No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Beriah Botfield was a collector of wide ranging interests. His father, Beriah Botfield Senior, was the third of the three sons of Thomas Botfield (1736-1803), a successful industrialist with collieries in Flintshire and Shropshire. The oldest son, Thomas, bought Hopton Court, Ludlow. William, the second son, inherited Decker Hall in Shifnal and Beriah Senior inherited Norton Hall, near Daventry in Northamptonshire. He went on to make his own fortune, following his purchase of the mineral rights of the Shropshire Clee Hills in 1780. Beriah Junior was only six when his father died, leaving him to be brought up by his mother, Charlotte, daughter of the celebrated botanist, Dr. William Withering. It was as a pupil at Harrow that Botfield started collecting books. At first his interest was confined to botany but his interests widened, after going up to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1824, to include the Natural Sciences. His mother died when Botfield was twenty-one, leaving the young Beriah with Norton Hall and a large fortune. This was swelled over the years by the inheritance of both his uncles' houses, Decker Hall in 1851 and Hopton Court in 1856. Armed with such a fortune, Botfield became an important collector, not only of books, but also manuscripts, minerals, natural history specimens, old master pictures, arms and armour and furniture, most of which were housed at his principal home, Norton Hall.
Norton Hall had been bought by his grandfather, Thomas Botfield, in 1800. Nine years later, the medieval manor house was extensively remodelled and enlarged by his son, Beriah Botfield Senior, who consulted Humphrey Repton. Repton's plans for both the park and the house seem largely to have been ignored, and a large Tudor Gothic mansion rose up, to be altered again by Beriah Junior. In order to house his ever-growing collection of books, Beriah Junior commissioned the London and Lancaster firm of Gillows to make Gothic mahogany bookcases, a style appropriate to his antiquarian interests, many of which were rooted in the 18th Century. Gillows had already supplied furniture to his uncle, Thomas Botfield, for Hopton Court. A sketch for a mahogany breakfront bookcase with scrolled pediment appears in their Estimate Sketch Books for 1814 (no. 1966, Westminster City Archives). It is likely that his father, Beriah Senior was also a client of Gillows, as both the library table (lot 422) and suites of chairs (lots 420, 421 and 423) are undoubtedly by the firm. Beriah Junior's name appears regularly in the Estimate Sketch Books between 1829 and 1837, with no fewer that twelve sketches for bookcases, some in oak and the Gothic patterns in mahogany. Indeed by 1863, when an inventory was taken by Gillow & Co., there was a total of thirty-four bookcases and cabinets at Norton! Other sketches for Beriah Junior include one for a grand mahogany Gothic library table and another for a commode, both designed en suite with large Gothic bookcases (nos. 3723-3726 and 3771), all listed in the 1863 inventory. It is clear from the Gillows' archives, and from this inventory, that Gillows furnished the bedrooms and no doubt the rest of the house. The billiard table, made in 1828 by Gillows, together with cue-stands and cues, has now found a suitable home in the Gillow Museum in the Judges' Lodgings Museum in Lancaster (see H. Mallalieu, 'Potted History', Country Life, 23 March 1989, pp. 200-201). An early interior photograph of the entrance hall gives a glimpse of how the house must have appeared during Beriah's tenure. Trophies of arms and armour line the walls, in a manner reminiscent of Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford, while oak cabinets contain his collection of swords and guns, all confirmed by the 1863 Inventory.
In picture collecting, Botfield's taste was for Dutch Old Masters. He acquired most of his pictures between 1841 and 1848, buying widely in London, Paris and Holland. As he wrote in his own privately published catalogue: 'This collection has been formed with the sole intention of adding to the comforts of an English home, the additional luxury of "walls hung with thoughts"'. It is these paintings that form the basis of the pictures that are being offered in this sale (Friday, 14 June, see separate catalogue).
The importance of Beriah Botfield in the history of book collecting has only recently come to light. A member of the Roxburghe Club, the exclusive bibliophile club, and other notable societies, his interests lay in tandem themes. In the first he was firmly influenced by accepted tastes of the day, favouring the finest and rarest early printed books and manuscripts, editions principes, Caxtons, Aldines, Greek printing, and printing on vellum, but he also began acquiring books in the growing new fields of travel and natural history. In his purchases he was assisted in great part by the services of Payne and Foss, of 81 Pall Mall, leading booksellers of their day. In 1830 Botfield had already set up his own printing press at Norton Hall to publish his own projects and the many contributory works he made to the literary and historical societies to which he belonged. One of his publications was the fruit of his research into his own family hiostry, Stemmata Botevilliana. First published in 1843, he later expanded it in 1858 to include his connection with the Thynne family (originally 'Botevile de la Inne'), and their shared descent from Sir Geoffrey Boteville who came over from Poitou to assist King John in his wars with the barons.
Between 1840 and 1863, Botfield sat on and off as MP for Ludlow, as well as performing his duties as a Deputy-Lieutenant for the county. In 1858, he married Isabella Leighton, daughter of a fellow MP, Sir Baldwin Leighton, Bt., only to die five years later. Botfield left Norton Hall to Isabella for her lifetime, with instructions that it should then pass to the family of the Marquess of Bath, thereby reuniting the two branches of the ancient 'Boteville' family. Although Isabella remarried, it was not until her death in 1911 that Norton passed to Lord Alexander Thynne. He was killed in the First World War, so it then passed to his sister Lady Beatrice Thynne. Following her death in 1941, Norton passed to her nephew, Viscount Weymouth, later 6th Marquess of Bath when some of the contents were moved to Longleat, the remainder being sold in a house sale by Pierce, Thorpe & Marriott of Northampton in 1947. The house itself was demolished in 1952. Botfield gave his collection of British minerals to the Royal Collection at Dresden and his collection of stuffed birds he donated to the Natural History Museum at Brussels. Many of Botfield's books are include in this sale (the afternoon session on Thursday 13 June).