The Trustees of the Northumberland Estates will this year sell part of their private art collection throughout the coming year at a number of sales at Sotheby’s, London. The collection is currently held at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and Syon House in west London.
In 2012 and 2013, heavy rain caused a culvert owned by the Duke to collapse, leading to a land slip that left a nearby block of flats in Newburn, Newcastle, in urgent need of restoration.
Repairs have cost £12 million, and have been drawn from funds intended for the upkeep of its historic buildings.
Proceeds from the sales will allow for investment in the estates’ long-term heritage projects to continue.
Altogether, 80 lots will be sold, with an estimated value of £15 million. The works include Roman sculpture, Old Masters, rare books and manuscripts, as well as works from Southeast Asia and the Islamic world.
Henry Wyndham, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, commented, ‘While the pieces to be sold are all of enormous interest and beauty, they have been carefully selected so as to ensure the overall integrity of the Northumberland collection remains intact.’
Highlights to be sold include a c. 41–54 A.D marble statue of Aphrodite; Jan Brueghel the Elder’s The Garden of Eden (1613), a William Kent commode and two letters signed by Queen Elizabeth I.