Sale of painting secures golf club’s future

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2016 13:58

The proceeds from the sale of an historic and famous painting at the end of last year are being used to secure the future of England’s oldest golf club.

32-33 Painting Henry Callender Bonhams

Royal Blackheath Golf Club sold the portrait of Henry Callender, the captain general of the club in 1790, for £722,500, including premiums and taxes, to an anonymous buyer at an auction. Several golf clubs have replicas of the painting on their walls.

The club, which dates back to 1608, is using the money to buy the freehold of the course and its clubhouse, also built in the 17th century.

Past captain Rod Baker said: “It’s to secure our future; the members are doing what they can to raise the funds to do that.

“This is a very important thing and we need to do it for those who will come after us.”

A spokesman added that the club decided to sell the painting to raise money to buy the freehold of its course and clubhouse from The Crown Estate and therefore put off any potential developers.

The portrait, by Lemuel Francis Abbott, was painted between 1790 and 1798, and is thought to be one of the earliest depictions of the game.

The work of art had been hanging in Royal Blackheath’s clubhouse in London for 150 years.

A rare putter, believed to be from the same picture, was also sold for £62,500, purchased by the same buyer.

Andrew McKenzie, director of old master paintings at Bonhams, said: “Henry Callender was both connoisseur and sociable bon viveur and his charisma shines through this charming painting.

“The sale marked an incredibly exciting opportunity for golfing enthusiasts all over the world.”

Lemuel Francis Abbott, who was born in 1760, had a number of his works displayed at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1788 and 1800. He was declared insane in 1798.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2016 13:58
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