The Crum-Ewing’s fortunes were founded by James Ewing (1775-1853), who was Lord Provost and MP for Glasgow in the early 19th century. He lived in a house where Queen Street station now stands in Glasgow city centre and later bought Strathleven House and estate in Dunbartonshire, which he set about enlarging and improving. Having no children, the house was inherited by his relations the Crum-Ewings and latterly Constance Crum-Ewing (1899-1982) and her husband Ian Bogle Monteith Hamilton (1890-1971) until it was compulsorily purchased by the Board of Trade in 1947, at which point the couple bought and moved to Lowood House.
This October, we are delighted to be offering the contents of Lowood House, Melrose for sale at auction.
Sitting by the banks of the river Tweed, Lowood has been the home of the Hamilton family since 1947 and the eclectic country house collection it contains was amassed by two Scottish lowland families: the Crum-Ewings and the Hamiltons.
Ian Hamilton was the son of artistic parents, painter Vereker Hamilton (1856-1931) and sculptor Lilian Swainson (1865-1939) who had both studied at the Slade under Alphonse Legros. He himself was an architect, responsible for the renowned Sidney Estate in St. Pancras, London in the 1920s and 30s. He was also author of a book ‘The Happy Warrior’, about his uncle, the distinguished General Sir Ian Standish Hamilton, twice recommended for the VC and a close friend of Sir Winston Churchill. The Hamiltons were a military family with four generations having served in The Gordon Highlanders.
Following the death of Ian and Constance’s son Alexander Hamilton (1932-2020), the family are now leaving Lowood and feel it is time to pass on the majority of the contents to new owners, with the hope that they will be enjoyed and appreciated as much as they have been by the family over the generations.
The sale will include everything you might expect from a country house contents, from pictures, furniture and works of art to silver and a library of books.
Many of the older paintings at Lowood came from the collection of James Ewing, who bought a lot of art in the early-to-mid 19th century, both before and around the time that he and his wife undertook a thirteen-month Grand Tour of Europe beginning in 1844. These and many of the other older pieces in the sale will have come to Lowood from Strathleven.
Christie’s auctioneers will also be offering a group of paintings from the house across their series of Old Masters auctions this July.
There is also an interesting group of paintings by Frederic Leighton and his circle that most probably came from the collection of Vereker and Lilian Hamilton.
Other noteworthy and unusual highlights in the sale include a rare 16th century Italian Urbino istoriata maiolica dish, an Egyptian cartonnage mask for a woman, circa 1st century A.D., and a copy of David Robert’s three volume elephant folio on Egypt & Nubia.