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December Interiors

The contents of two distinguished houses will feature within the December Interiors Auction. 


Beech Farm, Woodcote: an Elizabethan collection

The collection of furniture, ceramics, glass, prints and paintings at Beech Farm gave clues to the personalities of the late Sir David and Lady Black, but in essence reflected their sporting interests of hunting, shooting and fishing and their genealogy. Lady Black was descended from the Radclyffes, prominent courtiers during the reign of Elizabeth I, and the Foxdentons and there are connections to their English and Scottish estates in several objects in the collection offered here at auction. Sir David served in the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) from 1947 when he joined as a national serviceman, retiring his commission as Major in 1961, during which time he served on two tours in Cyprus and carried out public duties in London with the Household Cavalry. At the Coronation in 1953 he rode as the Escort Commander to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.  Their estate in Berkshire was the perfect haven for entertaining and was a welcoming and comfortable home after a day’s hunting with the Garth and South Berks, for whom Sir David was Joint Master for eight years or shooting over their estate at Elvendon. Sir David and Lady Black also entertained friends – including HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – when they spent three months of the year stalking on their Scottish estate at Shurrey Lodge, Caithness. The collection of furniture and works of art is characteristic of a lost era: of gracious, formal and civilised entertaining, where old-fashioned manners matched old-fashioned furniture.


'Bagatelle', Branksome Park: A statement home in the heart of one of Dorset’s wealthiest districts.

This collection comes from the beautiful neoclassical listed house ‘Bagatelle,’ in Branksome Park, Dorset. The house was built in 1923 as a fine copy of the Chateau de Bagatelle in Paris, which itself was built in 1775 by the brother of Louis XVI for Marie Antionette. The building is architecturally imposing with large windows and high ceilings, flooding the interiors with light and space.

Since 1961 the house has been owned by John Whitwell MS, FRCS, a world-renowned Ophthalmic Surgeon, who used the house to see patients as well as raise his family. Mr Whitwell qualified at Charing Cross Hospital and Moorfields in London before becoming head of Ophthalmology for Bournemouth and Poole from 1959 until 1988. When he was not travelling the world, performing life-changing operations, he would receive clients in the front room. He hosted well-known local dignitaries including Mantovani, as well as celebrities like Max Bygraves, and the author Philip Ziegler.

The interior was designed to appear both professional and comforting. The primary reception room, known as the ‘Red Room’, from which Duke’s are pleased to offer wing armchairs and a George III Chinese Chippendale card-table, presented a warm and traditional front to prospective and long-standing clients. Whereas the garden room, with wicker suites and contemporary furnishing, created light and modern living spaces for John and his family.

The interiors of ‘Bagatelle’ show both sophistication and restraint in style, they managed to achieve in there design a perfect balance for work and family life.  The children remember growing up there especially fondly, and even manged to keep their horses in the extensive garden, riding on Sandbanks beach every day.


Duke’s are delighted to present the residual contents of both Estates in Interiors, Friday 10th December at 10:30am.

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