Principal Contents & Library of Paxford House | Auction 22 & 23 July

Paxford House near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, has been in the ownership of the Odling Family for almost 100 years.

Instructed by the Executors of the Late Thomas Odling, Chorley’s are selling the principal contents of the property which includes several items that have been in the family for generations. The most notable member of the family, his great grandfather Sir William Sterndale-Bennett, would have owned several of the music scores that adorned the shelves of the library, some bearing his autograph and annotated comments in the margins.

Sir William was an English composer, pianist, conductor and music educator. At the age of ten Bennett was admitted to the London Royal Academy of Music, where he remained for ten years. By the age of twenty, he had begun to make a reputation as a concert pianist, and his compositions received high praise. Among those impressed by Bennett was the German born British composer Felix Mendelssohn, who invited him to Leipzig. There Bennett became friendly with Robert Schumann, who shared Mendelssohn's admiration for his compositions. Bennett spent three winters composing and performing in Leipzig and whilst in England enhanced his musical career through, composition, conducting and teaching at the Royal Academy, becoming one of the most respected Musicians of the 19th century.

Other volumes in the Paxford House Library could well have been used by Sterndale-Bennett whilst editing works by the great composers of the 17th and 18th Century, perhaps the 1760 copy of The Life of Handel by John Mainwaring, Lot 558, estimate £180-220.  Other important books in the Library include Falconry in the Valley of the Indus 1852 by Sir Richard Burton, Lot 554, estimate £1,000-1,500, the third edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 6 volumes 1777, by Edward Gibbon, Lot 556, £500-700 and many books on political history.  A large section on French History includes many about the life of Napoleon, complementing the collection of books, bronzes and other Napoleon memorabilia in the sale.  Books about travel are also highly sought after and perhaps the most interesting is Lot 719, 17 volumes of the Works of Jonathan Swift, published in Dublin in 1767, expected to realise between £3,000 and 4,000.

A bureau from Paxford, previously used to house some of the books, should buck the trend in recent prices for this form of desk.  Constructed in rosewood, perhaps Huanghuali, it is a piece of Chinese export furniture probably made in Canton in the 19th Century but in the English style.  The undersides of the small bureau drawers bear Chinese characters denoting where each should be placed.  Chinese export furniture is gaining a good following with interest both from UK collectors and mainland China.  Lot 384 this piece carries a pre-sale estimate of £1,000-1,500.

Another Odling association with the water represented in the sale are two Rowing Blades won by Thomas Odling’s father, William, in the Worcester College Eights, 1898 and 1899; found in a garden shed and in a rather distressed state they are still expected to realise £200-300, Lot 965.

The auction will take place at Chorley's saleroom on Wednesday 22 & Thursday 23 July, with free online bidding for those who cannot attend in person.



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