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The origins of the demesne of Scone are wreathed in antiquity and romance. The ancient 'crowning' seat of the Kings of Dalriada was brought to Scone, the holy place and capital of Pictavia by Kenneth MacAlpin, King of the Gaels or Scots from the West when he established successfully his claim to the Pictish Kingdom through his grandmother, the Princess Alba in 843 A.D. On that stone, the 'Stone of Destiny' succeeding monarchs of the union of Scots and Picts, were made King until Edward I removed the 'Stone' (or a copy of it) to Westminster Abbey in 1296. The last king to be crowned at Scone was Charles II in 1651, the last monarch to be crowned on the Stone of Destiny - the Stone of Scone - was our present Queen - Elizabeth II, fifty-seventh successor to Kenneth MacAlpin. The first monastic community was founded at Scone in the 7th Century by the Culdees, servants of God and followers of St. Columba. In 1040 Macbeth was crowned at Scone and his castle was in the grounds there. Contrary to his portrayal by Shakepeare, Macbeth ruled wisely and well for seventeen years until slain by Malcolm III.
In 1210 the first Parliament was held at Scone thus establishing a custom by which the laws of Scotland were promulgated at Scone until the 1450s. Ninety-six years later Robert the Bruce was crowned twice at Scone with a simple gold circlet as Edward I had removed the coronation regalia of Scotland as well as the stone in 1296. In 1559 despite the personal intervention of John Knox, Scone Abbey, re-founded as an Augustinian priory by Alexander I in 1114, was sacked when an overzealous 'ritous mob of Dundee pillage(d) and burn(t) it' - thus overturning a community that had existed in one form or another for some nine centuries! Though Shakepeare's grasp of Scottish history was slight, he recognised the symbolic significance of Scone as the heart of Scotland 'So thanks to all at once, and to each, whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone'. (Macbeth, Act 5 scene 8)
In 1580 the lands of Scone Abbey were given to Lord Ruthven of Huntingtower who rebuilt the Abbey Palace and became Earl of Gowrie in 1581. In 1600 the Gowries were disgraced for their alleged conspiracy against James VI and Scone was granted to Sir David Murray of Gospetrie, Master of the Horse, Captain of the Guard and Cup-Bearer to the King - in whose family the lands and Abbey Palace remain. The lineage of Sir David, who was created Lord Scone in 1604 and later Viscount Stormont, was distinguished and ancient. He was descended from Freskin, son of Oleg, Lord of Duffus in Murray circa 1130 through the feudal Murray Barons of Tullibardine, the ancestors of the Earls of Mansfield and Mansfield and the Dukes of Atholl. Sir David was son of Sir Andrew Murray of Balvaird and Janet, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Montrose. Viscount Stormont died in 1631 without children, having obtained a special remainder of his titles to various members of the Murray family in succession, both the 2nd and 3rd Viscounts - the latter was the Second Earl of Annandale (1st creation) - died childless and in 1658 David Murray, 2nd Lord Balvaird succeeded as 4th Viscount Stormont and 4th Lord Scone. The 5th Viscount died in 1731 having had fourteen children of whom the 3rd son, William Murray is the most significant, though the second son James Murray - the Jacobite Earl of Dunbar, was an interesting intellectual figure in his own right who had joined James Stewart, the Old Pretender in exile in Rome and had become Governer of the household of Bonnie Prince Charles, the Young Pretender, at Palazzo Muti. He was private secretary to Lord Bolingbroke during his Jacobite phase and was involved in his writings on philosophy and politics.
