auction catalogues, 1832

This page includes:

  • Introduction
  • Advert for the auction of the house and grounds
  • Catalogue of the auction for the house and grounds
  • Another advert for the auction of the house and grounds
  • Summary of the auction catalogue for the contents

The buildings and land were sold by Mr Robins of Covernt Garden, London in one lot on the 28th June, 1832.
An advert for the auction was published in North Wales Chronicle 29.5.1832, The Times, 16.6.1832
It is said that Miss Lolly and Miss Andrew paid £1,400 for the house and grounds.
Mavor, E., The Ladies of Llangollen, (1971, 1973), p. 195

The contents were auctioned over 6 days, Monday 13th to Monday 20th August, 1832
An advert was published in The Cambrian [newspaper], 14 July 1832; 28 July 1832; 4 August 1832; North Wales Chronicle, July 17, 1832 and details were published in the auction catalogue.
The sale of the contents of the house raised £2013 6s 6d according to Mrs Hughes (The Grandmother of the Author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays
Mavor, E., The Ladies of Llangollen, (1971, 1973), 195-196, based on a manuscript in a private collection.

1832

Advert for the auction.
In the Vale of Llangollen, the most beautiful spot in North Wales.
MR GEORGE ROBINS has extreme gratification in announcing that it has been his good fortune to be directed by the executors of the Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby to offer for unreserved competition, on Thursday June 28, the LITTLE PARADISE, so long hallowed as the abode of friendship.
Mr Robins feels than an apology will be due to all those who are familiar with its beauties and peculiarities for the very imperfect recital which follows, while those who are yet to be gratified with a sight of it may imagine he has drawn upon “fancy’s sketch”. There is nothing of pretention in its outward form; it indicates but moderately the comfort that presides within inasmuch as a confined space will be found congregated all the agremens pertaining to more consequential habitations.
Considerable tact is conspicuous everywhere, but none more unequivocally displayed than in the lightsome little dining room contrasted with the gloomy yet superior grace of the library into which it opens. This room is fitted up in the Gothic style, the windows are of ancient painted glass “shedding their dim religious light.“ The saloon of the Minervas is the repository of the choice library: the auxiliary offices are very commensurate, the grounds are disposed in such good order as is the natural consequence of pure taste: the kitchen garden is neatness itself and the fruit trees are of the rarest and finest sort, and luxuriant in their produce. The wary and shaded gravel walk which encircles this elysium I enriched with curious and rare shrubs and flowers; it is nothing in extent, but everything in grace and beauty, united with great variety of foliage.
In one part is a small knoll, which overhand a deep and narrow glen, in its tangled bottom (canopied by a spreading beech) a frothing brook leap and clamours o’er the rough tone in it channel through the vale of Llangollen. To speak of the latter will be quite superfluous; few if any are unacquainted with the wildness and surpassing beauty of the most admired spot in North Wales. Its contiguity to the little romantic village giving the opportunity either to indulge in the gaiety of this place, or recreate in retirement, as shall seem best suited to varied inclination. They are fortunately both auxiliaries to this scene (it had almost been said) of enchantment. The verdant lawns, dotted with rare plants the scenic beauties and the woodland scenery combined, plead in extenuation of this lofty term. The whole is encompassed with rich meadows, and wearing a park-like appearance, although limited to a less space than 5 acres. Particulars will be ready for distribution 28 day prior to the sale, and then had at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury; the inn at Llangollen and Corwen; the Great Hotel Bangor; Waterloo, Liverpool; York House Bath; and at Mr Geo. Robins’ office in Covent-garden.
The Times, 16.6.1832

1832 sale advert

AT LLANGOLLEN,
Of which a more enlarged description will appear on the other side.
IT IS ALL FREEHOLD,
And it need hardly be remarked that it is in the most favoured Spot in
NORTH WALES
Which will be Sold by Auction
BY
Mr. GEORGE ROBINS,
AT THE AUCTION MART, LONDON, On THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 1832, at Twelve ‘o’ Clock,
IN ONE LOT, BY DIRECTION OF THE EXECUTORS.

