Record-making Chatsworth sale

The Chatsworth attic sale – the largest staged since 1977 – began this morning at 10.30am, and – at barely a sixth of the way through – has already surpassed the pre-sale estimate (£2.5 million for the entire auction) with the total currently standing at £3 million.

Some 400 people are in attendance, and their enthusiasm, pitted against that of the 1,000 people bidding via the phones, live over the internet and through absentee bids, is driving prices well beyond expectations. The sale comprises some 20,000 objects in 1,400 lots, and is being staged in a 20,000 square foot marquee in the grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

The top lot thus far is a Magnificent George II Carved White Marble Chimneypiece designed by the masterful William Kent c. 1735, which sold for £565,250 – far above its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000.