Dubbed The Cotswolds Collection, it was pieced together at the country house sales that proliferated in the inter-war years by one Mr Perry, the owner of a garage and a roadside cafe with a sunken garden as its focal point near the village of Dodington.
Trading into the 1950s, the site then fell into disrepair and was fenced off. Only late last year, when the present owners decided to clear the site, did some significant objects come to light.
Included in the September 29 sale in Billingshurst, West Sussex, are 70 lots, some of them with provenances to nearby country estates. One of the first recorded sales that Perry attended was conducted by Bruton Knowles at Owlpen Manor in 1924 (pairs of Arts & Crafts carved Cotswold stone seats from the property have estimates of £12,000-18,000). The last was the dispersal at The Rocks, a mansion near Corsham demolished in 1952 that yielded a stone lion gargoyle (estimate £20,000-30,000).
Summers Place Auctions director James Rylands says: “It’s been many years since a privately formed collection like this has come to the market. All the pieces were acquired in what is generally accepted to be the Golden Era of collecting. When we held our first sale of garden sculpture 35 years ago, this material was readily available, but now it’s a real treat to see such pieces.”