May be viewed only with Tickets, and Particulars had Twenty-one Days prior to the Sale at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury; the Inns at Llangollen, and Corwen; the Great Hotel, Bangor; Waterloo, Liverpool; York House, Bath; and at Mr. GEORGE ROBINS’s Offices, London.

N.B. The appropriate Furniture, Service of Plate, Elegancies of the Chateau, extensive Library of Books, and all the valuable Appendages, Will be submitted to Public Competition the latter End of the Month of July, by Direction of the Executors.
PARTICULARS, &C.
Mr. ROBINS is not a little proud that it hath been his good fortune to be selected by the Executors of the Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby to direct the sale of their far-famed Domicile. He feels that an apology will be due to all those who are familiar with its beauties and peculiarities, for the very imperfect recital which follows, while those who are yet to be gratified with the sight of it, may imagine he has drawn some little upon “Fancy’ s sketch.” There is nothing of pretension in its outward form, it indicates but moderately the comfort that presides within, inasmuch as will be found congregated all the agremens [sic] pertaining to more consequential habitations. Considerable tact is conspicuous everywhere; but none more unequivocally displayed than in the lightsome little Dining Room, contrasted with the gloomy, yet superior grace of the Library, into which it opens. This room is fitted up in the Gothic style, the Windows are of ancient painted glass “shedding their dim religious light.”
THE SALOON OF THE MINERVAS
Is the repository of the choice Library. The auxiliary Offices are very commensurate, the grounds are disposed in such good order as is the natural consequence of pure taste, the Kitchen Garden is neatness itself, and the Fruit trees are of the rarest and finest sort, and luxuriant in their produce. Many and shaded
GRAVEL WALKS ENCIRCLE THIS ELYSIUM,
Which is adorned with curious and rare Shrubs and Flowers. It is nothing in extent but
EVERYTHING IN GRACE AND BEAUTY,
United with a great variety of foliage. Upon the Freehold is a considerable quantity of valuable Timber which overhangs
A DEEP AND HOLLOW GLEN;
In its entangled bottom, a frothing brook leaps and clamours o’er the rough stones in its channel towards
THE VALE OF LLANGOLLEN.
To speak of the latter would be quite superfluous, few, if any, are unacquainted with the wildness and surpassing beauty of the most admired spot in North Wales. Its contiguity to the little romantic village, giving the opportunity either to indulge in the gaiety of this place, or recreate in retirement, (as shall seem best suited to varied inclination), there are fortunately both auxiliaries to this scene (it had almost been said of enchantment). The verdant Lawns, dotted with rare plants, the scenic beauties, and the woodland scenery combined, plead in extenuation of this lofty tone. The whole is encompassed by rich meadows, wearing a park-like appearance ; held with the freehold, which is limited to less than Five Acres. A truly beautiful Portico of carved Oak leads to this
DOMICILE OF COMFORT.
The whole lower Story of which, on the outside, is covered with the richest carved Oak, and within which will be found a Dining Room 15 feet by 15, with handsome Chimney Piece, and carved Oak Doors and Wainscoting.
A Library, 13 feet by 14 feet 6 inches, with Three Gothic Windows of carved Oak and splendid stained Glass, exhibiting old Armorial Bearings, and forming a Bow Window, handsome Chimney Piece of yellow and white marble, and Recesses fitted up with Gothic Book Cases, and the Doors and Architrave of old carved Oak.
An admirably constructed Kitchen, carved Oak Doors and Window F acia, a very handsome carved Oak Screen and Seat, Grate Ovens, Hearths, Stew Holes, &c.
A Housekeeper’s Room, beautifully fitted up with carved Oak Presses, Oak Doors and Window Frames.
A large Larder with fixed Tables, Hooks, &c. together with an ample Cellar, both so situated as to be perfectly cool in the hottest weather.
Wash-house, Scullery, Coal-house, &c., a Staircase of carved Oak, Walls and Ceilings of the same beautifully ornamented Gothic Architecture. This is one of the most beautiful things that can be conceived.
FIRST FLOOR.
An excellent Bed Room, fixed Book Shelves and carved Oak Door, Chimney Piece and Window Facia, an excellent best Bed Room, Oak Doors, fancy Cornice, and cross Ceiling Beams of carved Oak, a very handsome Chimney Piece of the same. A light Dressing Room and Closet, Gothic carved Oak Doors, &c. fitted up with Book Shelves. Over the Staircase a commodious Pantry, Shelves and Presses for China and Plate, Oak Doors of carved open work. The Sashes of the Windows are all Metal.
ATTIC STORY. Two good Servants’ Rooms, and a Store Room.
The Premises consist of
FOUR GARDENS
In the best order, and well stocked with all kinds of Fruit Trees, Vegetables, and Flowers.
FIVE PASTURE FIELDS
Of the richest Land, well timbered, Rustic Bridges, Summer Houses of richly carved Oak, and Rustic Seats, Cow and Calf-house, Garden-house, Yard,
Store-house, &c. An excellent Engine Pump.
This celebrated Place was the Property, and for more than half a Century the Residence of the late LADY ELEANOR BUTLER AND Miss PONSONBY. It is situated upon a Piece of rich Table Land, just above the Port and Market-town of Llangollen, and commands a View of the Valley of the Dee, both up and down, is close to Valle Crucis, Dinas Bran, and many of the most beautiful Scenes in Wales.
The Taxes are very light.
CONTENTS OF THE FREEHOLD PART OF THE ESTATE.

