Nearly 50 years after his death, the collection of the distinguished architect and taste arbiter Sir Albert Richardson will be auctioned at Christie’s, King Street, London SW1 on September 18-19. His grandson, Simon Houfe, had intended that Avenue House, Sir Albert’s home in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, which was dubbed the ‘country Soane Museum’, and its idiosyncratic contents should be left to the nation.

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However, he writes in the catalogue: ‘Seven years of negotiations with the National Trust proved fruitless and futile and with regret I decided to put it on the market.’ Mr Houfe remembers his grandfather, a president of the Royal Academy, as having plenty of ‘humour and bonhomie’ but also some Spartan habits-he loathed bank holidays and wouldn’t allow the house to be heated in winter.

The sale of some 650 lots is compelling. There’s everything from Old Masters and watercolours to a George lll bust by Turnerelli, clocks, furniture, musical instruments, walking canes and vintage clothing. The auction is expected to realise in excess of £4 million (www.christies.com).

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