Lost chandelier up for auction 

The chandelier from Kings Weston hanging at Athelhampton House.

We recently discovered an auction lot of Kings Weston interest was coming up for sale shortly. It was a shock to find that Athelhampton House in Dorset was selling its entire contents, amongst which is a brass chandelier which formed the centrepiece to the main hall of Kings Weston until recent times.

The chandelier was part of the redecoration of the house in the mid-Eighteenth Century and forms part of its original interior design scheme. It disappeared from the house sometime in the 1960s or 1970s, sold-off by Bristol Technical College during their occupation of the building; it was replaced by a rather depressing and incongruous light fitting until this was replaced with a more suitable modern chandelier in about 2000.

The chandelier in its original location in the hall at Kings Weston, 1927

We have known for some time that the original ended up at Athelhampton, though we’re also aware that there was never any Listed building consent for its removal. This has always led to the paradox that it was in another Listed building where it might contribute to the special interest, whilst it should still be in Kings Weston house. We assume that, as it is now being sold, that Historic England are satisfied that it’s not integral to Athelhampton’s importance as an historic property.

With the chandelier coming up for sale there are questions whether it should be returned to Kings Weston, having been removed without consent and against Listed Building legislation. For the moment the chandelier is up for sale by Duke’s auctioneers with a guide price of £2000-£4000. For anyone who might be interested in bidding on the lot and returning it to Kings Weston the auction is to be held on the 9th of this month, and it’s Lot 11 in the auction which will be held inside Athelhampton House. It’s worth noting that the lucky buyer is required to dismantle and remove the chandelier at their own cost.   

The interior of Kings Weston House in about 1973 about the time it was taken on  by Avon & Somerset constabulary, and with the incongruous modern lantern hanging in place of the original. At this time the paintings were removed for safety. 

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