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Sworders to auction luxurious furnishings of England's Alderley House
Anton van Anrooy (Dutch, 1870-1949), An Extensive Dutch Riverscape with a Man Punting in the Foreground and a Windmill in the Distance. Signed l.r., watercolour, 54 x 76 cm. Estimate: £300 - £500.

STANDSTED MOUNTFITCHET.- On July 23, Sworders will recreate the feel of a remarkable Gloucestershire country house with the auction of The Principal Contents of Alderley House. The stand-alone auction includes more than 500 luxurious lots consigned by Victoria Grace Day, a world-renowned polo player who competed against Prince Charles in her youth and, at age 13, was awarded the prestigious Dorchester Trophy by Princess Diana.

The present-day Alderley House is a mid-19th-century Grade II listed country house designed by the English architect Lewis Vulliamy and built for Robert Blagden Hale in the small village of Alderley, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

During the tenure of the Day family, the house was impeccably furnished in the English country-house style with ample quantities of Georgian and Victorian furniture, Brussels tapestries, English and French mantel clocks; giltwood mirrors, Chesterfield sofas, sets of hunting prints and Persian carpets. Every one of the 14 bedrooms plus reception rooms, drawing room, dining room, sitting room, study and library (with more than 1,300 leather-bound volumes) were decorated with English and French period and period-style furnishings.

Victoria Grace Day and her husband relocated to the United States and sold Alderley House in 2017. The auction is remarkable for the sheer quantity of high-quality period furnishings, which had been placed in storage after the couple’s transatlantic move. More than 66 container loads of art and antiques formerly at Alderley House were transported to Sworders in preparation for the auction. July 23 estimates range from £100 ($125) for a Victorian wall clock to £5,000 ($6,250) for an early 18th-century Flemish tapestry.

Asked to name her favorite item in the auction, Day replied, “It’s tricky to say, as I have many favorites which include the mahogany extending dining room table where we have had so many wonderful dinners with family and friends. I love the French kingwood bureau plat from the drawing room, where on many an afternoon, I have leafed through the works of Caravaggio. The Steinway mahogany grand piano has provided great enjoyment to us all, and the George III mahogany breakfront bookcase from the study was always filled with volumes of stories of life from past centuries.”

Day explained how she had gone about furnishing the stately home: “We purchased Alderley House in 2009, and having restored it back to a single residence, we put together the collection from pieces which were either inherited or purchased from individuals such as Henrietta Spencer Churchill in Woodstock, Thomas Goode in Mayfair, and individuals who sourced specific items for us from Europe. For example, the majority of the French beds, walnut armchairs, and mahogany bedside tables came in from France. Fabrics were selected for the sofas and chairs from Scalamandre and Colefax & Fowler.

The Principal Contents of Alderley House is the latest in a series of successful single-owner country house contents sales conducted in Stansted Mountfitchet. Sworders sold the principal contents of North Mymms Park, Hertfordshire, in April last year for £1.75 million ($2.19 million).

Click to view the catalog for Sworders’ sale of property from Alderley House.

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