Castle Howard sells treasures to fund its upkeep

29 Mar 2015 @ 8.03 pm
| History

Old Masters and antique furniture from Castle Howard will go under the hammer as the great country house looks to raise millions of pounds for its upkeep.

The ten treasures could raise as much as £10 million at a sale by auction house Sotheby’s London this summer.

They are being offered for sale by Castle Howard trustees to pay for the continued conservation of the 300-year-old house.

Nicholas Howard said trustees had a responsibility to look after the estate which has been in his family’s ownership throughout its history.

If the sale helps to secure that heritage as the house moves into its fourth century then it will have achieved its goal.

To this end, we have selected for sale at Sotheby’s a small number of works which, while of great intrinsic interest, have been carefully chosen so as not to detract from the overall integrity of the collection.

Brother Simon Howard, who relinquished his role as chairman of the estate to Nicholas and his wife Victoria at the end of last year, agreed.

Running Castle Howard for the last 30 years has been an immense privilege.

Now, as a new chapter in its history opens, the sales that we are planning at Sotheby’s will make an important contribution to the long term future of the Castle Howard estate and collections.

‘One of the world’s finest collections’

Successive generations of the family have added to Castle Howard’s art collections which span two millennia.

Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe Henry Wyndham said they “rank among the finest private art collections in the world”.

“The carefully selected group of works to be auctioned this summer is testament to the taste of a series of enlightened art patrons,” he said.

Here are some of the works of art up for grabs at the Old Masters and Treasures sales on July 8.


A View of The Grand Canal by Bernardo Bellotto

Estimated price tag: £2.5-£3.5 million. One of the earliest and most important examples of works by Bellotto purchased by a British patron. Painted in 1738 when Bellotto was just 16 years old, at a time when he was working in the studio of his uncle Canaletto.

Italian pietre dure inlaid cabinets

Italian pietre dure inlaid cabinets

Estimated price tag: £700,000-­£1m. These highly prized cabinets were purchased in Rome in 1739, together with another pair which remains in the Castle Howard collection.

Altogether there are ten works in the sale. Portrait of a Boy (1801) by Bernardo Bellotto is described as the finest portrait by the artist, who was once a student of Rembrandt (est: £2-3million).

A portrait of King Henry VIII, from the studio of Hans Holbein, dating from 1542, the year when Catherine Howard was beheaded on the grounds of alleged adultery (est: £800,000-£1.2m).