See some of Duchess's possessions which sold for Â£1.7million
Hundreds of possessions which belonged to the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire have sold at auction for more than Â£1.7million.
The Duchess, who was the last of the well-known Mitford sisters and lived at Chatsworth House, died aged 94 in 2014.
More than 450 objects from her personal collection – including Elvis Presley memorabilia, a rare signed copy of Brideshead Revisited and charming hen-related models – went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London earlier this month.
The pre-sale estimate for the entire collection was between £500,000 and £700,000. But the sale attracted huge interest and the final total was £1,777,838.
A statement from the Duchess’s family said: “Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, was always interested in and excited by the auction process so we can guess how much she would have enjoyed the sale.
“It was very pleasing to see her personal collection received so warmly at Sotheby’s.
“She would have loved the idea that many people from all over the world will now enjoy some of the pieces she lived with.
“We have been hugely impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of the team at Sotheby’s and are very grateful for their efforts on our behalf.”
Henry Wyndham, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, was auctioneer for much of the sale.
He said: “Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, represented the last of a special era.
“I can’t think of anyone left who has quite the same charisma.
“She enjoyed the friendship of some of the most celebrated and interesting figures of the 20th Century.
“She knew the world and everyone knew her.
“It was wonderful, but perhaps unsurprising, to see her collection received so rapturously.
“I am sure the Duchess would have been quietly amused by the whole event – but most of all would have been pleased to see her belongings find new homes where they’ll certainly be treasured.”
The youngest of the Mitford sisters, the Duchess became one of the most-loved figures of the 20th Century.
For half a century the chatelaine of Chatsworth, one of England’s greatest stately homes, she was an instinctive entrepreneur, patron of the arts, author, countrywoman and – famously – a great poultry enthusiast.
Her friends included President Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Lucian Freud, Evelyn Waugh, Alan Bennett, members of The Royal Family, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and Cecil Beaton.