Owned acres roods Perches
House, Offices, and Shrubbery 0 3 14
Flower Garden 0 0 27
Garden House, Court and Poultry ditto 0 0 12
Part of Lawn 0 3 8
Nursery 0 0 20
Field 2 0 12
total 4 0 13
Rented owner
lawn 1 1 20 Ousley Gore
garden and shrubbery 3 26 Ousley Gore
lawn and flower garden 3 13 Hon. F. West
2 fields and kitchen garden 4 1 30 Hon. Mr Mostyn
field 1 2 16 J. Dicken, Esq
Total 9 0 25
Combined total 13 0 38
[40 perches = 1 rood; 4 roods = I acre]

 Hinklin published the advert and added:
The exaggerated style of this ornate announcement will, doubtless, excite a smile, and we suspect that some of our readers, who know the locality, will laugh outright at the very fanciful stretch of imagination, which led the worthy auctioneer to speak of the “ Port of Llangollen.”
The purchasers of the property were Miss Lolly and Miss Andrew, the present owners and occupiers of Plas Newydd, between whom and the late “Ladies of Llangollen,” an intimate friendship existed.
Hinklin, John, ‘The Ladies of Llangollen, as sketched by many hands; with notices of other objects of interest in that sweetest of vales’, (Chester, 1847), pp. 8-14

