Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Royal Blackheath Golf Club to sell

 famous portrait to save course

A rare painting will be on the market soon as an English golf club seeks to secure its land for the future.
Royal Blackheath Golf Club, England's oldest golf club and a fixture for four centuries, is selling a portrait of Henry Callender, the famous captain general of the club.
The portrait reputedly was painted about 1790, and replicas reproduced two decades later now hang in golf clubhouses around the world, but the original has sat in Royal Blackheath's clubhouse in east London since at least the 1870s.

The original will be auctioned and is expected to fetch nearly $850,000. An "almost certain" authentic version of the 1790s putter displayed in the portrait also will be sold, at a price estimated at $53,000-$85,000.
Why sell such a prized possession?
Well, The Crown Estate is selling the land encompassing the course and clubhouse. Members of Royal Blackheath Golf Club are hoping to buy the freehold for the course and clubhouse and avoid control by an outside party.
For the members, selling the portrait is the best – perhaps only – way to   raise the money necessary to keep the land in Royal Blackheath hands.
“We’re terribly disappointed that we feel we need to sell this, and the only reason we would do so is that we’ve got a unique opportunity to buy the freehold of the golf club," said Rod Baker, a past captain of the club.
 “It’s the only reason that we could even contemplate selling something like that, to secure our future."
A surviving 18th-century golf portrait is rare, even more so to be seen on the open market.
“It would be very nice if it was bought by somebody where it could be on display, and looked after, and for the benefit of golfers and people who are interested in seeing it,” Baker said.

               + Portrait of Henry Callender ( Courtesy of Bonhams )                                                    



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