A selection of interesting ceramics and glassware consigned from Linley Hall, an impressive country home near Bishops Castle, will be going under the hammer at Halls’ antique, design and contemporary auction in Shrewsbury on March 2.
Originally built for Roger More (d.1780), Linley Hall estate was home to a number of important Shropshire residents, which is reflected by several pieces of ceramics and glassware in the auction.
One such piece is a Coalport porcelain cabaret coffee service dedicated to R. J. More, Member of Parliament for Ludlow, for his success in gaining a majority in the South Shropshire election in 1892 and an impressive glass centrepiece bowl dedicated to Sir Jasper More, MP for Ludlow from 1960-‘79.
“These pieces demonstrate just a small part of this family’s important contribution to Shropshire history and will undoubtedly excite collectors,” said Caroline Dennard, European ceramics specialist at Halls.
“Equally, two other pieces from the same home may get local history enthusiasts talking for slightly different reasons. The pieces in question are two early 19th century twin-handled cups which bear the name ‘John Mytton of Halston’, otherwise known as ‘Mad Jack Mytton’.
“Mad Jack is something of a local Shropshire legend and the idea that these cups may have belonged to the man himself is certainly an exciting prospect. Fittingly, the two cups consigned for sale are as quirky as the character himself. A 19th century ‘joke’ tradition, the interior of each cup reveals a crouching frog – the idea being that the full cup would pass to a friend, or perhaps foe, who would drink until the frog was revealed, giving the drinker a big surprise.”
Having been kicked out of two prominent schools, ‘Mad Jack’ began a period of home-schooling during which he perpetrated a series of pranks, including one particularly Godfather-like moment when he left a horse’s head in one poor tutor’s bedroom.
Despite his disdain for schooling, he was accepted to Cambridge University, even if his idea of primary sustenance was the 2,000 bottles of port he took with him. Unsurprisingly, he soon grew tired of university life and decided a trip on the Grand Tour would be much more appealing.
In another of his many adventures, he rode his horse into Bedford Hospital, up the staircase, onto the balcony, over the restaurant diners below and out through the window as part of a bet.
He also embarked on a political career, becoming MP for Shrewsbury after securing his seat by offering voters £10. He eventually paid out £10,000 and this spendthrift nature meant that by 1831 he was in deep debt and was forced to flee to Calais to avoid his creditors.
Miss Dennard is hoping to attract other local interest consignments for the March auction and she may be contacted on Tel: 01743 450700.