Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair
Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair

Large Rare Sothebys Benacre Hall Ladder Back Fruitwood Armchair

c. 1790 England

Offered by Roger Bradbury Antiques

£2,650 gbp
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Listing Information
This enormous chair is certainly of museum quality and interest.
I purchased it at the contents sale of Benacre Hall, Suffolk held by Sotheby’s in May 2000 and fully intended to keep it in my collection but pressure to update our ancient kitchen means that there is no room for this splendid piece. We have photographed it next to a normal large sized chair so one can appreciate the
difference. The chair is a lovely rich honey colour, a joy to sit in and receives a lot of admiration. This is a Sotheby’s press release following the sale.This really is a splendid piece and is in good condition.

Height 122cm Width 59cm Depth 58cm

HISTORY was made at 7.45 this evening, (Thursday, May 11, 2000) when Sotheby’s auction of the contents of Benacre Hall, Suffolk, drew to a close having secured the record for the highest total ever achieved for a country house sale in the United Kingdom with more than £1 million in hand. The previous record was broken by day two with the three day sale far surpassing expectations of the £3 million pre-sale estimate, raising a staggering £8,314,886.

Sir Timothy Gooch said : "I am delighted that the sale has gone so incredibly well, since it now enables me to deal with the tax incumbent on my brothers estate. I would like to pay tribute to Sothebys for their hard work and wonderful sale result."James Miller, Deputy Chairman of Sothebys Europe, said : "It is a strange irony that our house sale record,

established at Mentmore in 1977, should be broken at Benacre with Lord Dalmeny, Lord Roseberys eldest son, on the rostrum as auctioneer. This has been a tremendous sale full of enthusiastic bidding and is a wonderful result for the owners. It has been a real pleasure to have the lots competed by such an enormous number of buyers."

Day three, undoubtedly the busiest of the sale with the 800 capacity marquee full to overflowing, saw Sothebys staff donning top hats, velvet smoking jackets and morning suits and taking to the catwalk. The late Sir John Gooch was noted for his immaculate dress sense and passion for fine English clothes and his extensive wardrobes throughout

the house reflected both his good taste and appreciation for quality. It was therefore of little surprise when the much admired bottlegreen velvet shawl collared smoking jacket estimated at £60-90, sold for £3,360.

The fascinating collection of gem-encrusted tie pins caused a stir with almost the entire collection exceeding their

estimates, notably lot 1545, a 19th century rose diamond tie pin, which sold for

£3,600 (est: £400-600).

The highest price paid today was for a fine 19th century satin sycamore and marquetry cylinder bureau by Messrs. Marris and Norton, of Corporation Street, in Birmingham. The piece, which was decorated throughout with neo-classical motifs, sold for

£32,700, over four times its pre-sale low estimate of £8,000.

Among the architectural fittings from the stables, a group of early 16th century Netherlandish oak reliefs from the

Crucifixion sold for £14,300 (est : £2,000-3,000).

The magnificent George II carved giltwood console table, dated circa 1735, which sold for an astonishing


on day one of the sale retained its top lot status for the entire sale. The table, with marble top supported by a carved

owl standing with out-stretched wings, had been expected to sell for £40,000-60,000.

The late Sir John Gooch Bt.(1930-1999) lived a quiet and private life at Benacre. He kept the hall and the estate closed to public view and used only a selection of the rooms, leaving others undisturbed an untouched. During his lifetime, Sir John, a familiar figure in London galleries and auction rooms, developed a strong interest in history and the arts and became known as an extremely discerning collector of fine art. Sothebys sale of the contents of

Benacre Hall represented 12 generations of Gooch family history.

The previous record for a UK house contents sale was set in April 1998 when a three-day sale at Hackwood Park, Hampshire, by order of the Executors of the Estate of the 2nd Viscount Camrose raised £7,030,908.

The Estate of Benacre has descended in a direct line ever since 1746. The Gooch family has long been established in north Suffolk, living principally at Mettingham.

In 1691 Thomas Gooch (later known as ‘Bishop Gooch’) entered Ciaus College Cambridge. (In 1716 he was elected Master of Caius, a position he held until his death.) Bishop Gooch had a long and distinguished career in the Church. William Gooch, the brother of Thomas, entered the Army beginning a connection that lasts until 2002. William’s career was equally distinguished and in 1727 the King of England made him Lt. Governor of Virginia (in the American Colonies) and it was written that “ ‘twas justly (and what could be better) said, that he was the only governor abroad against whom inhabitants and merchants never once complained”.

In 1747 he was elevated to the baronetcy. Sir William’s heir to the title was to be his brother (Thomas) and then his brother’s eldest son (Thomas, born in 1720) because of the earlier death of his only son.

This same year Sir William returned from the Americas, having sold his estates there, but kept his furniture. On his return Sir William and his wife Lady Gooch took up residence at the family house at Hampton and this is where in 1751 he died.

Bishop Thomas Gooch became Bishop Sir Thomas Gooch (2nd Bt) then died in 1754 leaving the bulk of his considerable fortune to his eldest son Thomas.

Sir Thomas Gooch (3rd Bt) was married in 1743 and during this year he acquired Benacre Estate. It is said that ‘he settled down to consolidate his Estate, even though the anticipated income from wrecked ships along the coast did not live up to his expectations! In 1761 Sir Thomas inherited an even greater fortune from (his uncle) Bishop Sherlock which included land in Birmingham, and it was this that became the principle source of income over the next two hundred years, allowing the enhancement of the Benacre Hall and lands.

By the end of the 18th century the family were well established and the account books show consistent agricultural improvements and the creation of a fine park with the addition of a large number of trees immediately around the Hall. In 1790 Sir Thomas (4th Bt) extended the Estate through the purchase of the adjacent Wrentham Hall.

Sir Thomas was interested in sporting activities and bred coursing greyhounds. His daughter Sophia married Captain George Manby the founder of the lifeboats in 1818.

The 5th baronet, Sir Thomas entered Parliament in 1806 and forged the close ties with the Army by raising the first Yeomanry Cavalry Corps in England to counter the effect of a potential French invasion in 1792. During his long period as MP for Suffolk (1806-1830) he consistently supported the needs of farmers, distillers and merchants especially during the agricultural depression following the Napoleonic Wars.

Sir Edward Sherlock Gooch (6th Bt, Sir Thomas’ eldest son) succeeded his father as MP for Suffolk (1800 – 1864) was succeeded by his sons who inherited in succession: Sir Edward 7th Bt., (1843-1872); Sir Francis, 8th Bt. (1850 – 1881) and Sir Alfred, 9th Bt. ((1852 – 1899).

In 1889 the Estate was inherited by Sir Thomas Gooch 10th Bt. and now hosted innumerable events surrounding The Coursing Club, The Flower Shows and the Pedigree Cow Shows. Sporting activities became part of the yearly routine, in particular steeple chasing and cricket.

The eldest son Robert joined the Life Guards as a Lieutenant and enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the army becoming a Commander of the Household Cavalry Regiment 1942 - 1946. However he is perhaps best remembered in Suffolk for his breeding prize animals. He served both in the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and as Liaison Officer to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Height 122.00 cm (48.03 inches)
Width 59.00 cm (23.23 inches)
Depth 58.00 cm (22.83 inches)
Roger Bradbury Antiques

Roger Bradbury Antiques
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