Historical portrait collection from Norfolk estate sells for more than £83,000
Portraits of some of Britain's most famous historical figures have been sold for more than £83,000 at auction.
Originating from the historic West Acre High House, north of Swaffham, which is now owned by artist Anthony Gormley, the private collection hit the open market for the first time this week.
Within the collection were works by some of the prominent portrait painters of the 17th and 18th centuries, including Charles Jervas, Antoine-Francois Callet and Henry William Pickersgill.
The highlight of the collection was a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, by Jervas.
The picture is believed to date back to 1725 and had been painted as a gift for Walpole's sister Susan Hamond.
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It was sold for £28,000.
The portrait of Louis XVI of France by Callet, was painted in 1778 along with fifteen further versions. This item sold for £19,000.
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The final portrait of major interest was a painting of Viscountess Townshend of Raynham, Sir Robert Walpole's sister, also by Jervas. It made £4,400 at the auction.
This picture is one of at least three commissions of Lady Townshend from Jervas, one being shown at Strawberry Hill, the former home of Horace Walpole.
Lady Townshend is alleged to be the identity of 'The Brown Lady' of Raynham Hall, which supposedly haunts Houghton Hall and Sandringham House.
Brett Tryner, fine art associate at Cheffins, said: 'This is an historically important selection of pictures and portraits from one of Britain's greatest families.
'These pictures were fresh to the market and the prices paid today are reflective of their rarity. Pictures of some of our country's most important historical figures, painted by some of the most preeminent artists of the time are always popular with a combination of private collectors and institutions.'
The paintings were sold at Cheffins' Fine Art Sale on Thursday, March 8, and in total fetched £83,980 under the hammer.