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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
Coleridge heirlooms auctioned off
A portrait of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Rare portraits of Coleridge and William Wordsworth were up for sale
An auction of the contents of a house which belonged to the family of Samuel Taylor Coleridge raised nearly 1.5m.

Auctioneer Sotheby's said there was international interest in the sale at The Chanter's House in Ottery St Mary, where the poet was a frequent visitor.

Director of house sales Harry Dalmeny said potential bidders from the United States and Turkey were among 1,300 people who had viewed the 492 lots.

The sale included two undiscovered water paintings by John Constable.

Other artworks in the auction included a painting by Joseph Severn which shows Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as well as rare portraits of William Wordsworth and Coleridge himself.

Sadly the upkeep of a house like this in the 21st Century demands incredibly deep pockets
Harry Dalmeny

The day-long auction at The Chanter's House on Tuesday raised a total of 1,488,333.

The highest price of 84,000, including the buyer's premium, was paid for Charles and Sir Edwin Landseer's Portrait of the Children of Reverend Edward Coleridge.

The Chanter's House, described by Sotheby's as "a real time capsule of 19th Century life", has been home to seven generations of the Coleridge family living, including two High Court judges, a Lord Chief Justice and an executive secretary of Nato.

The house was bought by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's older brother in 1796, and Samuel himself was a frequent visitor.

The current Lord Coleridge who was born in the house, said the reason for the sale was financial. The house itself has already been sold for an undisclosed fee.

Mr Dalmeny said the sale has been a "humbling" process.

"The Coleridge family knows this house and they know its contents so intimately and all these family portraits are of their family and friends.

"When discussing them, these people come alive because they know the story of how they lived in this house.

"I think the family will miss it horribly but sadly the upkeep of a house like this in the 21st Century demands incredibly deep pockets," he added.

In August, the British Library bought a huge archive of papers belonging to the romantic poet.

In Pictures: Coleridge heirlooms
24 Oct 06 |  In Pictures
Library secures Coleridge archive
21 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
'Coleridge's' marina up for sale
26 Apr 04 |  Somerset


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