Millionaire financier's treasure trove of artefacts expected to raise £500,000 at auction


The family of a millionaire financier are selling the contents of one of the most beautiful stately homes in Britain in a unique auction.

Dewlish House in Dorset has just been sold for only the second time in its 300 year history and now its treasures are coming onto the market.

The landmark auction, which is on view at the house by appointment only, is expected to raise well over £500,000 and includes important artefacts unseen for generations.

Highlights include an exceptionally rare oak bed dating from the reign of King Henry VIII and documented in the standard reference work ‘The Dictionary of English Furniture’.

The family of millionaire financier Anthony Boyden are selling the contents of one of the most beautiful stately homes in Britain (pictured) in a unique auction

The family of millionaire financier Anthony Boyden are selling the contents of one of the most beautiful stately homes in Britain (pictured) in a unique auction

Dewlish House in Dorset (pictured) has just been sold for only the second time in its 300 year history and now its treasures are coming onto the market

Dewlish House in Dorset (pictured) has just been sold for only the second time in its 300 year history and now its treasures are coming onto the market

The landmark auction, which is on view at the house by appointment only, is expected to raise well over £500,000 and includes important artefacts unseen for generations. Pictured: A rare oak bed frame which dates back to the reign of King Henry VIII and is documented in 'The Dictionary of English Furniture'

The landmark auction, which is on view at the house by appointment only, is expected to raise well over £500,000 and includes important artefacts unseen for generations. Pictured: A rare oak bed frame which dates back to the reign of King Henry VIII and is documented in ‘The Dictionary of English Furniture’

The incredibly rare oak bed frame was hand carved, with bold chevrons patterned on the bed posts, while lozenges have been carved into the headboard

The incredibly rare oak bed frame was hand carved, with bold chevrons patterned on the bed posts, while lozenges have been carved into the headboard

This George III mahogany rent table with a leather-lined hexagonal top over six drawers is also being auctioned off and has been valued at £15,000

This George III mahogany rent table with a leather-lined hexagonal top over six drawers is also being auctioned off and has been valued at £15,000

A Queen Anne mirror which is valued at around £30,000

The interior of one of the rooms in the stately home

The entire contents of Dewlish House is set to be auctioned off by the financier’s family following his death in 2013. Pictured: A Queen Anne mirror (left) which is valued at around £30,000 and the interior of one of the rooms in the stately home (right)

The bed, which has carved bedposts and headboard, is tipped to sell for £25,000.

In the drawing room a spectacular Queen Anne mirror similar to one in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum is estimated at £30,000.

An important 19th century Empire gilt chandelier is expected to fetch £20,000 and a 17th century painting of the Palace of Whitehall is tipped to sell for £30,000.

Other items include paintings, vintage port, a George III fire grate, carriage clocks and Tudor carved panels.

Grade I listed Dewlish House was built in 1702 in the village of Dewlish, Dorset, in the countryside that writer Thomas Hardy immortalised in his novels.

It was owned for two centuries by the Michel family and their descendants, including Sir John Michel, a notable soldier who served in the Crimean War, defeated mutineers in Bombay, took part in the occupation of Pekin and became a Field Marshal. 

This room inside Dewlish Hall contains a £30,000 Hendrick Danckerts painting 'View of Whitehall', a £20,000 Empire Chandalier, a pair of £18,000 George III mahogany serpentine chests of drawers, a £400 Victorian conversation settee and a £1,000 George III neo-classical fire grate

This room inside Dewlish Hall contains a £30,000 Hendrick Danckerts painting ‘View of Whitehall’, a £20,000 Empire Chandalier, a pair of £18,000 George III mahogany serpentine chests of drawers, a £400 Victorian conversation settee and a £1,000 George III neo-classical fire grate

This chandalier, valued at around £20,000 was originally created in 1820 and has been included in the auction

This chandalier, valued at around £20,000 was originally created in 1820 and has been included in the auction

Also found within the walls of Dewlish House is this portrait of William craven, the sixth Baron Craven, by Thomas Beach, which is expected to sell for £6,000

Also found within the walls of Dewlish House is this portrait of William craven, the sixth Baron Craven, by Thomas Beach, which is expected to sell for £6,000

This pair of George III mahogany serpentine chests of drawers are expected to fetch as much as £18,000 when they go up for auction

This pair of George III mahogany serpentine chests of drawers are expected to fetch as much as £18,000 when they go up for auction

The house was commandeered by the US Marines in the run-up to the D-Day landings in 1944.

