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Countess of Snowden collection of sculpture, furniture, fine art and decorative objects up for auction


Countess of Snowden collection of sculpture, furniture, fine art and decorative objects up for auction

Dreweatts has been appointed to sell the private collection of Serena, Countess of Snowden…

A special auction will take place on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. The sale will include sculpture, furniture, fine art and decorative objects from many of the UK’s celebrated design figures, such as Robert Kime, David Mlinaric and Rita Konig.

Joe Robinson, Dreweatts Head of House Sales & Collections:

“Dreweatts are delighted present the Collection of Serena, Countess of Snowdon. The collection includes pieces supplied by many of the UK’s renowned design figures and companies such as Hugh Henry, David Mlinaric, Robert Kime and Rita Konig which all points towards a vibrant mise en scene, designed for comfort and good living.”

Among the highlights are historical Royal gifts, such as a charcoal work by Belgian artist Rik Wouters (1882-1916), titled Rue d’Amsterdam, which was a gift to H. R. H. Princess Margaret (1930-2002), by the King & Queen of Belgium on their visit to London in May 1963. The street scene carries an estimate of £4,000-£6,000 (lot 61). Three bottles of dry Riesling from the Rhine, Germany that are from Kensington palace, are believed to have been bottled for H. R. H. Princess Margaret for the Silver Jubilee in 1976. They carry an estimate of £30-£60 (lot 102).

A decorative boomerang curtain commissioned by Lady Cutler, the wife of the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler(1916-2002), for H.R.H. Princess Margaret, also features in the sale. The curtain was made by the members of the Embroiderers Guild of New South Wales in 1975 and comprises 54 individual panels by different members of the guild, all within ribbon borders. A panel on the reverse describes each embroidery and gives details of the embroiderer. It carries an estimate of £800-£1,200 (lot 162).

Other objects that have passed from H. R. H. Princess Margaret’s collection at Kensington Palace are her brown leather riding boots by Royal equestrian boot makers, Maxwell of London. Both H. R. H. Princess Margaret and H. R .H Queen Elizabeth II were keen riders all of their lives, having started riding lessons very young, with Horace and Sybil Smith at the internationally renowned Cadogan Riding School in Belgravia, London. The blocks are stamped: ‘H.R.H. Princess Margaret’ and are accompanied by cases and boot pulls, as well as a collection of riding crops. The group lot carries an estimate of £300-£500 (lot 4).

Among an array of sculpture in the sale is a bronze work titled:  Asian Rhino by Annette ‘Nettie’ Lynton Mason (b. 1953), the actress and producer, married to Nick Mason CBE, drummer and founder member of Pink Floyd. The couple support various charities, including the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust. It is thought that this animalier bronze was made to raise money for Rhino Rescue. Annette studied under the internationally acclaimed wildlife sculptor Mark Coreth (b. 1958) to complete the piece at the Cowdray Masterclass in 2004. The signed work carries an estimate of £800-£1,200 (lot 37).

Among the fine art in the sale, is a preliminary sketch of Prince Augustus Frederick, the 8th Duke of Sussex, for an oil painting now in the Royal Collection. The painting is currently hanging on the grand staircase at Buckingham Palace and was presented to Queen Victoria by the sitter. In pen and ink, the sketch carries an estimate of £500-£800 (lot 34).

Among many affordable items in the collection is an interesting study in watercolour and pencil for the Coronation Chair, which is an ancient wooden chair that British monarchs sit on during their coronations. It was commissioned in 1296 by King Edward I to hold the ‘Stone of Scone’, which he had captured from the Scots. The chair was named after Edward the Confessor and until 1997 it was held in his shrine at Westminster Abbey. The study carries an estimate of £100-£150 (lot 55).

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