Contents from ‘Scotland’s most important neoclassical home’ to be sold at auction

The contents of one of Scotland’s most important neoclassical homes are set to be sold at auction later this month.

Auctioneers Dreweatts will be selling objects from Cairness House in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, on 31 January.

The house was designed between 1791 and 1797, by esteemed Scottish architect James Playfair who was championed for his innovative designs.

It was the home of 18th and 19th century historic figures such as Charles Gordon of Buthlaw and Cairness and Major Thomas Gordon, a friend of Lord Byron.

The Gordon family sold the estate in 1937 but it gradually fell into disrepair until the new owners bought it in 2001.

The new owners embarked on the enormous task of restoring the house and grounds. They carefully curated each interior with important art works, furniture, decoration, lighting and textiles, that would bring the house back to its former glory.

This included the library, designed as an Etruscan room, with its colours derived from ancient painted terracotta vases, to the Egyptian Room featuring hieroglyphic symbols, which was believed to be one of the earliest surviving rooms of its kind in the world.

Among the objects for sale will be many historic and important paintings, including portraits of H.R.H. Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York, by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Grace Colhoun née Parsons by Royal Academician Francis Cotes — with estimated prices of £40,000-£60,000 and £60,000-£100,000 respectively.

A historical Flemish tapestry depicting the Coronation of Alexander the Great is also for sale and carries an estimate of between £10,000 and £15,000.

‘It is an honour to present such a special collection from one of the most important houses in the history of Neoclassicism in Scotland,’ said Joe Robinson, Head of House Sales and Private Collections at Dreweatts.

‘It is rare for a collection to come to market that has been so thoughtfully curated, with such impressive academic vision and decorative flare.

‘The sale offers a fascinating insight into the art of collecting and demonstrates the dedication to quality and provenance that the owners put into obtaining the works.’

More information about the auction can be found on the Dreweatts website.