Dealer’s rare items to benefit church in Ufford
PUBLISHED: 09:55 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:55 29 November 2016
A Suffolk church is set to benefit this week when a former respected antiques dealer’s personal colection goes under the hammer.
Eila Grahame of Claverhouse, who could trace her family tree back to Robert III, King of Scotland in 1466, had homes in Ufford and London until her death at the age of 74 in 2009.
Her antiques shop was in London’s Kensington Church Street, and was described as “mecca for collectors and dealers alike”. Her customers included the likes of Lucian Freud and many others with a keen eye for style and quality.
Now her personal items are to be sold by Cheffins, Cambridge, in a fine art auction on Wednesday and Thursday with the 270-plus lots expected to fetch more than £100,000.
Proceeds will be going to the Art Fund and her beloved church of St Mary of the Assumption at Ufford, where she is buried.
A spokeswoman for Cheffins said: “This sale combines the contents of her London property and her Suffolk cottage, as well as other items that have remained in storage, so the sale offers collectors the chance to acquire some of her unseen items as well as others from the shop.
“Customers such as Lucian Freud delighted in Eila’s collections, from pottery and glass to primitive paintings, botanical drawings to exotic collector’s items. Eila was a formidable character with a keen eye for quality and the unique.”
The sale’s highlights range from Wrotham pottery vessels, the earliest dated 1676, to the studies of shells and oystershells in watercolour by Francois Jean-Baptiste Menard de la Groye (1775-1855), the unsung hero of natural history, an 18th century French explorer and scientist.
The sale will also include two very rare engraved tortoiseshell cases from Port Royal, Jamaica, containing original wig combs dated 1688 and 1671; the ivory pallet pot that reputedly belonged to the artist Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757), and a cork model of the Templo Della Sibilla in Tivoli, by Antonio Chichi (1743-1816).
The sale will also include a mezzotint of the ‘Bonnie’ Earl of Dundee, the Jacobite hero of whom Eila Grahame was a direct descendant.
Her love for Suffolk began as a child when she was sent to live with an aunt at Loudham, near Ufford, after her mum was killed by a war-time bomb.