Private collection of aristocratic Ombersley family set for auction - The Droitwich Standard

Private collection of aristocratic Ombersley family set for auction

Droitwich Editorial 30th May, 2024   0

THE private collection of an ‘illustrious’ aristocratic family started by a 15th century Bishop of Worcester will soon be selling at auction.

Antiquarian delights amassed by the Sandys family over centuries living in Ombersley, Droitwich will go on sale on Tuesday, June 25.

The event will offer a more personal insight into this historical family, who amassed an extraordinary collection of furniture, paintings, rare antiquarian books and works of art, amongst other works, over many centuries.

Proceeds of the auction at Ombersley Court will go to the Sandys Trust, a charity set up to support a range of charitable causes, close to the hearts of the family.

Werner Freundel, director at Chorley’s auctioneers, said: “It has been an honour to be able to offer this historic collection over a series of wonderful sales, that have honed-in on different areas of the Sandys’ extensive collection.

“This particular sale in June will offer a more personal insight into the family, their history and collecting habits.




“The culmination will then follow in September, when we will offer a different aspect again, namely the Sandys’ extensive library, which features hidden gems, alongside some of the classics.

“It is particularly inspiring to see the proceeds go to the Sandys charitable trust, which will offer help to a range of charitable causes.”


The Sandys family’s connection to Ombersley stretches back many centuries.

The first member of the family to move to the area was Edwin Sandys, Bishop of Worcester (1519-1588), who bought a property nearby in the 1560s, establishing a bond with the area that would last for hundreds of years.

The family also made important contributions to the fields of literature and culture. Edwin, the Second Baron Sandys (1726-1797), is particularly notable.

He was a founding trustee of the British Museum and a noted classical scholar, counting the great literary figure Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) and the Anglo-Irish political figure Edmund Burke (1729-1797) among his circle of friends.

Dr Johnson visited Ombersley in 1774 and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed his stay, commenting in particular on the quality of the peaches.

Along with Burke and Johnson, the Baron was a member of the Streatham Worthies, (a collective description for the circle of literary and cultural figures who regularly met at the home of

Hester and Henry Thrale), cementing the cultural importance and influence of the Sandys family. The Streatham Worthies, including Sandys himself, were commemorated in a series of portraits by the esteemed English painter Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).

Ombersley Court was rebuilt in the early eighteenth century by the renowned architect Francis Smith of Warwick (1672-1738).

The second phase was led by Mary, Marchioness of Downshire (1764-1836), who refaced the exterior and large areas of the interior in the early nineteenth century.

For generations, the elegantly simple exterior of the house belied its luxurious contents. On the deaths of the last Lord and Lady Sandys, Ombersely Court was sold, resulting in the dispersion of a lifetime’s collection that had been passed down through centuries.

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