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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
House and contents may fetch 20m
Dumfries House and its contents have been put up for sale

About 20m is expected to be made from the sale of a historic home of the Earl of Dumfries and its contents.

Dumfries House, in Ayrshire, has been put up for sale by its owner the Marquess of Bute at a price of 6.75m.

The house's contents, which include some of the finest pieces of furniture made by Thomas Chippendale, are expected to make more than 12m.

One bookcase alone is hoped to fetch up to 4m which would be a record price for a piece of British furniture.

Johnny Bute, 48, who was a Formula One racing driver under the name Johnny Dumfries, first announced his intention to sell Dumfries House three years ago.

He said he wanted to restructure his family's finances and concentrate on his family home - Mount Stuart - on the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde.

Dumfries House sale items
6.75m Dumfries House
4m bookcase (above)
1m oval mirrors
800,000 overmantel mirror
600,000 dining chairs
500,000 card tables

A statement from the marquess added that he hoped the sale would be beneficial to the communities of Cumnock, Auchinleck and East Ayrshire.

Dumfries House was designed and built by John, Robert and James Adam between 1754 and 1759 for William, the 5th Earl of Dumfries.

The last member of the Bute family to live in the house was Eileen, Dowager Marchioness of Bute, who died in 1993.

The property's furniture comprises some of Chippendale's most outstanding pieces.

It includes a George II bookcase which is expected to sell for between 2m and 4m.

The current sale record for British furniture is held by The Anglesey Desk, sold at Christie's for 1.76m in 1993.

Distinguished house

Charles Cator, deputy chairman of Christie's International, said the sale of the contents of Dumfries House was a significant one.

"Christie's have a proud tradition of offering works of art from distinguished houses and collections," he said.

"The importance of this auction ranks alongside the historic landmark sales of the past, such as Longleat, Houghton and Wentworth."

The furniture sale will take place in London on 12 and 13 July while the house is being sold by estate agents Savills.

Historic houses to auction items
19 Mar 07 |  Tayside and Central
Longleat auction raises 27m
14 Jun 02 |  Arts


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