Highland Fling
The Dunrobin Attic Sale at Bonhams Edinburgh April 2021

The sale of the content of the attics and cellars at Dunrobin Castle, family seat of the 25th Earl of Sutherland, at Bonhams Edinburgh on Tuesday 20 April 2021 promises to be one of the highlights of the auction year in the UK.

Dunrobin Castle is a jewel in the crown of Scottish ancestral houses, and a decluttering of its attics and cellars has yielded treasures ranging from paintings, portraits and historic photographs to picture frames, marble sculptures, crested dinner services, and an array of fascinating objects from the castle's kitchen. Estimates have been set at a level that will enable as many people to take part as possible and range from £8,000-12,000 for a Portrait of the Duke of Brunswick by the Dutch Golden Age portraitist Jan van Ravesteyn, and £8,000-10,000 for a pair of Scottish all-metal flintlock belt pistols made by Alexander Campbell of Doune, in the third quarter of the 18th century, to £80-120 for a collection of pewter sugar moulds.

Writing in the winter edition of Bonhams Magazine, the architectural writer and author of Highland Retreats; the Architecture and Interiors of Scotland's Romantic North, Mary Miers gives a flavour of the objects in the sale: "They represent a fascinating time capsule of domestic operations on a Downton Abbey scale. Maids' bedrooms tucked into the eaves of the earlier ranges had been reconfigured to become porcelain stores, with rows of footbaths, floral jugs and washbasins, chamber pots and piles of crested dinner services, all jostling for space with meat domes, tiered oyster holders and untold numbers of copper vessels and glass carafes. The forthcoming Dunrobin Attic Sale offers an opportunity to own some of these glorious objects – tangible reminders of an astonishing château in the wilds that encapsulates stirring history, unbridled wealth and the romanticism of the Highlands."

Charlie Thomas, Director of House Sales, commented: "The Dunrobin Attic Sale provides a glorious opportunity to purchase a piece of history from one of Scotland's grandest and most historic castles. Many of the items have been hidden away in Dunrobin Castle for generations and never been seen on the open market before. They provide a wonderful snapshot of what it was like to live both upstairs – and downstairs – in the Highlands' premier ducal palace."

Managing Director of Bonhams in Scotland, Charles Graham-Campbell said: "Attic sales are always very popular, and the Dunrobin Attic Sale has everything – great provenance, fascinating items and of course a rare glimpse into a way of life, now long vanished. I am sure that many members of Clan Sutherland around the world and indeed ex-patriot Scots everywhere will be eager to take part in the sale. We are very much looking forward to what promises to be the highlight of our spring season."

The sale will be previewed in London and Edinburgh on the following dates:

London – 101 New Bond Street, Sunday 28 March – Thursday 1 April inclusive. A selection of key lots will be featured.

Edinburgh – 22 Queen Street, Tuesday 13 April – Tuesday 20 April inclusive. The sale in its entirety will be on view.


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