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    The Harrington Commode made a new world record for a piece of English furniture at auction. (click to enlarge)

    THE Harrington Commode, dating to circa 1770, made a new record for a piece of English furniture at auction at Sotheby’s in London on December 8.  It sold for £3,793,250 over an estimate of £600,000-£1 million. The serpentine commode was almost certainly crafted by Thomas Chippendale.

    It exceeded the previous world record for any piece of English furniture at auction by over £1 million.  Sotheby’s said it set an exciting new benchmark for English furniture.  The George III commode, previously housed at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire, was sold by order of the Trustees of the 10th Earl of Harrington’s Will Trust. Lord Harrington had extensive Irish estates.  His son, the 11th Earl, who died in 2009, was an Irish citizen and successful horse breeder who maintained studs in Ireland.  He had links to the Royal Family through the marriage of his grand-daughter, Serena Stanhope to the furniture maker Viscount Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
    The Harrington Commode was part of an Important Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Silver & Vertu sale which made £6,216,750. Henry House, Head of English Furniture at Sotheby’s, commented: “This remarkable commode which is outstandingly beautiful in both form and condition, was keenly contested by five bidders, the final price demonstrating true demand in the market for items of real quality, and I feel is justly deserved for an item that has been an honour to sell.”
    The previous world record for a piece of English furniture at auction belonged to a George II Parcel-Gilt Padouk Cabinet-on-Stand attributed to Thomas Chippendale, 1755-1760, which sold for £2,729,250 at Christies in June 2008.

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