1832 Newspaper advert for the sale of the contents.

LLANGOLLEN – North Wales.
>GEORGE ROBINS has the pleasure most respectfully to announce to the Nobility, Lovers of the Fine Arts, and those who delight in objects of interest, and indeed to the Public generally, that having sold “PLASNEWYDD,” he is instructed by the Executors of
THE LADY ELEANOR BUTLER, and MISS PONSONBY,
To offer for unreserved Competition, at the Domicile, so long hallowed as the abode of friendship, on MONDAY, AUGUST 13, and many succeeding days, the following INTERESTING and VALUABLE PROPERTY
appertaining to the Residence, and which for extent, variety, end novelty, forms a most brilliant assemblage, and certainly unexampled in the annals of Auctions they have been congregated by those highly-talented Ladies, the fair “MISSTRESSES of PLASNEWYDD,” during a series of 50 years, aided by their joint taste, and at considerable expense, includes the appropriate and
ELEGANT FURNITURE OF THE CHATEAU,
comprising a dining-room suite in curtains, glasses, centre, card, and occasional tables ottomans, sofas, couches, chairs of various descriptions, yet in unison, whatnots, cheffoniers; the dining-room is very complete there are excellent dining tables, chairs, side- board, writing tables, and library chairs.
A RANGE OF BOOKCASES, AND MANY OBJECTS ELABORATELY CARVED IN OAK;
also a strong box of great antiquity, and carved; it was once the property of his late
ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF YORK.
The furniture of the bedchambers and offices is of a corresponding character; excellent table and bed linen the equipments of the garden are of a very superior description; a variety of seats, curious Etruscan flower vases, garden implements, &c.
A GREENHOUSE OF GREAT BEAUTY,
ornamented with painted and stained glass; an extensive collection of plants, dairy and brewing utensils;
SERVICES OF CHINA AND GLASS,
including rare specimens of Dresden and Sevres in very many complets [sic] sets, for the table, the dejeune, the dessert, &c. &c.
A SIDEBOARD OF PLATE,
comprising many rare chased and antique items; dishes and covers, salvers, waiters, tea and coffee equipages, candlesticks, liquor and cruet frames, spoons, and forks; and a variety of useful articles for the sideboard and table.
JEWELS, JEWELLERY, and ELEGANCIES,
presenting many pleasing and valuable ornaments for the person, necklaces, ear-rings, crosses, and brooches, most of them enclosing the hair of the donors, particularly one of great interest, possessing
A Lock of “MARY, QUEEN of SCOTS” Hair.
INTERESTING MISCELLANIES, CURIOSITIES, AND RELICS, viz.
very fine missals, beautifully illuminated, autographs of numerous renowned personages, particularly a letter written by “CHARLES THE FIRST” to Lady Fisher, from Whitehall, during his confinement, presentation snuff-boxes, many of value, and most with lines of dedication, relics of great antiquity, and many of modern date, presented by travellers, forming altogether a museum of great interest and amusement, several remarkably fine cameos and intaglios,
A MODEL of the WARWICK VASE, in SILVER,
richly chased, most exquisite in workmanship, and PERFECTLY UNIQUE, many curious models, bronze busts, and in Sevres bisquit, elegant musical and other clocks, in ormolu, china essence and flower vases, a large Æolian harp, telescopes, microscopes, &c.
A LIBRARY of RARE and VALUABLE BOOKS,
of vast extent, comprising many thousand volumes elegantly bound, in folio, quarto, and octavo (large and small) but as the prescribed limits of an advertisement preclude the possibility of an enumeration of the principal works, it must suffice to mention that those of the most esteemed ancient and modern authors will be found conspicuous, whilst a variety of interesting works in general use complete the library.
A Series of Etchings- the Power and Progress of Genius, executed by THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH, and presented by her to THE PRINCESS AMELIA;
an Autograph Letter from THE PRESENT KING OF FRANCE:
accompanying Memoirs du Due de Montresor, in scarlet and morocco; a present from the King to Lady Butler and Miss Ponsonby, with many other contributions and valuable presents from persons of the highest rank and literary acquirements, to these highly gifted Ladies.
A few PICTURES, valuable DRAWINGS and PRINTS,
in frames and in portfolios, comprising a collection most choice and valuable, many by the first Artists of the Day, Portraits of Kings, exalted and renowned Characters, and views of the most celebrated Scenery of various Countries; a small quantity of RARE WINES and LIQUEURS, viz Old Port, Sherry. Madeira, Lisbon, Bucellas, Vidonia, Mareschina, Noyeau, Eau de la Reine, and other estimable Liqueurs.
The entire sale will be on view at the Chateau, from the 4th to the 13th of August.
The Catalogues will be ready three weeks prior to the sale; and may be had at 3s. each, at the Villa Philipps’s Hotel, Llangollen; the Lion, Shrewsbury; the Owen Gendower, Crwyn [sic] the Great Hotel, at Bangor; the Waterloo Hotel, Liverpool; the Hen and Chickens, Birmingham the York Hotel, Bath: and at Mr. George Robins’s Offices, Covent Garden, London.
Cambrian [newspaper], 14 July 1832; 28 July 1832; 4 August 1832
Published in Hinklin, John, ‘The Ladies of Llangollen, as sketched by many hands; with notices of other objects of interest in that sweetest of vales’, (Chester, 1847), pp. 15-19

