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    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    This pair of pyramid Dutch Delft vases made £132,250 at Sotheby's sale in Ashdown House. (click to enlarge)

    A pair of Deflt pyramid flower vases dating from the late 17th/early 18th century made £132,250 over an estimate of 60,000-80,000 to become the top lot at a stately home contents sale in Berkshire on October 27.

    A FARAGHAN CARPET, WEST PERSIA made £97,250 over a top estimate of £18,000 at the Ashdown House sale. (click to enlarge)

    Sotheby’s achieved £2.7 million, far above the pre-sale estimate of £1.3-1.9 million, for the contents of Ashdown House, built by William, first Earl of Craven for King Charles I’s sister, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia in the early 1660s. She was born Elizabeth of Scotland, eldest daughter of James I and married Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine in 1612 at the age of 16.
    They became King and Queen of Bohemia and she was known as The Winter Queen because Frederick’s reign was so short. They were forced into exile in The Hague by the end of their first winter on the throne. Frederick died in 1632 and Lord Craven acted as her representative at Charles II’s court when she returned to England in 1661.
    Samuel Pepys testified that during the final six months of her life she was almost constantly accompanied by her “faithful friend”. All British monarchs from George I are descended from Elizabeth. Lord Craven survived her by 35 years and used Ashdown as a hunting lodge.
    Dutch in spirit pyramid flower vases were mostly made for English clients in a brief period of fashionability following Queen Mary’s order to Daniel Marot for a series of imposing designs for large vases to be made in Delft for the Water Gallery at Hampton Court. Vases of this type survive at Chatsworth, Durham, Castle Howard and Hampton Court. Vases made for Bohemian and Moravian families in the late 17th century are now in Prague Museum.