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The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission

The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission

The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission

Dreweatts has been appointed to sell the collection from Flaxley Abbey in Gloucestershire, former seat of the Crawley-Boevey Baronets. The auction will be hosted at Dreweatts Donnington Priory salerooms on 3 October 2022. 

Flaxley Abbey is a house with an inescapable feeling of history and warmth, the contents a fascinatingly eclectic selection of works of art, furniture and pictures which have been inherited, collected and worked on by owners, architects and designers spanning over 500 years. The collection works like a needle thread not only through the history of the house but also provides a window into that iconic country house style of the 20th century.

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Flaxley was originally founded in 1151 as a Cistercian monastery and, under royal protection during the reign of Henry II, was used as royal hunting quarters. Since then the estate has had many owners – each leaving an indelible mark over generations - including the Crawley-Boevey who retained the house from 1648-1960.

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Under new ownership, an extensive restoration was carried out including interiors redesigned by Tony Award winning theatre and set designer Oliver Messel, one of the iconic figures of twentieth century design, whose romantic, whimsical, and wholly original style has influenced a generation of architects and decorators. Alongside the Messel Suite at the Dorchester hotel, and his extensive architectural work on the islands of Mustique and Barbados, Flaxley is one of his most important and complete commissions.

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Commenting on the sale, Joe Robinson, Head of House Sales at Dreweatts, said: "The dispersal of collections often reflects an end to a moment in time but the sale of the collection from Flaxley Abbey documents a lasting record of this historically important design legacy and provides collectors a rarefied opportunity to engage with the indomitable spirit of the iconic 20th century country house style and capture items of importance to conserve within their own evolving collections or interiors."

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The auction will take place at Dreweatts Donnington Priory on Monday 3 October 2022. 

Venue: Dreweatts, 16-17 Pall Mall, St James's, London SW1Y 5LU
Monday 12 - Thursday 15 September: 10am - 5pm

Venue: Dreweatts, Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Thursday 29 - Friday 30 September: 10am - 5pm
Saturday 1 - Sunday 2 October: 10am - 2pm
There is no viewing on the day of the auction.  

The auction catalogue will be available in September.   To pre-order a printed catalogue, see below.  The catalogue will also be available free of charge online and as a downloadable pdf.  The printed catalogue will contain the following auctions:

  • The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission (Auction date: 3 October 2022)
  • Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior (Auction date: 4 October 2022)

To purchase a catalogue, the cost including postage is:

  • UK: £30
  • Overseas: £50
  • To pre-order a printed catalogue, please visit our Catalogue Subscriptions page and select: Flaxley Abbey and Chilham Castle

Auction registration will open in September. 
Online bidding will be available via with no additional online bidding fees applicable.  
For telephone and commission bids, please Commission bids may also be placed via your online bidding account. 
Bidding in person at our salerooms is also available. 

General enquiries: + 44 (0) 1635 553 553 | 
Press enquiries: 
To sign up for email alerts: click here and choose 'House Sales and Private Collections' from the 'interests' list.

Black & White images of Flaxley Abbey: Copyright Country Life / Future Publishing 

Colour room shot images: Courtesy of The Messel Family Archive & Collection

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