By the 1960s it was largely derelict and looked likely to be demolished when entrepreneur Anthony Boyden bought and saved the property in 1962.

Boyden was a successful financier and keen sailor; he was the last Brit to make it to the finals of the America’s Cup in 1964 with his yacht Sovereign.

He died aged 85 in 2013 and the house was sold by his family last year for £10m.

The auction has important items from other collections including portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller and an exceptional George III painted cabinet.

An imposing painting of a Mediterranean harbour by the important 18th century French artist known as Le Croix de Marseilles is estimated at £40,000 but may prove to be the most expensive lot in the auction as paintings by the artist have sold at auction for over £250,000.

This finely sculpted George III table has been valued at around £30,000 and is among the contents of Dewlish House which are being sold off by the family of millionaire financier Anthony Boyden

This finely sculpted George III table has been valued at around £30,000 and is among the contents of Dewlish House which are being sold off by the family of millionaire financier Anthony Boyden

This Charles-Francois Grenier de La Croix painting from the 1700s of Mediterranean Harbour Scene At Sunset is estimated to be worth around £40,000

This Charles-Francois Grenier de La Croix painting from the 1700s of Mediterranean Harbour Scene At Sunset is estimated to be worth around £40,000

While this Hendrick Danckerts painting, titled View of Whitehall, has an estimated value of around £30,000

While this Hendrick Danckerts painting, titled View of Whitehall, has an estimated value of around £30,000

This Elizabeth I Oak refectory table has an estimated value of £40,000 and is included in the mass contents auction from Dewlish House

This Elizabeth I Oak refectory table has an estimated value of £40,000 and is included in the mass contents auction from Dewlish House

This hand-painted George III cabinet has been valued at around £40,000 and is set to be sold off at an auction which Garry Butt, of Duke's Auctioneers, has described as 'unrepeatable'

This hand-painted George III cabinet has been valued at around £40,000 and is set to be sold off at an auction which Garry Butt, of Duke’s Auctioneers, has described as ‘unrepeatable’

Garry Batt, of Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester, described the auction as ‘an unrepeatable opportunity to attend a good old fashioned house sale with everything on offer from historic portraits to china from the kitchen cupboards’.

He said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to deal with the contents of such an exceptionally beautiful house.

‘Tony Boyden was buying on the London art market in the 1960s and ’70s when large volumes of exceptional material were available.

‘The William Kent gilt wood side table with marble top is testament to his eye for quality and great design.’

Guy Schwinge, from Duke’s, added: ‘Early beds dating from the late 15th and early 16th century are like hen’s teeth and this one has the added appeal of having been owned by Maxwell Joseph, one of the most famous business tycoons of the 20th century.’

The auction will take place on April 15.

The history of Dewlish House 

Dewlish House was built in the Queen Anne/Georgian style in 1702, by Thomas Skinner, on the site of a Roman villa. The Grade I listed property is set in 134 acres of picturesque parkland with farmland, forests, and a private lake.

Skinner died in 1756 and local legend claims that his ghost haunts the nearby Winterborne Stickland church where he was buried. 

The elegant 12,800 square foot house features 6-bedroom, 6-bathrooms, and 6 elegant reception rooms. Amenities include a swimming pool and tennis court.

The estate includes several outbuildings, stables, and 2 cottages. 

Dewlish House was built in the village of Dewlish, Dorset, in the countryside that writer Thomas Hardy immortalised in his novels.

It was owned for two centuries by the Michel family and their descendants, including Sir John Michel, a notable soldier who served in the Crimean War, defeated mutineers in Bombay, took part in the occupation of Pekin and became a Field Marshal. 

At some point during the 20th century an 18th-19th century service wing was removed and demolished from the property which underwent a number of cosmetic changes during this time. 

The house was commandeered by the US Marines in the run-up to the D-Day landings in 1944.

By the 1960s it was largely derelict and looked likely to be demolished when entrepreneur Anthony Boyden bought and saved the property in 1962.

This was the first time in the property’s 300-year history that it had been sold.

Boyden was a successful financier and keen sailor; he was the last Brit to make it to the finals of the America’s Cup in 1964 with his yacht Sovereign.

He died aged 85 in 2013 and the house was sold by his family last year for £10m.

Throughout the time that Dewlish House has been owned by the Boyden family, it has undergone continuous repairs and improvement works to maintain its grandeur.

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