The Sale and Break-up of the Estate

1948-1950

“I am sure we are all sorry to know it has come to the day now when, unfortunately, there are very few who, owing to the heavy burden of taxation, are able to keep up an establishment of this sort” – Mr Price, Auctioneer for Messers W. R. J. Greenslade & Co., comments to the crowd of 200 bidders and interested parties at the opening of the auction in 1950.

Educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, Lord Wharton served in World War II as Flight Lieutenant RAFVR. A confirmed bachelor, he was wed to the four times married Lady Tredegar, Joanna, née Law-Smith in 1967, just two years before his death. Lord Wharton gifted a large quantity of the family portraits and other paintings to his very great friend Major Malcolm Munthe. Both men died without issue and Lord Wharton’s ashes are said to have been scattered in the gardens of Major Munthe’s London house, Southside, Wimbledon. That house and its contents are held in trust as is the Munthe’s country residence St. Helen’s in Hertfordshire. Both are open to the public and the Halswell family paintings that Lord Wharton did not put up for sale in 1948 and 1950 can be seen there today. These include the entire portrait series that once hung in the great Saloon in the north wing of Halswell, as well as two eighteenth-century topographical views of the house from the north and a quantity of other seventeenth-century portraits by notables such as Sir Peter Lely and William Hogarth.

The 8th Lord Wharton died in 1934, leaving the dowager Lady Wharton to continue to live at Halswell until her death in 1944. Her son, the 9th Baron seems to have continued to live in his London house at 51 Burton Street, Mayfair, and France where he died in 1969.

Sale newspaper

Newspaper clipping of the Sale

The sale catalogues speak for themselves and are a poignant record of the house, its contents and the larger estate. Each can be seen in full here:

1948 Sales Catalogue

Sotheby’s 17th November 1948 Sale of Paintings

1948 Sales Catalogue

Tamlyn & Son – 2-9th December 1948. Sale of the residual house contents.

1950 Sales Catalogue

W. R. J. Greenslade & Co. – 11th May 1950. Sale of the Estate

-RB 

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