1832 Summary sale catalogue of furniture and fittings

This has a slightly shorter introductory text to that which appeared in full in the newspaper adverts (above), plus 69 additional pages listing the contents of the house and estate buildings.
Day 1
No. 1 Paintings, prints and drawings (125 lots)
No. 2 The wines (10 lots)
No. 3 Service of Glass and china (75 lots)
Day 2
No. 4 A Collection of Valuable Prints (mostly portraits); prints in books (152 lots)
No. 5 Trinkets Jewellery etc. (51 lots)
No. 6 Collection of Drawings, watercolours, pencil or single tints, drawings in books (46 lots)
Day 3
No. 7 Library of books (317 books)
Day 4
No. 7 continued, Library of Books (322 books)
Day 5
No. 7 continued, Library of Books (284 individual books plus 1625 books in bundles of 10 or 50)
[total no. of books: 2550]
Day 6
No. 8 Miscellaneous curiosities (167 lots)
No. 9 Curiosities, Relics, and other interesting matter (52 lots)
Day 7
No. 10 Table and bed linen (33 lots)
No. 11 The Service of Plate (81 lots)
No. 12 Furniture of the Chateau (by room – Dining room, Library, Best Bed Room, Deessing room, Room over kitchen, Housekeeper’s room, Kitchen (78 lots)
No. 13 The Garden, dairy and brewhouse furniture (including the greenhouse, many plants, tools and a large carved stone cistern. (45 lots)
A photostat copy of the full catalogue, annotated, in pencil (sometimes very faintly) and in places with pen, recording the sale prices, NLW ms 9132D
This has ‘Parker, Sweeney’ written on the cover, presumably John Parker, or his sister Mary who sketched the portraits of the Ladies in 1828 and married Baldwin Leighton in 1832. The catalogue was annotated with prices of many of the items in pen or pencil.
Copy of a sale catalogue, Plas Newydd, Llangollen, 1832, Denbighshire Archives, DRO NTD/272

The furniture sold at the sale of Plas Newydd, Llangollen, suggests opulence and comfort rather than the museum-like atmosphere of Hafod. It included a singularly curious strong box or chest of very richly carved oak, once the property of the late Duke of York; A Sofa with cushions; A very curious India cabinet of ebony, inlaid with ivory containing many drawers; A pair of arm-chairs of carved mahogany, with stuffed cushions covered with blue printed calico; Ditto; Three mahogany Chairs Gothic pattern, seats stuffed with hair and covered with leather; Two black chairs, Gothic pattern, black leather seats; Two mahogany What-Nots; A large octagon Mahogany Library Table, covered with blue cloth, containing eight drawers; A smaller oblong table with drawer; Two mahogany work tables; A very handsome Tunbridge Wells work table, with blue silk work bag; writing desk, &c.; A pair of very handsome pier semicircular bookcases, with wire doors; A pair of ditto, open, with brass mountings; Two black and scarlet cloth and worsted foot- stools; A neat Brussels carpet; A ditto; A rug, to correspond; A ditto; A handsome brass and steel eliptic fender and set of steel fire irons; The piece of oil cloth in front of sideboard.
Sale catalogue of 1832, pp. 66-67

1832
I read the catalogue of the poor Ladies of Llangollen with a melancholy interest. All their personal ornaments, presents of friends etc. offered to public sale, to be pulled about by the curious and vulgar and then dispersed in every direction. … The place is bought for £1400 by two ladies long resident in the village, come from Manchester; one of them is a Miss Lolly and poor Lady Eleanor Butler used to call them the Lollies and the Trollies. … [After the sale a cupboard was left, full of letters] several of Mrs Piozzi, Miss Seward and Mrs Harriet Bowdler, the latter De Dealtry thinks Mrs Hamilton would let me have.
Hughes, Mrs, Grandmother of Thomas Hughes, 1822-1896, ms., private collection.
Mavor, E., The Ladies of Llangollen, (1971, 1973), p. 195