Portrait of the three daughters of the 3rd Earl of Liverpool by George Henry Harlow, £38,000 at Chorley’s.

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“It was particularly pleasing that every section of the sale had its star lots, from an Old Master ‘sleeper’ all the way to a gold box given as a present by King Leopold I of Belgium.”

The director at Chorley’s (23.5% buyer’s premium) was speaking after the dedicated auction of works from the private collection of the 3rd Earl of Liverpool, Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson (1784-1851) – one of the most notable sales taking place in the English regions this spring.

The collection had passed down through several generations of the family and had never appeared before on the open market. It came to the Gloucestershire saleroom on April 23 from a Cotswolds country house following a recent death and included Georgian furniture, porcelain, silver, enamel boxes and royal gifts. Among the latter was the above-mentioned snuffbox that made £46,000 (see News, ATG No 2641).

The consignment also included a “quintessential English collection of family portraits with impeccable provenance” which provided a large chunk of the overall total. In all, the event raised £558,000 hammer with all bar eight of the 343 lots finding buyers.

Long time in politics

Charles Jenkinson was the younger half-brother of Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, one of the UK’s longest serving Prime Ministers whose spell in office ran from 1812-27. After Robert died shortly after he stood down from politics, having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, Charles succeeded his title, becoming the 3rd Earl of Liverpool.

A famous portrait of Robert painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) in c.1820 now hangs in the Waterloo Room at Windsor Castle. Here a ‘circle of’ version of the portrait made £7000 in the Chorley’s sale.

Many works at the auction were once housed at the Jenkinson family seats of Pitchford Hall in Shropshire and Buxted Park in East Sussex. Others came into the collection via marriage.

A painting that had once hung in the dining room at Buxted Park was the top portrait of the consignment. An impressively scaled group portrait of the three daughters of the 3rd Earl (Catherine, Selina and Louisa), it was painted by George Henry Harlow (1787-1819), an artist who had been an apprentice of Lawrence but who began exhibiting his own work at the Royal Academy in c.1805.

The work here showed the subjects in white gowns and with a dog at their side. Given the age of the sitters, it must have dated from the last few years of Harlow’s life. The artist’s burgeoning career was sadly cut short after he came back from Italy with a glandular swelling in the throat and died shortly afterwards aged 31.

Harlow clearly had a flair for group portraits. One depicting two children with their spaniel in a landscape set a major record for the artist when sold for $110,000 (£68,365) at Sotheby’s New York back in 1997 (the work was subsequently resold as ‘attributed to’ Harlow at Christie’s New York in 2010 for $27,500).

The 6ft 4in x 4ft 10in (1.92 x 1.47m) oil on canvas at Chorley’s was in decent condition although it had been restored and relined. Being fresh to the market and from a prominent aristocratic collection, not to mention its underlying quality, attractive subject and striking size, it was well received by prospective bidders.

On the day, it surpassed a £8000- 12,000 estimate and was knocked down at £38,000 to a trade buyer. Other than the above-mentioned work at Sotheby’s, it was the highest price for Harlow at auction according to

Chorley’s director Werner Freundel said: “The picture had a natural charm and exuded the joy felt by the parents in their children. Very sadly the mother of the children died soon after the youngest child was born and therefore the painting contains a certain bittersweet aspect capturing youthful innocence.”

As was the case with this picture, most of the paintings in the collection had undergone restoration over their lifetime. Freundel, who said the restorations were generally well executed, did not feel it played a major part in the prices they achieved.

“It did mean they were more attractive to private buyers as most paintings were ‘ready to hang’”, he added.


Portrait of Anne Evelyn by George Romney, £26,000 at Chorley’s.

A portrait of Anne Evelyn (c.1767- 1790) was the pick of five works by George Romney (1734-1802) which all came into the collection via marriage. Painted in 1788, it had also once hung in the dining room at Buxted Park and it appears as a fully attributed work in Alex Kidson’s 2015 catalogue raisonné of Romney’s paintings.

The sitter, who tragically died young after her gown caught fire, was shown in a white dress with a blue sash. Freundel described the 2ft 5in x 2ft (74 x 61cm) oil on canvas as “very tenderly executed”. “She has an almost sketch-like manner and a charming smile which belies her tragic story”, he said.

The painting had undergone some retouching, especially around the sitter’s face, which may have meant it ended up fetching less than may otherwise have been the case. Nevertheless, it drew decent competition against a £12,000- 18,000 pitch and sold at £26,000 to the UK trade.

Demonstrating the selective market for British portraiture, however, another Romney depicting Julia Annabelle, Lady Shuckburgh (1756-97), sold below estimate at £18,000 also to the UK trade.


Portrait of Jane Cust attributed to William Hoare of Bath, £9500 at Chorley’s.

A number of portraits that drew notably more competition came a bit further down the price-scale. One was a 2ft 11in x 2ft 3in (88 x 68cm) oil on canvas attributed to William Hoare of Bath (1707-92). The half-length depiction of the strikingly portrayed Jane Cust (1725-1791), second wife of James Evelyn of Felbridge, had been attributed to Johan Zoffany at some point during its time at Buxted Park but more recently Hoare was deemed the more likely candidate.

Again it had undergone some restoration which included over-painting around the sitter’s hair but bidders clearly felt the £4000-6000 estimate was not unreasonable and it sold at £9500 to the UK trade.

Offered separately, a pair of portraits by George Knapton (1698-1778) from 1751 depicting two sisters of the Medley family also drew demand against estimates of £3000-5000. First up was a painting of Miss Annabella Medley (1718-58) that made £7000 which was then followed by a portrait of her younger sister Catherine Medley (1723-87) that made £6500. They sold to the same UK private buyer.

Amateur artist


The Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, a watercolour by Lady Catherine Vernon-Harcourt that made £5500 at Chorley’s.

Outside the portraits, a group of works by Lady Catherine Julia Vernon-Harcourt (1811-97) met a good reaction, especially considering she was an amateur artist with no previous auction history.

The eldest daughter of the 3rd Earl of Liverpool and Julia Medley, she appeared as a young child in the group portrait by Harlow (mentioned above).

As a young woman, Vernon- Harcourt became a companion of the future Queen Victoria who noted her “extraordinary talent for music” and how she was “very fond of reading and occupations”.

The eight large watercolours at Chorley’s (some of which were a metre wide) all depicted famous historical sites such as a view of the Parthenon that made £5500 against a £1500-2000 estimate and another of the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens that took the same price against the same estimate. The hammer total for the eight works, all of which sold, was £25,800.


A nocturnal landscape oil on panel catalogued as by a ‘follower of Aert Van Der Neer’, £50,000 at Chorley’s.

The top lot of the auction overall was the Old Master ‘sleeper’ mentioned by Jenner-Fust.

The small nocturn catalogued as by a ‘follower of Aert Van Der Neer (1603-77)’ overshot an £800-1200 estimate and was knocked down at £50,000 to a European dealer who saw off interest from the London trade.

A 9½ x 13½in (24 x 34cm) oil on panel which came in a gilt foliate frame, it suffered from some warping and abrasions as well as a few small losses in places.

A trade source told ATG that the use of light and the presence of two figures to the lower left foreground pointed to another Dutch Golden Age painter, Jan Lievens (1607-74).

Although primarily a portraitist, he also produced a smaller number of landscapes not unlike his close contemporary Rembrandt with whom he shared a studio.