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Sensational 'sold out' sale at Dillington House

November 2023

Auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt presided over a successful auction at Grade II* Listed Dillington House this week when all lots found new homes.

Everything from statues to curtains went under the hammer at the sale of fixtures and fittings which attracted nationwide interest and generated over £100,000. More than 900 bidders registered online – the largest number GTH has ever attracted for such an event.

This number was boosted by hundreds on site at Dillington, near Ilminster, for this sale of nearly 500 diverse lots.

Auctioneer and GTH Partner, Derek Biss, who oversaw the sale, said: “The sale of fixtures and fittings at Dillington House proved to be an exceedingly successful event with purchasers flocking from far and wide to attend, or taking advantage of the online bidding portal where all individual lots were pictured well in advance of the sale.

The sale result realised was a six-figure sum, surpassing any expectations of the council or indeed the valuers. The power of the gavel was evident, ensuring each item achieved its true market value, with a full clearance of all items being achieved.”

A spectacular Waterford Crystal chandelier was the star lot. This impressive piece sold for £3,700 to a room bidder.

However, potentially more satisfying was the sale of an immense sculpture. Thanks to the valuers’ forensic assessment of the site a week before the sale a vast sculpture – six feet three by six feet three was discovered in the woods. This work by Chris Booth of a buzzard became the final lot of the sale and sold for a towering £3,000.

A statue of Hermes on a stepped column had created a great deal of pre-sale interest and this translated into enthusiastic bidding, with the hammer finally coming down at £2,200 to an online bidder.

A Bechstein boudoir grand piano also performed with a flourish and sold for £2,200.

A picture of Lindsell church by well-regarded artist Edward Bawden went for £1,700 – again to a net bidder. A watercolour by Michael Morgan unearthed in the attic while the valuers were visiting the ancient house was another crowd pleaser and also made £1,700. 

The former wedding venue proved a perfect place to pick up a range of useful event paraphernalia – sets of stacking chairs sold for £1,300, £1,200 and £1,000 respectively.

Prices across the piece were robust, with a pair of floral curtains making £800 and a substantial reception desk fetching £700 from a room bidder.

There were plenty of striking architectural pieces on offer too including two sandstone spheres on plinths that made £500 and a distinctive art form by Sheila Volmer which sold for £650. The same sum was achieved by a set of 14 pikes.

The mammoth sale, which took place over five hours, saw three auctioneers on the rostrum – Derek Biss, Tom Mellor and Andy Clements.

Mr Biss had been engaged on behalf of Somerset Council to sell the fixtures and fittings and thanks to dogged and tenacious efforts every nook and cranny of the 16th Century site was examined to reveal the full gamut of treasures that went under the hammer.

Mike Hooper, who co-ordinated the sale for GTH was delighted with how smoothly the day had gone and praised the team at Dillington for their hard work.

Above: The Dillington House team (in hi-vis) with GTH staff following the sale

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