A Glimpse into the World of Two Legendary Families Over 350 Lots Spanning Jewellery, Furniture, Paintings, Sculpture, Books, Silver, Ceramics & Objets d’Art
Public Exhibition from 20 – 23 March
The 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, great niece of Russia’s last Tsarina, first cousin to Prince Philip and the daughter of Britain’s last Viceroy of India, the late Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten was born in 1924 into a dazzling dynasty of royal and political relations. Over her eminent life at the very heart of Britain’s cultural establishment, she is known and remembered for her “unwavering perseverance and beguiling sense of humour”.
The eldest daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979), and glamorous heiress turned philanthropist Edwina Ashley (1900-1960), Patricia had an unconventional upbringing, from weekend parties with King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at her parents’ estate in Hampshire to evacuation on the eve of the Blitz to stay with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III in her palatial Fifth Avenue apartment in New York.
In 1943, at the age of nineteen, Patricia entered the Women's Royal Navy Service. It was there that she met, and fell in love with, John Knatchbull, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005) – an encounter that was to spark an enduring love affair and an almost sixty-year marriage. As a Captain in the armed forces, Brabourne had worked for Patricia’s father in India, and later became an Academy-Award nominated film producer, behind titles such as A Passage to India and Agatha Christie adaptations Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express. Their wedding at Romsey Abbey in 1946 was witnessed by thousands, with members of the public lining the streets. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated over a ceremony which saw the King and Queen in attendance, the Royal princesses Elizabeth and Margaret among the bridesmaids and Prince Philip as an usher.
When Patricia inherited her father’s peerages, the pair became one of the very few married couples in England each of whom held a peerage in his or her own right and the custodians of two great inheritances. John’s included Mersham le Hatch, an elegant house by Robert Adam in the Kent countryside, where the Knatchbull family had settled in the 15th century. Furnished by the great Thomas Chippendale in the 1770s, it held within it objects with extraordinarily diverse provenances, including the explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks who travelled to Australia on Cook’s first expedition, Jane Austen’s beloved niece Fanny and the Marquesses of Sligo. Patricia inherited precious objects associated with her parents from their glamorous Art Deco penthouse on Park Lane – with treasures from Edwina’s maternal grandfather, the great Edwardian financier Sir Ernest Cassel – and their time in India.
Over the course of her life, Lady Mountbatten was the patron of over one hundred charities. She dealt with her own tragedies with extraordinary courage and grace and passed this on in lending her support to those in need.
On 24 March 2021, over 350 lots from Newhouse, Patricia and John’s charming eighteenth-century home will be offered for sale with estimates ranging from £80 – 100,000. Through each lot, viewers and visitors will have the opportunity to enter the world of an important family through the art and objects that they lived with, crossing the paths of the twentieth century’s leading figures along the way.
“Lady Mountbatten’s residence, Newhouse was a private place for entertaining only the closest of family and friends, capturing all the magic of a stately home on an intimate scale. Through her belongings, many passed down from members of the extended family over the years, collectors have the chance to see the story of the twentieth century unfold and acquire evocative vestiges of a glittering way of life.”
“Our overriding desire when organising our mother’s affairs is to honour her wishes and celebrate the memory of both our mother and our father. They had discussed these arrangements with us, and we are simply putting their plans into effect. We are of course keeping many things and importantly amongst these are objects which are of sentimental value and much loved.”