London - The Contents of Glyn Cywarch – The Property of Lord Harlech Sale at Bonhams today (29 March) earned the rare accolade of 'white glove' status – i.e. every one of the 531 lots was sold. At the end of a marathon 10-hour auction, the sale total was £2,599,038 – more than two and a half times the pre-sale estimate.
• An important, newly discovered portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts, court painter to Elizabeth I, that achieved £269,000 against an estimate of £60,000-80,000. The portrait, painted in 1597, portrays Ellen Maurice, a prominent Welsh heiress and Harlech ancestor, whose pearls and jewellery are worth the equivalent of one million pounds in today's market.
• The Kennedy-Harlech Papers – the heartfelt personal letters between Jackie Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, sold in the room to a private buyer for £100,000.
• Two remarkable Elizabeth I joined oak three-tier buffets, circa 1580-1600, that made £140,500 against an estimate of £35,000-45,000.
• Irish artist Daniel Quigley's portrait of The Godolphin Arabian, one of three Eastern stallions from which all modern racehorses descend, which made over five times its estimate, selling for £100,000.
• A 1936 Rapier 10Hp Tourer, a rare British sports car, one of only 300 built that sold for £31,500, having been estimated at £20,000-25,000.
The sale featured 531 items ranging from important furniture, Old Master paintings, a historic library, antique jewellery, silver and works of art and even a vintage motor car and motorcycle.
The sale was held to raise funds for the restoration of Glyn Cywarch (known as Glyn) which Jasset, 7th Lord Harlech inherited on the death of his father in February 2016.
Bonhams UK Deputy Chairman, Harvey Cammell said, "A white glove 100% sold auction is an extremely rare event, and we are delighted with the result. The Harlech sale had everything one could wish for in a Country House sale. Bonhams made two hugely important discoveries which have generated international interest: the historic Kennedy-Harlech letters which provided new insights into the life of one of the most famous figures of the second half of the 20th century, and the rare Elizabethan portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts, court painter to Elizabeth I. With Elizabethan oak furniture of the highest quality, an important library of antiquarian books, and even a barn-find classic Lagonda motor car, the auction's success demonstrates the global appeal of British Country House single owner collection."
The Contents of Glyn Cywarch – The Property of Lord Harlech
Bonhams, New Bond Street, London
Wednesday 29 March 2017
Specialist: Harvey Cammell, Bonhams Deputy Chairman UK
For further information: email email@example.com.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Harlech family
The Ormsby Gores are one of Britain's most renowned aristocratic families. The title 'Baron Harlech' was created in 1876 for the Conservative politician John Ormsby Gore. The family have been in possession of their 4,200-acre estate in Glyn Cywarch, near Harlech, since the 19th century, and by marriage since the 16th century. The house was inherited by Jasset Ormsby Gore, the 7th Baron, earlier this year. Jasset is a successful filmmaker who now plans to devote his attention to the restoration of Glyn Cywarch.
Glyn Cywarch is a Grade II*-listed estate in Talsarnau, Gwynedd, Wales, with beginnings as early as the 156h century, when it belonged to the Wynn family. The house passed by marriage to the Owen family and came, again by marriage into the possession of the Ormsby, and later Ormsby Gore family in the 19th century, when it was restored and developed. An ambitious gentry house of renaissance character built in Welsh stone with a slate roof, the interior boasts striking original 17th century detail, including fine Jacobean features, spectacular panelling, and opulent fireplaces. It is set in 4,200 acres of rolling grounds.
The Kennedy-Harlech Papers: sold for £100,000
Heartfelt personal letters from Jackie Kennedy to David Ormsby Gore (the 5th Lord Harlech), Britain's Ambassador in the USA during the Kennedy Presidency sold for £100,000. They reveal for the first time that Ormsby Gore proposed marriage to Jackie Kennedy, why she turned him down and why, shortly afterwards, she married Aristotle Onassis.
The letters form part of a cache of papers that have been locked away unseen in two despatch boxes at Glyn Cywarch, the Harlech family house, since Lord Harlech's death in 1985, including personal correspondence from President Kennedy and from British Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Wilson.
Bonhams Head of Fine Books and Manuscripts in the UK, Matthew Haley said, "For decades, biographers have speculated on the precise relationship between Jackie Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore. These letters now show without doubt how close they came to marriage and why Jackie decided to marry Onassis instead. The correspondence had been sitting in two official red Government despatch boxes for more than 40 years. The keys were nowhere to be found and in the end we had to call a locksmith to slice through the locks. It was one of those astonishing moments when you can't quite believe what you're seeing."
