Items from historic Richmond house put up for auction

St Nicholas, Richmond.

Items from one of Richmond’s oldest houses will be sold at auction later this month.

They are part of a collection being put up for sale by Keith Schellenberg, who lived at St Nicholas in Richmond from 2001 until it was sold earlier this year.

Best known for his captaincy of both the Olympic British bobsleigh team and the Yorkshire Rugby Team — and for buying a Scottish island and then falling out with its inhabitants — Mr Schellenberg also had a successful motor racing and rallying career.

Divided into around 80 separate lots, the collection comprises a wide variety of fine furniture, paintings and decorative items and will be included in Elstob & Elstob’s two-day sale of fine art, antiques and jewellery on September 21 and 22.

Some of the items were purchased by Mr Schellenberg at a sale of the principal contents of St Nicholas held by Christies in Kensington in 2001, following the death of the previous owner Lady Serena James the previous year.

These include a pair of Italian giltwood altar candlesticks estimated to reach between £1,000 and £1,500. Other items in the collection hail from properties north of the border, including the Killean Estate in Argyll and Foveran House, Aberdeenshire.

“We are delighted to be able to include this unique collection in our sale,” said David Elstob, a director of the Bedale-based auction house. “St Nicholas and its former illustrious inhabitants are well-known throughout the region and the association of the lots with the property, as well as their variety and quality, is expected to generate considerable local interest.”

Another noteworthy lot is a pair of 19th century Italian carved wooden figures. Thought to be Venetian in origin, the exotically dressed figures stand almost two metres high and carry a price estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.

There are many items of furniture in the collection, including a Dutch walnut, marquetry and ebony side table estimated at £800 to £1,200, which sits alongside chairs, ornamental tables, bookcases, fine paintings, mirrors, carpets and garden furniture. Smaller pieces such as glassware, dinner services, vases and clocks are also featured.

Located on the eastern edge of the town, overlooking Easby Abbey, St Nicholas is Richmond’s oldest domestic dwelling.

Although largely dating from the 16th century, it is built on the site of the 12th century Hospital of St Nicholas, a religious institution endowed by the Crown, from which the house draws its name.

The property was the home of the well-known Richmond character Lady Serena James, only child of the tenth Earl of Scarborough, who lived there until her death at the age of 99 years. She was married to the renowned plantsman, the Hon. Robert ‘Bobbie’ James, who planted the gardens from 1905 and laid them out in their current form.

St Nicholas gardens were open to the public for many years and the Schellenbergs continued this tradition, opening the gardens regularly during the summer months.

Viewing will take place on Friday 20 September from 10am until 7pm, with the sale starting at 10am on both Saturday 21st (lots 1 to 719) and Sunday 22nd September (lots 720 to 1261). All items can be viewed online at