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Treasures for a political titan go under the hammer

The Right Honourable Sir Edward du Cann KBE (1924-2017) was one of the most influential public figures in Britain during the second half of the 20th century. In politics he served as the Member of Parliament for Taunton for over thirty years. He was the youngest ever Chairman of the Conservative Party and went on to become the longest serving Chairman of the powerful 1922 committee. It was in this role that he was instrumental in bringing Margaret Thatcher to power in 1979. He was a Privy Councillor and in the business world he was known as the “Father of the modern Unit Trust industry”. As Chairman of Lonrho PLC, his name was never far from the front pages of the national Newspapers, particularly during the infamous battle between Tiny Rowland and Mohammed al-Fayed for control of Harrods. Sir Edward, who died last year, maintained homes in Westminster and Somerset, although he lived permanently in Cyprus. On 6th Spetmeber 2018, Duke's, the leading West Country auction house, were instructed to sell property from his apartment at Barrington Court in Somerset and his flat close to the Palace of Westminster.

The highlight of the collection was undoubtedly a magnificent bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill by Ivor Roberts-Jones (1916-1966). The statue, which measures 51cms, is a reduction of the large scale sculpture of Sir Winston Churchill by Roberts-Jones, which stands in Parliament Square. Sir Edward, who was first elected to Parliament on St Valentine’s Day 1956, record a number of meetings with the great man. In 1951 he records sharing a public platform with him during the General Election campaign. Sir Edward was the Tory candidate for West Walthamstow, where the sitting MP was Clement Attlee, the Labour Prime Minister. This stunning bronze sold at auction at Duke’s on 6th September 2018 for £97,500, a record for the bronze at the time of sale. Sir Edward’s political career blossomed under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. The auction on the 6th September also included a bronze of Britain’s first female Prime Minister (1979-1990) by Antony Dufort (b. 1948). The bronze is an exact copy of the maquette made by Dufort for the large scale bronze of Lady Thatcher, which is in the House in of Commons. This striking scultpure acheived an excellent result of £33,000. Sir Edward was a great authority on political history and formed significant collections of political cartoons and caricatures by some of the greatest artists of the late 18th and early 19th century. He published a work focusing on the political career of the Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and it is hoped that this collection will go to the National Portrait Gallery in London. The museum in Taunton, Somerset, where Sir Edward was MP for over thirty years, has already been given political memorabilia pertinent to the locality. Sir Edward’s passion for political history and intrigue is reflected in a small collection of ceramics, which will be included in the auction at Duke’s. Subjects include the repeal of the Corn Laws, Naval Victories including the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and the number of rare pieces of pottery commemorating election results.

Guy Schwinge of Duke’s who is handled the auction, commented “Sir Edward was a hugely important political and business figure. At the height of his career Sir Edward’s name was rarely off the front pages and it was a great honour to sell so many fascinating objects from his collection, which give a clear insight into the man behind the public. The bronze of Churchill is an iconic piece of sculpture”.

For a link to the coverage from the Daily mail relating to this story, please click here

Dukes Auctioneers: 29th Aug 2018 10:50:00