L114a: Sale catalogue: Beckford Collection , Lansdown Tower
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Sale catalogue: Beckford Collection , Lansdown Tower|
|Additional title||Lansdown Tower, Bath. Catalogue of the splendid furniture, cabinets, paintings, antique gems, coins, agates, magnificent mosaic table, sculpture, Etruscan vases, matchless china, rare gold japan and miscellaneous valuable elegancies: the property of the late William Beckford, Esquire; which will be sold by auction (by order of his executors), by Messers. English and Son, at their rooms, 21 Milsom Street, on Thursday, Nov. 20th, and seven following days of business, at 12 o'Clock punctually.|
|Object type||In category: Library and Archive » Book » Printed|
By English and Son (Bath auction house) (known) - Author(s)
Keenes (printers, Bath) (known) - Printer(s)
Beckford, William (English patron, writer, collector, and amateur architect, 1760-1844) (known) - Collector(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » England » Bath|
23.5 cm height whole
19.0 cm width whole
|Materials & techniques||
Book/Document » Binding » Leather
Book/Document » Leaves » Paper
Book/Document » Medium » Ink
Sale catalogue of the collection of William Beckford at Lansdown Tower, sold by Messrs English and Son, Bath, 20-22 and 25-28 November 1845. Bound with a copy of the sale catalogue of Duke of Sussex's plate, sold in 1843 (L114b). 4to, half morocco.
Sir William Holburne and his family were near neighbours of William Beckford in Bath. From 1801-1829 the Holburnes lived in 7, Lansdown Place West, a relatively modest but elegant house a few doors from Lansdown Crescent where Beckford had a residence from 1821. The lives of the socially-accepted Holburnes and the reclusive Beckford could not have been more different. However, the Holburnes must have been well aware of Beckford’s alterations to his houses in Lansdown Crescent, the creation of the Tower on Lansdown and development of the picturesque ride up Lansdown hill in the 1820s.
In 1829, Sir William Holburne acquired his own house and land just below Beckford’s in Cavendish Crescent. Undoubtedly the range and richness of Beckford's collection fascinated Holburne. Beckford’s reputation as a collector on a daunting scale, must have been the single and most direct of all influences.
Holburne made several acquisitions from the sale of Beckford’s collection at Lansdown Tower, in November 1845. These included a pair of Meissen porcelain tea bowls, a two-handled cup and four saucers (C413-416) a small cream ewer formed from an eighteenth century Chinese porcelain cup mounted in silver-gilt (X1209), and a small crystal cup mounted in silver gilt (C927a.95). Also acquired was a set of twelve silver-gilt teaspoons of naturalistic form in a mahogany velvet-lined box with a brass shield on the top inscribed 'Beckford’s Tower 185, 21st Nov 1845' (S360.1-12). Holburne certainly seems to have been proud of the provenance of all these pieces, for his catalogue carefully notes that most of them were 'From the Collection of William Beckford'. All the pieces, although minor items in Beckford’s massive collection, reveal both the old and new owner’s taste for jewel-like quality in ceramics, metalwork and otherobjets d’art. Holburne’s library contains books and catalogues connected to Beckford including an 1834 edition of Vathek.
Holburne’s wealth and available resources for collecting were small compared to those of Beckford. Furthermore he was constrained by the size of his home. However, despite these limitations, the character of Holburne’s collection pays homage to Beckford from the Italian and Dutch paintings to the elaborate silver-gilt seventeenth-century plate, richly-decorated Chinese, Meissen and Sevres porcelain, Italian bronzes, maiolica, Limoges enamels, andobjets de virtù in agate, crystal, malachite, lapis lazuli, coral and ivory.
The final link between Holburne and Beckford remains in their deaths. After his initial interment in Lyncombe, Beckford was eventually buried in the cemetery next to his Tower on Lansdown in 1848. In 1874 Holburne, too was buried a few yards from the man whose influence was so significant upon him, and his three sisters were also buried in the same tomb.
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » Building the Collection
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Library and Archive
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
|Provenance||Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary-Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum|
Title of exhibition: The Beauties of Bath: the Holburne Museum Revealed
Title of exhibition: Town House Treasures: Sir Thomas William Holburne of Bath