The 18 handwritten and one typed letters from Jackie Kennedy to David Ormsby Gore, 5th Lord Harlech, cover her days as First Lady from the assassination of President Kennedy until her marriage to Onassis in October 1968. They show a warm and very close relationship which deepened during 1967 after the tragic death in a car accident of Lord Harlech's wife, Sissy, in May of that year. At the time, Jackie Kennedy wrote to him movingly, "Your last letter was such a cri de coeur of loneliness – I would do anything to take that anguish from you – You want to patch the wounds & match the loose pairs – but you can't because your life won't turn out that way."
During the following months, the two spent an increasing amount of time together, often on private holidays, and in February 1968 Harlech proposed marriage. Among the newly discovered documents is a draft of his wounded response to her rejection of the proposal.
"All the pathetic plans I had brought with me for visits to Cyrenaica, holidays near one another and a whole variety of solutions to our marriage problem, including one for a secret marriage this summer – plans which I saw us eagerly discussing, calmly and with complete frankness as we did at the Cape and in Cambodia for the next wonderful ten days – all had become irrelevant trash to be thrown away within a few hours of my landing in New York. As for your photograph I weep when I look at it. Why do such agonising things have to happen? Where was the need for it? I have tried for hours and hours to understand your explanation and I suppose I do in a way, without agreeing with it; but what I find unbearable and in a way, dearest Jackie, untrue is that you could come to such a categorical conclusion..."
Her reply to him, is tender and soothing. "We have known so much & shared & lost so much together – Even if it isn't the way you wish now – I hope that bond of love and pain will never be cut... You are like my beloved beloved brother – and mentor – and the only original spirit I know – as you were to Jack."
In June of that year Robert Kennedy was assassinated while seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the Presidency. Harlech was one of the pall bearers at the funeral. Shortly after the suppression of the Prague Spring by Soviet Forces in August, Jackie wrote to Harlech lamenting the state of the world, "I thought your speech about Czechoslovakia so beautiful – it brought tears to my eyes – Reading it you cant believe that the same things are being said – or rather done – all over again – and that as before, it is England who is the bravest... Ones private despair is so trivial now – because wherever you look there is nothing to not despair over – I keep thinking of what Jack used to say – 'that every man can make a difference & that every man should try."
In the final letter written from Aristotle Onassis's yacht Christina, Jackie tries to explain why she had married the billionaire Greek shipping magnate, "You and I have shared so many lives and deaths and hopes and pain – we will share them forever and be forever bound together by them... If ever I can find some healing and some comfort – it has to be with someone who is not a part of all my world of past and pain – I can find that now – if the world will let us."
Jasset, Lord Harlech, the grandson of David Ormsby Gore, said "Though he sadly passed away before I was born, I knew even from an early age that my grandfather had been British Ambassador to the United States. There is much history that binds the Kennedys and the Ormsby Gores together. The more I read or was told about David by other relatives, the more I wanted to know. He seems to have been a most insightful and intelligent man. He had a career spanning military service, politics and diplomacy; he set up his own television station and was chairman of the British Board of Film Classification; all impressive in their own right, but I am told his greatest attributes were his thoughtfulness, charm, and sense of morality."
Portrait of Ellen Maurice by Marcus Gheeraerts sold for £269,000
A previously undiscovered Elizabethan portrait attributed to Elizabeth I's own portrait painter, found by Bonhams specialists in the Collection of Lord Harlech sold for £269,000. Ellen Maurice (1578-1626), the current Lord Harlech's ancestor, was a prominent Welsh heiress and she is depicted wearing strings of costly pearls said by Bonhams jewellery specialists to be worth more than a million pounds in today's money.
Ellen's husband John Owen, was closely connected to Elizabeth I's court and was secretary to her infamous spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham.
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, who was the leading painter at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I, is most famous for the Ditchley Portrait of Elizabeth I, now in the National Portrait Gallery. Bonhams specialists have worked with the National Portrait Gallery and the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art at Yale to confirm this important attribution by Bonhams.
Bonhams' Head of Old Master Paintings, Andrew McKenzie, said, "This remarkable portrait is in untouched condition and demonstrates the attributes that made Gheeraerts the premier painter in the late-Elizabethan and early-Jacobean court. The beautiful drawing, soft modelling and skillful manipulation of paint have great similarities to the famous "Rainbow Portrait" of Elizabeth I at Hatfield House which has been attributed to Gheeraerts."