THE PROPERTY OF THE 7th EARL OF HAREWOOD’S WILL TRUST, SOLD BY ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES
(LOTS 4, 25, 26, 38, 45, and 46)
Harewood House was built from 1759 for Edwin Lascelles (1712/13-1795), later 1st Baron Harewood, by the architect John Carr (1723-1807). With interiors by the fashionable Robert Adam (1728-1792), the house sits in one thousand acres of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783) gardens. ‘I would not exceed the limits of expense that I have always set myself’, Edwin Lascelles wrote to Adam in the 1760s, ‘Let us do everything properly and well, mais pas trop’ (N.R. Jones, The Architecture of England, Scotland and Wales, West Port and London, 2005, p. 133). In spite of Baron Harewood’s valiant attempt at economy, when construction finished in 1772, Harewood, with its imposing Palladian façade, elegant Neo-classical interiors and bespoke Chippendale furniture, was the very apogee of mid-eighteenth century extravagance. The house remained in its original Palladian form until 1843, when Henry Lascelles, the 3rd Earl of Harewood, employed the services of Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) to make extensive renovations. Barry, then at the height of his career and simultaneously engaged with the designs for the Palace of Westminster, adapted Carr’s design, adding an extra storey, a terrace and dressed the southern façade with the unmistakable trappings of the Italian Palazzo.
Beginning in the eighteenth century with Edwin Lascelles’ close collaboration with cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), Harewood’s vast collection reflects the diverse and discerning taste of successive generations. Edward Lascelles (1740-1820), later Viscount Lascelles and the 1st Earl of Harewood, who succeeded Edwin in 1796, acquired a great many portraits by contemporary English masters, among them paintings by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). The first Earl’s son, also Edward Lascelles (1764-1812), later Viscount Lascelles, was a talented amateur water-colourist, and it was no doubt due to his passion that Harewood acquired a fine collection of English watercolours. Several views of the house and its gardens by J.W.M. Turner and Thomas Girtin, the latter favoured by the family, were executed in situ, with both artist visiting the estate on numerous occasions.
The major part of the collection of Old Master drawings was only assembled in the early twentieth century by Henry Lascelles (1882-1947) who would become the 6th Earl of Harewood in 1929. Advised by the distinguished Renaissance scholar and dealer, Tancred Borenius (1885-1948), Lascelles acquired, via the dealer Agnew, important drawings at the Pembroke (1917), Poynter (1918) and Northwick (1921; the drawings by Cossiers, Claude, and Watteau in the present sale [lots 38, 45, and 46] were acquired at that auction ) sales. Very few acquisitions are documented after 1921 with the notable exception of a magnificent study by Pietro da Cortona in the 1936 Oppenheimer sale and of the two drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo included in the present sale bought at auction in 1938. The collection, which was never large in number, constituted mostly of Italian drawings with a predilection for the Venetian school (it included, for example, major sheets by Carpaccio, Titian, and Veronese). Forty drawings from Harewood were sold in these rooms on 6 July 1965 (lots 115-148).