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Pieces of history set to be sold; Auction house excited by hall's contents.

Byline: Tony Henderson

TREASURES from Seaton Delaval Hall are to be auctioned in London. Owner Lord Hastings, who farms in Norfolk, is selling almost 100 lots from the 18th century Northumberland mansion at Sotheby's on September 29.

The National Trust, in a campaign backed by The Journal, is seeking to acquire the Sir John Vanbrugh-designed hall and a total of pounds 3m has been raised nationally towards the appeal's pounds 6.3m target, with almost pounds 1m coming from the North East.

On Saturday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will visit the hall for a tour and to thank members of the local community and trust supporters for their fund-raising efforts.

A Sotheby's spokesman said: "Items in the sale are from the private apartments, until recently occupied by the late Lord Hastings, which cannot viably be included in the display of the hall once it is open to the public." The sale is due to take place in London on September 29.

Lord and Lady Hastings, parents of the current Lord Hastings, both died in 2007. Also being sold in the same auction are items from Powderham Castle in Devon.

Henry Dalmeny, Sotheby's UK deputy chairman, said: "We are honoured to offer works from these two noble seats.

"This fascinating auction offers collectors the exciting possibility of acquiring pieces from two famous English homes.

"Architects of the calibre of Vanbrugh ensure this sale will be unmissable for devotees of the English country house."

Sotheby's estimates that the sale could raise between pounds 276,000 and pounds 397,000.

The top-priced item is a pair of Queen Anne-carved giltwood mirrors from around 1715, which are rated at between pounds 40,000-pounds 60,000.

Around pounds 15,000 to pounds 20,000 is expected for a French porcelain fish broth bowl from 1754-55 and pounds 20,000 to pounds 25,000 for a 1730 Meissen tea and coffee service. A large pair of Chinese vases, recorded in 1783 and worth an estimated pounds 70,000 to pounds 100,000, will be sold at a separate auction in November.

But Sotheby's specialist Henry House sad that lower-priced items give local people the chance to own a part of the hall and its history.

He said: "We hope local people will take the opportunity to buy a piece of their local history."

A cast brass 19th century ornate doorstop is going for pounds 100 and an 1872 bone china part dinner service for between pounds 100 and pounds 200. A German silver table bell is expected to raise from pounds 180 to pounds 240, while three French fans are put at pounds 150 to pounds 250, and two marble-topped Chinese tables of 1900 between pounds 200 and pounds 300.

Mr House said talks had been held with the National Trust over what should be sold, and that many items were remaining at the hall.

"This sale is causing interest across the world. But the North East is not being short-changed," he said.

Hugh Dixon, National Trust regional curator, said: "The National Trust has been working very closely with the staff at Seaton Delaval Hall since the appeal started to look through the contents and work out which items should be retained at the property to enable to trust to tell the hall's story.

"We hope to receive the identified pieces if the fundraising appeal is successful.

"Some less vital items are being sold at Sotheby's and other sales may follow."

To read more about Seaton Delaval Hall, log on to UP FOR GRABS Items to be sold at the auction. Inset, the late Lord and Lady Hastings.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 10, 2009
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