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Chesterfield History

Winston Churchill’s Chesterfield settee went under the hammer

A Chesterfield settee believed to have belonged to Winston Churchill went under the hammer.

The late-19th century settee is thought to have been in Mr Churchill’s private Whitehall offices during his second premiership from 1951 to 1955. It was found during a routine house clearance by Northamptonshire auctioneer Jonathan Humbert, of JP Humbert Auctioneers.

The battered and ripped settee was originally destined for a skip, until the brother of the late owner mentioned the connection.

Mr Humbert said today the provenance has not been proved officially, but the settee was given as a gift to a friend of Mr Churchill’s who then passed it on to the most recent owner.

The 8ft seat is now to be offered for sale at the auction house’s Fine Art, Antiques & Collectables Sale on July 24.

The late-19th century leather button-back, scroll-arm Chesterfield settee has an estimated value of £50-80 as it needs much restoration but has already attracted transatlantic interest.

Mr Humbert said: “The owner was an academic who lived in a rambling Georgian Rectory in a village in Northamptonshire. He was given it by a friend who in turn was given in by Winston Churchill himself.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, the man who would know has died. His brother said it had been in an outbuilding for the best part of 30 years but it’s always been known by the family as ‘Churchill’s seat’. It really is the original seat of power!”

The battered and ripped settee was originally destined for a skip, until the brother of the late owner mentioned the connection with Sir Winston Churchill.

Mr Humbert said the shabby condition of the once-illustrious settee meant it was originally destined for the scrap heap, until the owner’s brother mentioned the connection to Churchill.

He added: “On the one hand it’s clapped out, it’s ripped, but on the other hand it’s got this illustrious heritage.

“Who knows what famous rears were sat on it, or what cigar butts were stuffed down it?

“It is spoken provenance only but we already have some interest from some people in the United States.”