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Words: William Gregory MRICS, Golding Young & Mawer Auctioneers & Valuers
Featured in the March 2016 issue

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A record 700 buyers were registered to bid online in one of the most successful sales to date at the Lincoln Auction Rooms.

Along with the usual viewing day, auctioneers Golding Young & Mawer had to arrange for an extra evening viewing to accommodate the large numbers of interested buyers.

The highlight of the sale, which generated a total of £150,000, was a collection of antiques and personal effects from the estate of the late Lady Rozelle Raynes, the heiress of Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire. The daughter of an earl, Rozelle rejected expectations that she would become a debutante and socialite and instead devoted her life to the sea, becoming a famous yachtswoman.

On sale day, the first lot – a Victorian walnut and marquetry kidney shaped writing table – achieved its top auction estimate of £1,200. The auctioneers knew then that their expectations for fierce bidding would not be disappointed.

The next lot to exceed its auction estimate was a good example of a rare late eighteenth to early nineteenth century flintlock blunderbuss which sold for £4,400.

Another piece from Rozelle’s collection to achieve an exceptional price was an original Josef Raffin street organ which sold for £5,500. This item had seen interest from international bidders but despite their efforts, it sold to a determined collector from Lincolnshire.

During the evening Fine Art sale, which included a number of paintings from Rozelle’s collection of nineteenth and twentieth century art, a signed oil on canvas by Charles Robert Doyly-John (1906-1993) titled ‘In the Olde Ville of Nice’ sold for £750. An oil on canvas of a yacht off the coast by David James, which is signed and dated 1887, sold for £500 and a signed watercolour titled ‘Sailing Barges at Gravesend’ by Norman Wilkinson sold for £340.

Born Lady Frederica Rozelle Ridgway Pierrepont on 17th November 1925, Rozelle, as she was known, was the daughter of Gervas Evelyn Pierrepont MC. Her father succeeded a cousin to become Earl of Manvers in 1940 when the family moved to the family seat of Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire.

The Pierreponts, at one time Earls and Dukes of Kingston, have been associated with Thoresby since the mid-seventeenth century. Rozelle’s mother was Marie-Louise Roosevelt Butterfield, an artist and only offspring of Sir Frederick and Lady Butterfield who owned Cliffe Castle in Keighley. The surname ‘Roosevelt’ was taken from her maternal grandmother, who was a relative of Theodore Roosevelt.

During her lifetime, Rozelle joined the Wrens during the Second World War, sailed around the Baltics in her yacht the Martha McGilda and set up a charitable trust teaching East End boys in care sailing in the London docks. She also wrote several books about her experiences including Maid Matelot (published in 1971) in which she recalled she was fascinated with the sea even as a small child.

Although she grew up in Yorkshire and lived in London, she kept a close association with the Thoresby Estate, returning to live in Butterfields, a house she and her late husband Dick Raynes had built on the estate, for the last five years of her life. She died in her sleep on 22nd June 2015, aged 89.

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