And it can be yours for just – ooh, let’s say just about $3m? Actually they’re a pair – genuine article, the experts reckon. Made in the 1720s for that old Wanstead House – yeah, the one that got knocked down. Beautiful specimen they are. No, you can’t see them. They’re in New York, you see. Exported to Canada in the 1950s. Nah, they wouldn’t let things like this go overseas nowadays, that’s why they’re so valuable, see.
Details of the items are on the website of the extremely high class antiques dealer Carlton Hobbs, who wax very lyrically about the beauties of Wanstead. They say:
These magnificent chimneypieces can be confidently attributed to William Kent on the basis of sketches made by the architect William Chambers of a chimneypiece at Wanstead House, Essex (figure 1). 1 The splendour of Wanstead is difficult to overestimate. According to one contemporary observer, Mr Young, â€œWanstead, upon the whole, is one of the noblest houses in England. The magnificence of having four state bed-chambers, with complete apartments to them, and the ball-room, are superior to anything of the kind in Houghton, Holkham, Blenhim and Wilton.â€
Well we knew that, didn’t we? And though Carlton Hobbs estimate the price of $2.8m for the pair, Wansteadium readers may remember how the Wanstead effect came into operation earlier this year when the 1610 manuscript of a play first performed at Wanstead House in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I was sold for nearly Â£60,000, having been valued at just Â£10,000.