Chatsworth attic auction makes £4.4m on first day

An auction of items from Chatsworth House has made £4.4m on its first day.

More than 20,000 objects were put up for sale when the Duke of Devonshire found the Derbyshire stately home's stores were "absolutely choc-a-block".

The top price of £565,250 was paid for an 18th Century marble fireplace - which had been kept in an outhouse.

Sotheby's said the sale, which still has two days to run, had been expected to raise a total of £2.5m.

Chatsworth's owner, the Duke of Devonshire, said the family "needed to make some space".

"Well, it was all in store and we had nowhere to put it, so we thought it was time to give the pieces a new owner, a new life.

"So far it seems to be working very well."

'Fantastic energy'

Many of the objects came from Devonshire House in Piccadilly, which was demolished in the 1920s.

Together, the 104 lots from the family's old London residence made £2,332,755, against an estimate of about £1.1m.

Other objects included a mahogany dining table which sold for £205,250 and a 19th Century bookcase with a concealed door, through which the Prince Regent - later George IV - would pass to visit his mistress, which sold for £145,250.

Harry Dalmeny, the deputy chairman of Sotheby's UK and auctioneer for much of the day, said: "The fantastic energy at the sale today is testimony, if ever any were needed, to the enduring magic of a house like Chatsworth."

Alongside the big ticket items, there are also lots ranging from a Victorian back-scratcher to bedposts, stuffed animals and candelabras.

Nearly 1,500 had registered to bid, either being present, bidding online or by phone or registering in advance.

The proceeds of the auction, will go towards the upkeep of the house.

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