Bonhams Edinburgh to sell contents of Hensol, Castle Douglas

Bonhams is to sell the contents of Hensol, an historic Category A listed mansion nestling in the beautiful surroundings of Mossdale, Castle Douglas. The sale will take place over two days at Bonhams, 22 Queen Street Edinburgh on 24 and 25 October.

The house, built in 1822 in the "Tudor Gothic" style, was once home to the famous big game hunter Dick Cuninghame whose clients included President Roosevelt, the future George V and the King of Sweden. Many souvenirs of his early 20th century African adventures feature in the sale including an evocative archive of photographs and memorabilia conjuring up the lost world of Rider Haggard novels. It is estimated at £5,000-7,000.

Successive generations of owners have filled Hensol with a wealth of fascinating, historic and valuable objects. One of the finest items in the sale is a work by the influential Scottish artist, Stanley Cursiter who played a major role in the founding of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Lerwick in the mist, estimated at £15,000 - £20,000, reflects the painter's lifelong love of the sea and of the Scottish Islands.

A very rare Roman banded alabaster trapezophoros terminal dating from the Third Century A.D. is valued at £8,000 - £12,000. The piece is in the form of a dramatic lion's head with carved and drilled sunken eyes. In mid-roar and revealing a marvellous full set of teeth, it has stood guard at Hensol for over a century.

Other major pieces to be auctioned include Summer flowers in a blue and white vase by Sir William George Gillies, estimated at £10,000-15,000 and a first edition of Joseph Hooker's stunning illustrations of Himalayan Plants, published in 1855 at £4,000 – 6,000.

Miranda Grant, Managing Director of Bonhams said, "Hensol is a treasure trove. It has a fantastic history and wonderful objects reflecting the different tastes and interests of its occupants and giving a real sense of how life was lived in a large country house over the past 200 years. It's an honour to be entrusted with this sale."

Hensol is being sold following the death of Lady Henderson who lived there with her husband for over half a century.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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