William Murray was born at Scone in 1705 - unlike his older brothers and perhaps at the time of dynastic uncertainty as a deliberate ploy - and was educated at Westminster and Oxford. A staunch Hanoverian and a dazzingly brilliant lawyer, 'silver-tongued Murray' advanced the family fortune and honour, becoming Lord Chief Justice and a Baron in 1756, Earl of Mansfield in Nottingham in 1776 and Earl of Mansfield in Middlesex in 1792. Upon William's accession to the peerage, Lady Elizabeth Hatton, his wife and daughter of the Earl of Winchelsea, wrote to David, 7th Viscount Stormont, his nephew: 'The Title is dolce, the Motto is bien choisis and the Promotion Universally applauded...' The motto was 'Uni Aequus Virtuti' (Faithful unto Virtue alone). Among the advice imparted by the great lawyer was that given to a new Colonial Governor 'Consider what you think justice requires and decide accordingly. But never give your reasons: for your judgement will probably be right, but your reasons will certainly be wrong.' His judgements were ground-breaking and not always popular:- he declared that slave owners had no rights over their slaves on English soil, that Habeas Corpus applied to slaves on English soil. In 1780 the mob burnt his house in Bloomsbury, destroying his magnificent library as a protest against his even-handed treatment of Catholics and Quakers and marched on his great seat in Hampstead, Kenwood House, bought from the 3rd Earl of Bute in 1754, but were dispersed.
Kenwood enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Hampstead Heath. It had been remodelled for Lord Mansfield by a fellow Scot, Robert Adam from 1764 to 1779. The magnificent suite of reception rooms culminates, appropriately in the light of the achievements of his patron, with the Library, the 'Great Room' - one of the finest interiors created by that distinguished architect. In 1922 the house was sold and though much was sold at the auction that year a quantity of furniture returned to Scone and this sale includes lots from Kenwood, another remarkable provenance. A few pieces come from Comlongon Castle, Clarencefield, Dumfriesshire, the ancient fortress restored and enlarged as a summer residence in the 1880s, while a group of oriental pieces belonged to the Hon. Sir Lancelot Carnegie, G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G., P.C., son of the 9th Earl of Southesk and father of Dorothea, 7th Countess of Mansfield and Mansfield. He was credited to the Legation in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.
Lord Stormont was attached to the Paris Embassy in 1751 and became Envoy-Extraordinary to Saxony and Poland at Dresden four years later. His ambassadorial career was very distinguished, both in Vienna 1763 - 1722 and Paris 1772 - 1778. He was a well respected man of learning and sharp wit - a noted connoisseur responsible for significant additions to the family collections and modest improvements to Scone noting that it 'can never be made tolerable habitation without immense expense which it can never deserve.' Lord Stormont had met Marie-Antoinette when Ambassador at the Court of her mother, Empress Marie-Theresa of Austria, and he taught the young Louis XVI and his wife Scottish dancing - no doubt to the bemusement of the French court!
Fortunately David, 3rd Earl of Mansfield in Middlesex (whose mother had suceeded to the earlier earldom of Mansfield in 1793 upon the death of the Lord Chief Justice and first Earl by one of those special remainders much loved by the Murrays and who outlived her son, thus it was her grandson who became 4th Earl of Mansfield in Middlesex and 3rd Earl of Mansfield in Nottingham) took a different view and employed William Atkinson, a pupil of James Wyatt, to rebuild the Palace in the gothic style to reflect the monastic origins of the medieveal house. It is surely fitting that it was Atkinson who built Abbotsford for that great champion of Scotland Sir Walter Scott and worked for that most celebrated connoisseur, the 6th Duke of Devonshire at Lismore Castle from 1812 - 1822. Atkinson also worked at the Earl's residences in London, Portland Place and Kenwood House. The great works at Scone included the removal of the village, originally a few hundred yards to the east of the Palace to a new site two miles away, and in 1808 the Earl noted 'I am happy to say that much as this place has cost me (some £60,000) and much as it still will cost me, the place more than answers our expectation'. He noted that his folly had the advantage of giving the family 'a handsome and agreeable residence.' The new Palace, and imposing castellated building of red sandstone is the first gothic house of symmetrical form. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding between foremen and architect much more of the Abbey Palace was pulled down than had been the original intention and the ancient origins of the present Palace are not immediately apparent. Atkinson undertook much of the decoration and furnishings of the 'new' Palace and worked there on and off until around 1821. The family archive includes a large amount of documented material including designs for furniture and sundry bills in Atkinson's hand (see lots 397 to 416). The last dated Atkinson design is recorded in 1821.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed at Scone in September 1842 on their way to the Highlands, and enjoyed a demonstration of curling in the Long Gallery. New furniture was commissioned in Perth for the Dining Room for the visit that remains in place. In 1939 the Palace was requisitioned by the government and though the family returned in 1958, the contents of the Attics and the two Gothic Rooms have lain largely undisturbed for nearly half a century. The lustre of the State Rooms at Scone Palace is undiminished by this sale, they retain in large measure the important collections of the 7th Viscount Stormont and his descendents, including the 4th Earl. The unique atmosphere of this Palace, where romance and enchantment are interwoven with the very stones, has not changed much since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Scone in 1842. There is much to inspire and excite collectors in many diverse ways and the opportunity to acquire a significant work of art or a souvenir from this great scottish house should not be missed. The disperal heralds an exciting new era for the hundred thousand or so visitors who come to Scone Palace each year. It will enable the Gothic rooms to be refurbished and the visitor route around - perhaps Scotland's most venerable and romantic house - to be expanded.
