Palladian treasures at "secret" Scottish property to be split up in 20 m pound sale





A notoriously "secret" country property and its remarkable collection of furniture are to be sold for about £20 million, three years after a failed attempt to save them for the nation.

Little-known Dumfries House will go on the market tomorrow with 1,900 acres of land at offers of more than £6.8 million, while its Rococo furniture is expected to fetch more than £12 million at auction this summer.

The contents of the 18th century stately home, which has never been open to the public, include the most important collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture offered at auction...

The 21-bedroom house -- including seven bedrooms for servants -- and its furnishings is being sold by the former racing driver Johnny Bute, who has been described as the most reluctant aristocrat in Britain.

He prefers not to use his title, the 7th Marquis of Bute, and won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1988 while competing as Johnny Dumfries. Lord Bute, one of Scotland's richest men, said the sale was necessary in order to "restructure family finances" and devolve assets to the next generation...

The house...was commissioned by the 5th Earl of Dumfries in the 1750s [and was designed by the Adam brothers] and its contents have barely changed since the 1803 inventory.


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