Video Clips, DW's antique collection & Serpentine Wall

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lukehoney
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Video Clips, DW's antique collection & Serpentine Wall

Post by lukehoney » Wed 25 Aug, 2010 16:10:02

I've just realised that I've just rather stupidly left a reply on an old Bob Rothwell post about Pathe News, not realising that Bob had posted it a few years back. What I meant to say was:

The Pathe news clips are great. I've mentioned this one before, but there's no harm in having another go: on a similar theme, did anyone manage to download the video clip from the BBC4 Letter to Posterity website : "On other authors of the time and his passion for collecting"? It's now been deleted by the BBC. I was hoping that someone might have saved it? It was an especially interesting clip as it had DW standing in his library talking about his extensive book collection and his signed first edition of Crowley's "Magick in Theory and Practice". Montague Summers and all the other occult boys of the 1930's got a mention too. Think it also had stuff about DW's Napoleonic capo-di-monte porcelain collection, too (figures of Napoleon's marshalls). Vintage Stuff! I'm kicking myself for not saving it. Never assume these things are going to be available online for ever...

As I'm in the antiques business, I'm rather intrigued by DW's various collections (stamps, coins, carpets, ceramics, Georgian furniture, arms and armour, and of course modern first editions). I've got a copy of Blackwell's auction catalogue for DW's book collection, but I was wondering if any of DW's stuff was sold at auction after his death? Does an auction catalogue exists? Charles- do you think it would be worth including something about DW's collections on the site? His Napoleonic capo-di-monte collection was quite amusing....Phil Baker touches upon it in his great work.

Incidentally, my mother in law lives in Lymington very close to the site of Grove Place. My wife and I had a look at DW's serpentine wall when we were last down there. There is a similar Serpentine Wall further along the road. I reckon Dennis got the idea from this wall and decided to copy it.

With very best wishes

Luke

Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P » Wed 25 Aug, 2010 17:56:49

Luke,

Although I can't help you very much with DW's various collections, your reference to your mother in law iving in Lymington made me think of an extract from 'The Launching of Roger Brook'. See below;

He (Roger) decides to head for the village of Highcliffe some seven miles to the west of Lymington to talk things over with his neighbour, friend and confidante Georgina Thursby. In order to gain some privacy they climb the large150 foot, square and unadorned, tower that is situated behind Highcliffe Manor. There were over 300 stone stairs which had to be climbed to gain access to the little room at the top, which was only large enough to accommodate a brocaded settee, two chairs and a table. The view from the top was stunning with views to the southern tip of the Isle of Wight.
Did this tower exist I ask myself. Is the tower still there? I haven’t been to this part of the country since I was approx ten years old, but if I am ever near the Serpentine wall built next to Grove house I will check it out

I was just wondering if when you are nearby you might have a look to see if there is any evidence of this tower which is located in Highcliffe.

Regards

Steve

lukehoney
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Post by lukehoney » Wed 25 Aug, 2010 19:03:22

Steve

Funny you should mention Highcliffe. We were down there last week- the house used to belong to my wife's great great uncle. We had a look round the place- now open to the public. I think it was "Gothicised" during the 19th century- and then again, rebuilt during the 1930's. There's certainly a huge tower there- first thing you see when you walk in- but I'm not sure it's the one DW is referring to in the Roger Brook story, which would have been set in the Napoleonic period. Terrific views towards the Isle of Wight.

Best wishes

Luke

Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P » Thu 26 Aug, 2010 10:04:33

Luke,

Quite a coincidence.

What is the house called? Is it Highcliffe House/Hall/Manor/ I can't seem to locate it on the search engines.
I'm probably missing something obvious

Steve

lukehoney
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Post by lukehoney » Thu 26 Aug, 2010 13:36:47

Highcliffe Castle. I think it was built in the 1830's, (after the date of the Roger Brook novels) but I have a hunch it may have been built on the site of an earlier Highcliffe Manor. Either that, or DW was talking about a completely different place. But Highcliffe Castle is the famous one. Rambling house in a Gothic style. It was partly destroyed by fire and the grounds and a few of the restored rooms are open to the public.

Charles
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Re: Video Clips, DW's antique collection & Serpentine Wa

Post by Charles » Sat 28 Aug, 2010 08:31:07

lukehoney wrote:
As I'm in the antiques business, I'm rather intrigued by DW's various collections (stamps, coins, carpets, ceramics, Georgian furniture, arms and armour, and of course modern first editions). I've got a copy of Blackwell's auction catalogue for DW's book collection, but I was wondering if any of DW's stuff was sold at auction after his death? Does an auction catalogue exists? Charles- do you think it would be worth including something about DW's collections on the site? His Napoleonic capo-di-monte collection was quite amusing....Phil Baker touches upon it in his great work.
Re the Letter to Posterity website, copying the downloads wasn't easy, but I think I did it. If no-one else took a copy I'll have a root around and see if I can find a copy of that clip for you.

As for DW's stuff, you've touched on a subject which has occupied a lot of my spare time over recent years - especially as I develop the 'virtual Museum'.

DW sold much of the contents of Grove House when he left in 1968 in a well publicised auction on the premises. I recently tracked down a copy of the Catalogue and you can see it in the Other Publications / Articles about section of the website. What was sold was a very odd mixture - ranging from garden statuary to packets of persil. I periodically place adverts in the local Lymington paper to see if anyone has anything, but nothing of any interest has come to light.

The house was put up for auction at the same time as the contents were sold, but I've never managed to track down a copy of that auction catalogue. If anyone ever comes across a copy, I'd be most grateful if they'd let me know.

DW recounted having sold a few further bits and pieces in the mid 1970s, but I don't think anything else major was sold before his death in 1977.

A small amount of further material (large furniture as I recall) was sold in 1978, and then as you say came the Blackwells sale. I have always been intrigued that this occurred before Joan's death. Not all the books got into the catalogue however - a few choice items were 'cherry picked' before the catalogue came out.

After that - and we must assume a lot of material would have gone on the bonfire beforehand - came in 1983 the sale of the Wheatley 'archive' which provided much of the unpublished material in Phil Baker's book. This remains in private hands.

Further to this though there was a very curious sale in 1984 of various boxes of papers (and portraits of DW's parents !) at an obscure auction house on the South coast. Where these papers came from is a mystery in itself. I tracked down the buyer, but he had already recycled the material in dribs and drabs and although I have been trying to locate it (to the extent it still exists) this will be a lengthy task.

The good news is that I have managed to locate some pieces and I'm hoping that I will be able to display them in one of the later Rooms in the Museum (and perhaps even in a special Room devoted to DW's collecting) in due course.

I hope that isn't too long a reply for you, and as I say, if anyone ever comes across anything I would be MOST grateful if they would let me know.

Kind regards to everyone as always !
Charles

lukehoney
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Post by lukehoney » Mon 6 Sep, 2010 07:22:36

Charles

Many thanks for your reply- and the useful information. I'll get in touch with you directly about the Letter to Posterity website download: would be great news if you've still got it. I've now seen the auction catalogue on the site- will definitely keep my eye's open for another one of these when I'm down in Lymington.

The article on DW's napoleonic figurine collection looked interesting" "Collector's Weekly", September 3 1970: "Dennis Wheatley's Private Army"

Best wishes

Luke

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