Cash In Chiswick House's Attic

Sotheby's to hold unique auction of property from Devonshire family homes

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This autumn Sotheby’s will hold a once-in-a-lifetime sale of property from a number of the Devonshire's family homes including Chiswick House.

The Attic Sale - a three-day auction – will have in it all the ingredients of the quintessential attic sale: an Aladdin’s cave of items at all price levels (estimates range from £20 to £200,000), each one with its own story to tell.

Highlighted items are included in the sale wealth of fine, rare architectural fixtures and fittings, the existence of which had been obscured by time. Discovered beneath layers of dust, these magnificent pieces – handsomely carved fireplaces, architraves, doors and shutters - were once part of the fabric of the many great houses that have featured in the Devonshire family’s extraordinary history, including Chiswick House, Chatsworth, Hardwick Hall, Lismore Castle, Compton Place, Bolton Abbey and, most of all, their palatial London residence, Devonshire House, on Piccadilly - for centuries the centre of London’s social, political and cultural elite.

Estimated to realise a sum in the region of £2.5 million, the sale will comprise some 20,000 objects in around 1,400 lots. Together they allow for a journey from the 16th century to the present day, bringing to life both the places and the people that have defined this extraordinary family through the generations.

The sale will be on view in situ at “the most pleasant garden and most beautiful palace in the world” (Daniel Defoe), 1st-4th October, prior to the auction on 5th-7th October.

Speaking of the sale, the Duke of Devonshire said, “When we moved into Chatsworth several years ago we found the attics filled with the contents of other family homes from generations past. With Sotheby’s, we embarked on the lengthy process of selecting a group of items for sale that would allow us to create much–needed space in several rooms throughout the house.

"Like those who will attend the exhibition in October, I have had the pleasure of stepping back in time - revisiting the history of my family through these artefacts and seeing treasures from Devonshire House that have been hidden for nearly a century. The proceeds will be used to further some projects both at Chatsworth and on our other Estates which we are delighted that this sale of items from the Attics will accelerate.”

The sale will take place at Chatsworth. Certain items in the sale and further details about the sale can be found online at

August 12, 2010