William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, the fourth son of the fifth Viscount Stormont left the family seat, Scone Palace, when he was thirteen, never to return. He married Lady Elizabeth Finch, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea, in 1738. In 1754 Murray was appointed Attorney General and in the same year he purchased Kenwood from John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. As his political master, Bute would have advised Murray of the advantages of a suburban villa in which to recieve influential guests. On 2nd September 1759, the Duke of Newcastle wrote to Mansfield 'I will wait upon you at Kenwood and spend the evening there. But I beg we may have a warm room'. Mansfield's need for a grand reception room, a fashionable dining room and extra bedrooms must have become apparent, for this is essentially what he commissioned Robert Adam to design five years later. In his published Works, Robert Adam was later to pay tribute to 'Lord Mansfield, the friend of every elegant art and useful science'. William Murray had not enjoyed the benefits of the customary 'Grand Tour', due partly to his estrangement from his family at an early age, and partly to his determination to rise as a lawyer without private means. Consequently he had not formed a collection of classical sculptures and old master paintings. Nevertheless, he became a great bibliophile, and so asked Robert Adam to add a library, rather than a gallery, to house his collection at Kenwood. Furniture was initially supplied by William France, and then through Robert Adam. The only surviving record of Thomas Chippendale's work at Kenwood is supplying 'looking glass' under the direction of Adam, although a pembroke table (lot 250) and a polescreen (lot 254) in the present sale, both believed to have been at Kenwood, are stylistically very close to Chippendales's work.
When David Murray, 7th Viscount Stormont, succeeded his uncle in 1793 he swiftly set about enlarging Kenwood. He employed the landscape painter Julius Caesar Ibbetson as 'artist in residence', and George Saunders, whose work at Kenwood is in the spirit of Adam. David William Murray succeeded as the 3rd Earl of Mansfield in 1796 and substantial restoration and redecoration was undertaken by William Atkinson from 1815 to 1817, at the same time as he was undertaking work at Scone Palace. William David Murray, 4th Earl of Mansfield succeeded his father in 1840 and spent three months of each year at Kenwood, preferring to spend his time at Scone Palace. Kenwood enjoyed a new lease of life under the 5th Earl, who was known as 'The most eligible bachelor in London', and who entertained on a grand scale. But only eight years after inheriting the family titles and estates he died suddenly. His brother, Alan David Murray, the 6th Earl, followed his father in preferring to live at Scone, and Kenwood ended its days as a family home by being let to tenants. Grand Duke Michael Michaelovitch signed a twenty-one year lease on the furnished house and moved in with his family in 1910. The Grand Duke however, lost his brother and his fortune in the Russian Revolution and surrendered the remaining years of his lease. The Mansfield's last tenant was Nancy Leeds, who left Kenwood in 1920 to marry Prince Christopher of Greece. Following the end of the First World War, the 6th Earl of Mansfield received several offers for the estate and despite various campaigns to save Kenwood the contents were sold at auction by C.B. King from 6-10th November 1922. In 1924 the house and 74 acres were acquired by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and a new chapter in the history of Kenwood began to unfold.
AN EXPLANATION OF INVENTORY MARKS AND LABELS