Lord Nelson chimneypiece auction makes $38,700 in London
A chimneypiece from Lord Nelson's country home sold at Bonhams on June 13
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Thursday 14 June 2012
A chimneypiece, once employed in Lord Nelson's home, has sold for £25,000 at a Bonhams auction in London, in the middle of its £20,000-30,000 estimate.
The white marble Egypto-Roman revival chimneypiece came from Merton Place, the country home that Nelson bought in 1801 for himself and his mistress, Lady Hamilton.
Nelson spent his leave at the residence, part of modern-day south London, and had plans to retire there once his seafaring days came to an end.
Nelson often wrote of his plans to improve Merton Place, and it is thought that the early 18th century chimneypiece was one of his earliest modifications.
The admiral died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Lady Hamilton's attempt to preserve Merton Place as a tribute to him ran into financial difficulties, and she was forced to sell the house and its contents.
The director of Bonhams' furniture department, Fergus Lyons, said that the highly sculptural chimneypiece "epitomises the zenith of Regency style and is one of only a few recorded examples of its kind."
The sale is a clear indication of the power that artefacts connected with the homes of historical figures have with collectors. We have pieces of wallpaper from the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned on offer to you right now.
It is also confirmation of the prestige of the Nelson name. Signed letters by Nelson have increased in value from £1,800 ($2,835) in 2000 to £9,500 ($14,970) in 2011, at a rate of 16.33% pa.
We have a signed handwritten note from Nelson in stock right now, valued at £8,500 ($13,410), £1,000 below the index listing.
The Fine English Furniture and Works of Art sale on June 13 also starred a George III-era commode attributed to John Cobb, which sold for £175,250.
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