Treasures from the Prime Minister’s countryside hideout to go on sale

Boris Johnson welcomes Angela Merkel to Chequers residence

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The auctioneers Bonham’s have announced the sale of a list of hidden treasures found in the attic of the grace and favour countryside hideout Chequers which Rishi Sunak gets to use and entertain guests as Britain’s Prime Minister. The collection, put on sale by the Chequers Trust, promises to provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the different Prime Minister’s who have used the historic estate in Buckinghamshire.

The 16th century manor has been the countryside home of Prime Ministers since David Lloyd George in 1921 after the estate after it was gifted to the country by former diplomat and soldier Sir Arthur Lee.

Sir Arthur gave the house over as a Deed of Settlement via the Chequers Estate Act 1917 on the assumption that future leaders may not have their own estates to entertain foreign dignitaries.

The act stated: “It is not possible to foresee or foretell from what classes or conditions of life the future wielders of power in this country will be drawn.”

One of the items on sale is an ink well with the flags of Britain and her First World War allies from 1915 which could have been used by Sir Arthur of Lloyd-George.

Harvey Cammell, Global Director of Valuations and Private Collections at Bonhams, said: “Over the last century successive Prime Ministers have entertained statesmen and stateswomen from around the world at Chequers, and the sale provides a wonderful opportunity to acquire pieces at very approachable estimates that have played their part in history.”

The auction is set to take place at Bonham’s in london on March 21.

Among the treasures to go under the hammer are:

• A set of seven 18th century Italian altar candlesticks from Palermo. Estimate: £7,000-10,000

• A Charles X gilt bronze sculptural timepiece in the form of a sunflower £2,000-3,000

• A Coalport Porcelain part-dessert service from around 1810. Estimate: £500-800

• A collection of silver desk accessories including a silver and shargreen double inkwell. Estimate £400-600

• A treen Policeman’s truncheon. Estimate £100-150

• A Dutch engraved Royal Armorial baluster wine glass, circa 1760. Estimate £300-400

• Three 20th century American Silver Brandy Warmers and Stands. Estimate: £200-300

• A Dutch Delft Fluted Dish. Estimate: £1,000-2,000

• A ceramic inkwell from 1914-5 decorated with the Allied flags of France, Belgium, Russia and the United Kingdom. Estimate: £150-250.

• Two 19th century copper bed pans. Estimate: £100-200.

Chequers has witnessed a lot of important history with the visits of Presidents like John F Kennedy, Donald Trump and Barack Obama and European leaders like Charles de Gaul and Angela Merkel.

It was also the scene of dramatic talks in Theresa May’s government over an attempt to create a compromise Brexit deal with the EU which ultimately led to the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary in 2018 and the collapse of her government.

Prime Ministers traditionally use Chequers as a retreat to escape London or a place to entertain important guests.

Since David Lloyd-George first took residence in 1921 there have been 22 Prime Ministers who have used Chequers up to Rishi Sunak today.


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