Published March 29, 2010
LONDON – Rare antiques from the ancestral home of Diana, Princess of Wales — including a 12 million pound ($18 million) Rubens portrait from the 17th Century — will be offered for sale this summer, an auction house said Monday.
Christie's auction house said it will sell about 20 million pounds ($30 million) worth of artifacts from Althorp House, in Northamptonshire, central England.
Diana's childhood home and the site of her burial following her 1997 death — is now occupied by Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer. He recently announced his engagement to Lady Bianca Eliot, who will become his third wife.
The auction house said the Spencer family hoped to sell off a variety of valuables to invest the funds raised and protect the long-term future of the stately home.
including the Rubens portrait, "Commander Being Armed for Battle," owned by the Spencer family since 1802.
The portrait was painted in 1613 and 1614 and depicts a bearded man, believed to be the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, being fitted with his armor.
"This magnificent work by Rubens is one of the most important works by the artist to remain in private hands in the U.K.," said Richard Knight, of Christie's. "It is a museum-quality masterpiece and will have wide international appeal."
Other lots include English and French furniture, a mid-17th Century painting by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri and 19th Century horse-drawn carriages.
Christie's said three auctions will take place in London during the summer.