Silver cake basket which once belonged to wealthy Grantham landowner goes to auction in America

Silver cake basket will be sold by Christie's. Photo:  CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2013
Silver cake basket will be sold by Christie's. Photo: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2013

A 270-year-old silver cake basket which a Grantham man sold for less than £400 is coming up for sale again next week at an auction in America...but this time it is expected to fetch between £93,000 and £156,000.

The cake basket used to belong to wealthy Grantham landowner and MP Sir Charles Welby, who lived at Denton Manor.

On June 27, 1900, Sir Charles sold the cake basket – which had belonged to his family for around 150 years – at Christie’s in London for £395 nineteen shillings and tenpence.

Now the cake basket is set to fetch between $150,000and $250,000 in the Important Silver sale at Christie’s at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York on Wednesday.

The cake basket, made in 1739 during the reign of King George II, is particularly valuable because it is the work of Paul De Lamerie, described by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as “the greatest silversmith working in England in the eighteenth century”.

Auctioneers Christie’s said: “The (coat of) arms (on the cake basket) are those of Gregory, as borne by Susanna Gregory, daughter of George Gregory, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Boroughbridge, and his wife Susanna Williams, daughter and heiress of John Williams of Rempston.

“The Williams inheritance, including estates in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, was divided by Susanna Williams between her eldest son George Gregory and her daughter Susanna, owner of the basket.

“On their father’s death, her brother’s share of the Williams’ inheritance passed to her, as well as additional estates, following the death of a cousin in 1755.”

When Susanna Gregory died, the cake basket was inherited by William Gregory Williams and then by Gregory Williams Gregory and then by George Gregory and then by Sir Glynn Welby-Gregory, then by Sir William Welby-Gregory until it was inherited by Sir Charles Welby of Grantham.

Sir Charles Welby was born on August 11, 1865, and in 1887 he married Lady Maria Hervey, sister of the fourth Marquess of Bristol. They had four children.

Sir Charles was MP for Newark between 1900 and 1906 and was also chairman of Kesteven County Council between 1921 and 1934. In Who’s Who, he listed his recreations as “hunting, shooting and golf”.