Sworders to conduct Sept. 14 auction of art, furniture and decoratives at historic English home Elveden Hall

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Sale additionally includes inherited furnishings with Guinness family connections from several properties including Farmleigh, the Irish State Guesthouse

STANSTED MOUNTFICHET, UK – On September 14, the British auction house Sworders will conduct a single-owner auction for Lord Iveagh at Elveden Hall in Suffolk, England. The auction includes furnishings with Guinness family connections from several properties including Elveden and Farmleigh, the Irish State Guesthouse. 

The event will be held in the oak-paneled dining room at Elveden Hall with a pre-auction reception staged in the Mughal-inspired Main Hall that was built for the estate’s most famous occupant, the Maharajah Duleep Singh. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers

George III giltwood mirror, Irish, circa 1760, manner of Thomas Chippendale. Formerly in Entrance Hall of Farmleigh. Estimate £20,000-£30,000
George III giltwood mirror, Irish, circa 1760, manner of Thomas Chippendale. Formerly in Entrance Hall of Farmleigh. Estimate £20,000-£30,000

Estimates range from £200 up to more than £20,000 for an array of English and Irish furniture, 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 £3,000-£5,000. 

Sworders’ director, Luke Macdonald, said: “It’s a huge honor for Sworders to be asked to conduct this auction for Lord Iveagh. The Guinness family name is one that resonates across the world and is today synonymous not just with brewing but also with the connoisseurship of art and antiques. Many of the objects we are bringing for sale were bought by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and have been treasured by generations of the family.”

Elveden Hall, along with its 16,000 acres, was once the property of Admiral Augustus Keppel. In 1863 it was sold to Duleep Singh (1838-1893), the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire, who remodeled the property with an Italianate exterior and interiors based on Mughal palaces that had been his home. Its next owner was Edward Cecil Guinness (created Earl of Iveagh and Viscount of Elveden in 1919), who built the landmark Elveden War Memorial, the towering 113-feet high Corinthian column made to commemorate the 48 men from the parishes of Elveden, Icklingham and Eriswell who died in the First World War. 

It was Rupert Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh, who transformed the lands for agricultural use in 1927 and later ceded the hall for use as the headquarters of the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. 

Elveden Hall’s entire contents, excluding items previously sent to Farmleigh, were sold at auction in 1984. Since then, the house has been closed to the public, although its unique and impressive architecture and surrounding landscapes are a popular venue for film and creative industries. 

Lord Iveagh commented: “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 at Elveden, Suffolk and Farmleigh, Dublin.’

“At that time English and Irish furniture making was at its height, drawing upon a broad base of skills and the fruits of growing international trade to fashion items of 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,” Lord Iveagh continued. “I am delighted to offer these items for others to enjoy, as my family has ceased to live in the large-scale homes we have formerly enjoyed. I wish all the new owners of these Guinness heirlooms years of enjoyment from their purchases. The vast majority of these items are likely to survive for generations to come.” 

Visit the online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. For questions, email [email protected].  

Approximate rate of exchange: £1 = US$1.25

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