Over £500,000 was raised and 85% of the lots were sold when the contents of Reydon Hall, Suffolk went under the hammer at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on 6th December.
The sale included one of the finest ever collections of Suffolk School paintings which made a total of £350,000. The star pictures were two monumental works by Edward Robert Smythe who, with his younger brother Thomas, became famous for charming and beautifully observed depictions of rural and domestic Suffolk life during the second half of the 19th Century. An 1865 painting of ‘The Master, Hunt Servants and hounds of the Suffolk Hunt in the parkland before Euston Hall’ sold for £23,750. A similarly large scale work showing ‘Wool Pit Fair, Portrait of Mr R E Lofft Esq’ made a new world record price for the artist at auction of £39,650. Both pictures had been estimated at £15,000-20,000.
There was also a world record price of £3,500 for a pastel by Edward Robert Smythe. Other highlights included £8,125 for a pair of Edwardian silver candelabra and a 19th Century French life-size terracotta model of a turkey which was gobbled up for £2,500.
Bonhams Regional Director for East Anglia, Michael Steel, said, “It has been a pleasure handling this collection and it is greatly encouraging that we were able to achieve such strong prices in yesterday’s auction. There continues to be a healthy appreciation for the quality of works by Edward and Thomas Smyth with a number of the best pictures bought privately in the region.”
Reydon Hall, a large 17th Century country house near Southwold, was home to the Le Grys family who established and ran a turkey production firm in North East Suffolk which was sold to the well known entrepreneur, Bernard Matthews, in the 1970s. Raymond Le Grys and his brother John had a passion for Suffolk art.