The 163 cigars contained in this oak cigar cabinet were purchased during the 1850s by the present Duke's Great Great Grandfather, Walter Francis, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and 6th Duke of Queensberry (1806-1884). Walter Francis had a long and distinguished life. When only 13, he inherited some half a million acres of land, mostly in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott was a strong personal influence during his early life and assisted the young Duke in hosting King George IV at Dalkeith Palace on the King's first visit to Scotland in 1822. He was well acquainted with the highest-placed and most influential politicians in the land and was celabrated for the sumptuous hospitality in the grand manner he offered his numerous house-guests.
It was however in the field of farming and forestry that he left a most lasting mark. As one of the most forward thinking and enlightened landowners of the time, he provided his 500 tenants with majestic farmhouses and steadings; he proved to be a gifted landscape architect in the creation of new woodlands. He financed the building of a new harbour for Edinburgh at Granton with no expectation of commercial reward and for this, and many other good deeds, he was commemorated by a fine statue which stands in Edinburgh's most important square, outside St. Giles cathedral. He was a very active horseman, with his own pack of foxhounds, and with such a physique that he thought nothing of riding 30 miles before and after a days hunting, between Dalkeith and his kennels at St. Boswells. He was an avid collector of works of art which today still testify to his good taste in the family house Bowhill in Selkirk which he built, as well as in Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Boughton House, Northamptonshire. Dalkeith Palace, a few miles from Edinburgh was one of the principal Scottish seats of Walter Francis. The house was virtually rebuilt around the ancient Douglas Castle by Anne, Duchess of Monmouth and first embellished by the great craftsmen of the day. Carrara marble chimney pieces enhanced the oak-panelled rooms and a marble relief by Grinling Gibbons decorated Duchess Anne's room. With the addition of magnificent pictures, furniture, tapestries and other works of art, Dalkeith was undoubtedly the most splendidly furnished house of the period in Scotland. As previously mentioned, George IV and later, Queen Victoria numbered amongst his many guests. The family continued to use Dalkeith Palace as one of their Scottish residences until the outbreak of the First World War.
Little is known about the 5th Duke's cigar-smoking habits apart from the fact that he was a man of great discernment. A cigar case to hold two small cigars, given to him by his wife, Charlotte Anne Thynne from Longleat, still survives. The cigars offered here comprise the following:
Vequeros - 1858 4½ inch, good appearance (108) Ring Gauge - 34
Regalia - 1856 3¾ inch, good appearance, 1 slightly damaged (28) Ring Gauge - 26
Murray - 1857 5¾ inch, dry, flaking wrappers (20) Ring Gauge - 36
Colerados - 1858 4¾ inch, good appearance, 1 part missing, 1 slightly flaking (7) Ring Gauge - 38
Quantity of each shown in brackets
The cabinet and cigars were recently discovered in a store-room at Bowhill. The upper tray of the cabinet was empty and it is believed the contents of the lower tray pictured here may have been overlooked as a result. Whatever the precise circumstances may have been, the ambient conditions of the storage have proved, fortunately, to be ideal for the long-term preservation of the cigars. With the present Duke's kind consent, Christie's arranged for one of the Vequeros to be smoked and appraised by a noted international cigar expert. "Rich, oily flavours, an aromatic, perfumed but full-bodied smoke". Although it cannot be guaranteed, alas no purchase record survives in the Dalkeith archives, we believe these cigars to be of Cuban origin. The names, appearance and qualities of the cigars taken in conjunction with the 5th Duke's undoubted good taste and considerable wealth all support this belief. The cabinet itself, made by "Hudson the Tobacconist - Importer of Foreign Snuffs and Tobaccos" is believed to post-date the actual cigars by some 50 years, being early Twentieth Century
Above 163 cigars per lot