Photo credit: HillcroftDave
The contents of Blair Castle are going up for auction next year – and people are getting rather excited about it.
The castle, located in Edinburgh, was sold in November to a member of the Tory party (an energy minister, no less) for somewhere around £2.5 million. The castle dates back 900 years and was purchased by the Westminster-based politician Charles Hendry and his wife Sallie – but the couple aren’t interested in the castle’s contents.
The transaction in the first place raised enough controversy, with Mr Hendry being accused of hypocrisy as an energy minister whose new property will require lots of energy to heat and run. “We have pledged to be the greenest government ever. We must lead by example. We are not asking others to do things we will not do ourselves,” he declared last September.
Talking to the Sussex Express last week, he said:
“This is a business project, not just a home. Blair is already a well-established events venue. My wife has been in the industry for 30 years, and I am very pleased that she is starting a new business venture in the UK in difficult economic times, which will provide jobs in an area which badly needs them, which is also in the part of Scotland where my father’s family came from. In view of my responsibilities, I will not be involved in the business and this matter will therefore not affect my work as MP for Wealden or as Energy Minister. There is work still to be done to complete the renovation of Blair. This will include works to improve its energy efficiency, which will again create local jobs.”
Now they own the castle, the couple are getting ever more attention for their decision to auction off the innards. 1,000 odd objects from Blair Castle will go to the highest bidder in March next year, in an auction that will feature everything from 19th Cenruty Irish chairs (£25,000 apiece) to James Howe’s painting, The Last Of The Leith Races (expected to fetch a cool £15,000).
For auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, they consider the Blair castle sale Europe’s most exciting auction of the year. “This will be one of the most exciting sales of 2012, as all the items in the sale including antiques, paintings, silver and books are fresh to the market. We have 900 years of history for sale,” a spokesperson told the Associated Press.