Rawdon Hall sale of family treasures includes a toy carriage thought to have been sat in by the young Queen Victoria

More than 400 years of history, much connecting Yorkshire and Ireland, will be unveiled when a private collection from Rawdon Hall comes to auction for the first time. Stephanie Smith reports.

By Stephanie Smith
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:38 am
The contents of historic Rawdon Hall will go under the hammer. Archive image of Rawdon Hall     Image credit: Aireborough Historical Society
The contents of historic Rawdon Hall will go under the hammer. Archive image of Rawdon Hall Image credit: Aireborough Historical Society

The intriguing history of one of Yorkshire’s most eminent and influential families comes to life next month when the contents of Rawdon Hall go under the hammer.

The auction, which takes place at Dreweatts on May 10, will offer an extensive collection of art works, including historical family portraits and landscapes, plus impressive pieces of furniture.

Entitled Town & Country: The Collections of Charles Plante and Rawdon Hall, one unusual highlight lot is a Victorian children’s horse and carriage, believed to have been sat in by Queen Victoria as a child, through the connection of Lady Flora Hastings, who was lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.

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A Victorian, or Edwardian children’s horse and carriage, believed to have been sat in by Queen Victoria as a child.

It is also believed the house was visited by Charlotte Brontë in 1841, when she worked as a governess in nearby Upperwood House.

Rawdon Hall, on the outskirts of Leeds, has been the home of the same family for more than 425 years and the collection unveils the dynasty’s captivating history from its early baronets to the earls of Moira and the marquesses of Hastings, charting their rise as they become one of the most influential families in Ireland and Yorkshire.

The Grade II Listed stone-built Rawdon Hall may have replaced an earlier timber-framed house which stood in the 1500s. Nick Snowden, family member and owner of Rawdon Hall, said: “My distant ancestor, George Rawdon, built the house as a centre of dissenting worship, incorporating priest holes to protect non-conformists and a look-out window.

“Religious services were held under Buckstone Rock on the adjoining golf course to Rawdon Hall, by the leading dissenting minister of the time, Reverend Heywood. It was said that white sheets were hung out (as though to dry), as a sign for a local meeting.”

A Huntsman with Two Spaniels is by the English painter Charles Towne (1763–1840)

George’s grandson, Sir George Rawdon, married the sister of the 3rd Viscount Conway and became 1st Baronet of Moira, County Down (1604–1684). His grandson married the 6th Countess of Loudon, fusing the Hastings and Rawdon family names together.

Joe Robinson, head of House Sales and Private Collections at Dreweatts, said: “Historic collections such as that at Rawdon Hall are always exciting opportunities to capture works which have never come to market before”.

Among several family portraits in the sale is an oil painting of Francis Rawdon in oil by a follower of Cornelius Janssens van Ceulen, dated 1632, with an estimate of £4-6,000.

A portrait of Dorothea, Lady Rawdon, wife of Sir John Rawdon, by a follower of Sir Godfrey Kneller. is estimated to fetch £1-1,500.

Five year old Lady Flora Mure-Campbell (1780-1840), later the Marchioness of Hastings.

A portrait of a five-year-old Lady Flora Mure-Campbell (1780-1840), later Marchioness of Hastings, by a follower of Charles d’Agar is estimated to fetch £2,500-£3,500.

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A set of 12 studies of sibyls by the Italian artist Felice Santoloni (b. circa 1800), believed to be based on fresco paintings by Raphael (1483-152) is estimated to fetch £2-3,000, while an oil painting in the sale, titled A Huntsman with Two Spaniels, by the English painter Charles Towne (1763–1840), carries an estimate of £2-£3,000.

For more information about the sale on May 10, go to: www.dreweatts.com

Portrait of the Rt. Hon. Sir George Rawdon, 1st Bart. Estimate £2,000-£3,000