Robert Berkeley (1764-1845), a High Commissioner of Worcester who built the house in Bath stone on family lands in 1811, was a notable collector, attending Lord Berwick’s historic sale at Attingham in August 1827, William Beckford’s sale in Bath, and the Buckingham and Chandos sale at Stowe in September 1848.
Other acquisitions were made by Ellen Ann Willmott (1858-1934), whose collection was sold in a six-day sale at Warley Place, Essex, in 1935, and her sister Rose (1861-1922), wife of Robert Valentine Berkeley (1853-1940), whose antiquarian taste was informed by foreign travel.
Pictured here are two typical offerings sold for multi-estimate sums. The glass beaker in parcel gilt stand top is unmarked but probably made in Italy c.1630. It was among the objects pictured in the Drawing Room when Country Life ran an article titled Spetchley Park, Worcestershire, The Seat of Mr. R. V. Berkeley in 1916. It was pitched at a modest £250-350 but sold at £17,000.
Also featured in the same article, and in various inventories from the property, are a series of Augsburg-type coconut cups dating to the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
This 12½in (32cm) high example (above) in gilt copper with a finial of a female nude on a globe with dolphins, is again unmarked but the hatched floral ornament interrupted by profile medallions was fashionable around the 1580s. In very good condition, it took £16,000 (estimate £1000-2000).
Henry Berkeley, a direct descendant of Robert, inherited Spetchley Park two years ago and plans to move back to the estate with his young family after a restoration programme.