Cash in the Attic: A time capsule of treasures from past century at Dunrobin Castle to be auctioned

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Dunrobin Castle in Ivergordon, Scotland


They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Now, the Earl of Sutherland is set to auction pieces long forgotten in his attic for that very reason, with countless items offering a social history of life in Britain, and in particular, the running of a great house.

Paintings and wooden boxes


Having recently inherited the family seat in 2019, (he narrowly pipped his twin brother Martin to the post, by virtue of being born a few minutes earlier), the Earl is now selling items including historic photographs and portraits (including a portrait of the Duke of Brunswick by Jan van Ravesteyn valued between £8,000-£12,000); a collection of 18th century firearms; busts and sculptures; as well as everyday objects that will provide much joy to social historians. These include foot baths, chamber pots, crested dinner services, tiered oyster holders and the like.

Marble busts


‘The Dunrobin Attic Sale provides a glorious opportunity to purchase a piece of history from one of Scotland’s grandest and most historic castles,’ said Charlie Thomas, director of house sales. ‘Many of the items have been hidden away in Dunrobin Castle for generations and never been seen on the open market before. They provide a wonderful snapshot of what it was like to live both upstairs – and downstairs – in the Highlands’ premier ducal palace.’

A large collection of tartan ware


Managing Director of Bonhams in Scotland, Charles Graham-Campbell added: ‘Attic sales are always very popular, and the Dunrobin Attic Sale has everything – great provenance, fascinating items and of course a rare glimpse into a way of life, now long vanished.

‘I am sure that many members of Clan Sutherland around the world and indeed ex-patriot Scots everywhere will be eager to take part in the sale. We are very much looking forward to what promises to be the highlight of our spring season.’

Stacks of gilt picture frames


The sale is set to take place at Bonhams in April.

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