Three centuries of European furniture and works of art from historic Scottish country house to be offered at auction

Art Daily
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Flemish Mythological Tapestry of Dido and Aenaes. Estimate: £6000 - 8000 + fees. Photo: Lyon & Turnbull.
Flemish Mythological Tapestry of Dido and Aenaes. Estimate: £6000 – 8000 + fees. Photo: Lyon & Turnbull.

EDINBURGH.- This September Lyon & Turnbull’s Five Centuries auction in Edinburgh will include a selection of furniture and works of art from Balcarres House, Fife, home of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres. Balcarres House, commanding a view across the Firth of Forth, has been home to the Lindsay family since 1595.

The furniture and works of art presented in the auction on 3rd September provide a cross-section of life in a grand country house. Through these pieces, a glimpse into the public and private lives of the previous generations who called Balcarres home, is offered.

“The collection provides us with a rare glimpse into another world and a time gone by, and it truly captures the spirit we aim to achieve in our ‘Five Centuries’ auctions. From the rare and beautiful terracotta figure study of Bacchus and Ariadne by Giuseppe Piamontini (1664-1742), to the everyday objects like the collection of copper kitchen wares, the selection encompasses the life of a grand country house.” – Specialist and Head of Sale, Douglas Girton.

The property of the Earls of Crawford & Balcarres on offer spans over three centuries of European art and interiors. Feature items include: an interesting Flemish tapestry, dating from 17th-18th century, depicting the legend of Dido and Aenaes, estimated at £6,000-8,000*; and a fascinating 17th century terracotta sculpture of Bacchus and Ariadne attributed to Italian sculptor Giuseppe Piamontini, estimated at £3,000-5,000*. Moving into the 19th century, on offer is a remarkable French Florentine marble and pietra dura mantel clock by Paris maker Hunziker, with a beautiful lapis lazuli dial, expected to reach between £2000-3000*, and a rare pair of French Carton Moule ‘seaside’ dolls, dating to around 1800, and estimated at £1,000-1,500*, as well as over 200 lots from the attics and stores of the house to include furniture, clocks, pictures and works of art.

Lord Balniel and heir apparent to the 29th Earl of Crawford, commented “Balcarres continues to be our family home as we continue into the 21st century. It has been a fascinating process going on a voyage of discovery through our attics with the Lyon & Turnbull team, and we are very much looking forward to watching the pieces find new homes next month.”

The Earl of Crawford is one the most ancient extant titles in Great Britain, created for Sir David Lindsay in 1398, who married a daughter of Robert II. The title has stayed with various branches of the Lindsay family ever since. Alexander Lindsay (1618 -1659) was created 1st Earl of Balcarres in 1651, and the 6th Earl of Balcarres, another Alexander Lindsay (1752-1825), sold the estate to his younger brother Robert in 1791, who enlarged the house with a bow-fronted Georgian extension. Subsequent additions and improvements were undertaken in the 19th century, the first headed by the Scottish architect William Burn 1839-1843, who greatly enhanced and unified the Scots Baronial design of the house, and later by another Scottish architect, David Bryce 1863-1867, designer of Fettes College. The terraced gardens have long been a celebrated feature of the house, and were described as ‘ second only in Scotland to those of Drummond Castle. Their character is truly magnificent…’

The Earldoms of Crawford and Balcarres have been joint since 1848, when James Lindsay, 7th Earl of Balcarres, put forth a claim for the Earldom of Crawford, which had remained dormant since 1808, when the 22nd Earl, George Lindsay-Crawford, died unmarried.

Previous properties owned by the Lindsay family include Haigh Hall, Greater Manchester; Dunecht House, Aberdeenshire; Stepleton House, Dorset; and a townhouse on South Audley Street, London, where some of the pieces on offer are likely to have resided at one time or another.