
The Sworders auction will be held in the oak-panelled dining room at Elveden Hall with a pre-auction reception staged in the Mughal-inspired main hall.
Estimates will range from £200-£20,000 for items ranging from English and Irish furniture to rugs, taxidermy and pictures.
Highlights include an Irish giltwood mirror in the manner of Thomas Chippendale (estimate £20,000-30,000) and a Louis XV floral marquetry bombe commode with Breccia marble top (estimate £8,000-12,000).
A set of six giltwood open armchairs and a matching sofa to a Chippendale design but late 19th century is guided at £3000-5000.
Lord Iveagh, who lives in a smaller property on his estate, said: “My family has either especially commissioned or bought items to live at our various households in England and Ireland. In particular, Edward Cecil and Adelaide Guinness, my great-great grandparents, amassed items to furnish their homes… with the quality and materials that just can’t be matched today. Supply is now dwindling and, in the era of fast, cheap and throwaway furniture, they may never be available again…”
The sale is the second at the premises: the entire contents, excluding items previously sent to Farmleigh, were sold at a Christie's auction in 1984.
On-premises auctions, once common, are now a rare occurrence due to the cost of such events. However Sworders believes hosting the sale here will increase bidders appetites.