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Bonhams to sell contents of Trelissick House, home of many outstanding works of art
Former home of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The contents of Trelissick House, former home of Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, one of Britain’s most distinguished collectors, will be sold by Bonhams on 23-24 July this year. The sale will comprise approximately 750 lots and is estimated to realise in the region of £1m - £1.5m. The majority of the items in the auction are being sold without reserve.

The contents of Trelissick House, subsequently owned by the Copeland family and including the Spode-Copeland Collection of ceramics, will be sold by Bonhams on-site as a single owner house sale. In scope, scale and importance, the collection of Spode is unrivalled in private hands and is comparable only to the world-renowned Spode Museum in Stoke-on-Trent. Many pieces appear in the standard reference books on Spode and Copeland and the entire collection tells the complete story of the Copelands and their pottery manufacture over the last two hundred years.

Held in the picturesque setting of Trelissick House on the banks of the Fal Estuary, the auction will be a major event in Bonhams summer schedule of sales. It will include everything you would expect from the contents of an English stately home - from fine English and French furniture to Chinese porcelain, silver, wine, books, and paintings which includes a collection of John Frederick Herring Snr paintings originally commissioned by the Copeland family in the 19th century.

Leonard Daneham Cunliffe had a distinguished career as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, co-founder of the merchant bank Cunliffe Brothers, Director of the Hudson Bay Company and a major investor in Harrods. Cunliffe, whose tastes were eclectic, always had a great eye for quality, and used his ever expanding collection of antiques to decorate his various homes, which included properties at 109 Eaton Square and a neo-classical country house, Trelissick House, near Truro. When Cunliffe died in 1937, the major part of his vast collection of Renaissance bronzes, Chinese ceramics, Limoges enamels, furniture and paintings, was bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The Trelissick Estate was left to his stepdaughter, Ida Copeland.

Ida’s husband, Ronald, was the president of Copeland and Spode, the well-known English ceramics company based at Stoke-on-Trent. In 1931, Ida stood successfully against Sir Oswald Mosely and won the seat as Conservative MP for Stoke, which she held until 1935. In 1955 Ida gave 376 acres of Trelissick gardens, parkland and woods to the National Trust, retaining use of the house itself for the Copeland family.

Trelissick House has remained the family home of the Copelands, and one of Ida’s grandsons, William Copeland, still lives in the house with his family.

Roger Tappin, Bonhams Regional Director for Cornwall, comments: “We are delighted to have secured the sale of the contents of Trelissick House, the repository of so many wonderful art works over the years. The house is synonymous with Cornwall and this sale will be a landmark event for 2013. The on-site auction gives everyone in Cornwall who has visited and loved Trelissick a chance to bid on a piece of Cornish history.”

William Copeland adds: “We have been guardians of these fine works for a number of years and now that we are moving locally it is time to pass them on for others to enjoy. We chose Bonhams to handle this sale because of their unrivalled success in staging English country house sales, and their world class expertise in the field of fine English ceramics.”

Held over two days, the sale at Trelissick House provides a unique opportunity for Cornish collectors, as well as a global audience, to buy historic pictures, antiques and works of art.”

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