Auction of stately home's china and contents expected to raise £1.5m
The contents of a Cornish stately home, which includes one of the country's most important collections of ceramics, are to be go under the hammer.
Trelissick House, near Truro, is the former home of Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, an important figure in finance in the 19th century who became one of Britain's most distinguished collectors.
Its contents will be sold in 750 lots by Bonhams in July in a sale expected to realise between £1 million and £1.5 million.
William Copeland, the grandson of Mr Cunliffe's stepdaughter, who inherited the magnificent house, said the time was right for the sale.
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"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," he said.
Roger Tappin, regional director for Cornwall at the auction house, said the sale of so many wonderful art works, which will take place at Trelissick, promised to be a momentous event. "The house is synonymous with Cornwall and this sale will be a landmark event for 2013," he said. "The on-site auction gives everyone in Cornwall who has visited and loved Trelissick a chance to bid on a piece of Cornish history."
The contents of the house on the banks of the Fal Estuary include the Spode-Copeland Collection of ceramics.
In scope, scale and importance, the collection is unrivalled in private hands and is said to be 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 200 years.
The sale will include everything expected from the contents of an English stately home – from fine English and French furniture to Chinese porcelain, silver, wine, books, and paintings.
The house has a distinguished history and was the former home of Mr Cunliffe, who served 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.
Mr Cunliffe was said to have eclectic tastes but always had a great eye for quality and used his ever expanding collection of antiques to decorate his various homes, which included properties at plush Eaton Square in London and the neo-classical country house near Truro.
When he died in 1937, the major part of his vast collection of Renaissance bronzes, Chinese ceramics, enamels, furniture and paintings, was bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
The Trelissick Estate was left to his stepdaughter, Ida Copeland, whose husband, Ronald, was the president of Copeland and Spode, the well-known English ceramics company based at Stoke-on-Trent.
Mrs Copeland was famous in her own right and in 1931 stood successfully against British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley, winning the seat as Conservative MP for Stoke, which she held until 1935.
In 1955, she gave 376 acres of Trelissick gardens, parkland and woods to the National Trust, retaining use of the house itself for the Copeland family.