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In our 31st March 2010 Fine Antiques sale, we successfully sold selected contents from Springkell House in Dumfries and Galloway and from Craighall Castle in Perthshire. The offered items from Springkell were 100% sold, with some pieces soaring above estimate.
In the borderlands of Scotland, not far from Gretna, lies the elegant mansion of Springkell. Built for the Maxwell family, proprietors of the Barony of Kirconnel and Springkell since 1609, the original Georgian centre of the house was erected in 1734 and later extended with the addition of the wings in 1818. Francis Groome described it in his Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-85) as: “a fine Grecian edifice ... with beautiful grounds”.
In 1894, Sir John Heron-Maxwell, 6th Bt., sold the property to Sir Jabez Edward Johnson-Ferguson (1849-1929). Born in Salford, Manchester, Sir Jabez was chairman of Jabez Johnson, Hodgkinson & Pearson Ltd. and a director of the mining company Bolckow, Vaughan & Co. Ltd. In 1885 he became the Liberal MP for Loughborough and he was created a Baronet in 1906. The house passed down the generations with its contents fairly intact and still remains in the Johnson-Ferguson family today.
Included in this sale were a number of fine carpets, including two large ivory ground Zeiglers (sold for £36,000 and £34,000), an Amritzar (sold for £5,500) and an Ushak (sold for £10,500), all of which were probably bought new when Sir Jabez moved into Springkell. A collection of family portraits and other pictures, furniture and works of art from throughout the house were also sold, including: a Chinese cloisonne jardinere at £11,000; a George III breakfront bookcase at £9,000;and a Victorian brass skeleton clock at £4,000. Even a Victorian dog basket made £900!
Set amidst the stunning scenery near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, Craighall Castle towers over one of Scotland’s deepest gorges, on the River Ericht, and has been the family seat of the Rattrays for over 500 years.
According to early historians, the Rattrays were established in the area during the time of Malcolm Canmore, 1066 being the date on the family banner. Silvester Rattray moved to the stronghold of Craighall in 1533 in the aftermath of a violent feud with the powerful Stewarts of Atholl, since when it has remained the family seat; home to staunch Royalists in the 17th century and supporters of the Jacobite cause in the 18th century. The original keep has been extended and developed over the generations and now principally dates from 1825, reflecting the Scots baronial style, with later additions around 1890.
Craighall was comfortably furnished with a number of fine Georgian and Victorian pieces of furniture. Included in this sale were a fine pair of George III mahogany and upholstered ‘Gainsborough’ armchairs, sold for £6,500, and a pair of George II mahogany and upholstered side chairs, sold for £5,000, all with original 18th century tapestry covers in great condition. Also included was a Steinway grand piano which made £18,000.
For further information please contact Gavin Strang