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Bungay furniture to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 10:21 22 October 2010

FURNITURE from two country houses near Bungay is to go under the hammer next month.

A set of six George III armchairs which passed by descent through the Windham, Dalling and Meade families at Earsham Hall are among the highlights of Bonhams fine English furniture and works of art sale on November 3.

The ochre and red painted armchairs are in the gothic style and are expected to fetch between £6,000 and £8,000.

Also going under the hammer is an early George III card table which is expected to fetch between £4,000 and £6,000 and an escritoire (writing desk) which is expected to sell for a similar amount.

Col William Windham (1673-1730) bought Earsham Hall and the estate in around 1720.

It passed to his son William Windham (1708-1789), who was married to Mary, Countess of Deloraine and was Comptroller of the Household of HRH Duke of Cumberland.

They were childless so the hall passed to a nephew, Joseph Windham-Bowyer (1739-1810), a distinguished scholar and antiquary.

He and his wife being childless the estate passed to the grandson of the Comptroller’s sister, Catherine who added colour to the family history by eloping with the son of a local apothecary.

This grandson was Sir William Windham Dalling, Bart (1775-1864) whose father had been governor of Jamaica and commander in chief at Madras.

Sir William died without issue, so the hall passed to his nephew, John Meade (1812-1886), and from then down the Meade line to the current owners. Earsham Hall was finally sold in the 1970s.

A large George III steel fire grate, commissioned by Sir Robert Shafto Adair (1862-1949) for Flixton Hall, near Bungay, is also being auctioned off and is expected to fetch between £3,000 and £5,000.

The fire grate was given to Oliver Bradbury, a bloodstock dealer, by Lady Shafto Adair in 1943, and purchased from him by the present owner in 1976.

Sir Robert Shafto Adair, 5th Baronet (1862-1949) inherited the estate from his brother in 1915.

Sir Robert was a barrister, a patron of the arts and a director of the Royal Academy of Music. He married Mary Bosanquet in 1890. In 1948, the whole Flixton Estate of 2,970 acres was offered for sale. The family retained ownership of Flixton Hall and Flixton Park. After his death Sir Robert was succeeded by his only son, Major-General Sir Allan Adair.

General Adair was forced to sell the estate owing to heavy death duties levied on his father’s estate.

In 1950 the fine contents of Flixton Hall were offered for sale. Flixton Hall was sold privately to a speculator and was demolished in June 1952.

l For more information about the sale visit www.bonhams. com

l Pictured are a George III mahogany, satinwood, tulipwood, ebony, sycamore, purpleheart and marquetry escritoire in the manner of Ince and Mayhew; and a George III steel fire grate of large size, in the Adam Style.

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