Harlaxton Manor - Items from Witley Court Estate

Scope and Content

The collection includes information about Witley Court and Gardens, the 1938 auction catalogue and various correspondence regarding the statuary. These items include:

  • Bronze lions on front entrance gates
  • Pair of animals and child on top of SW terrace steps (Lion Steps)
  • Pair of lions on Lion Terrace (SE, rear of Manor)
  • Statue in Conservatory by pond - woman and youth, with plinth (Lion Terrace). This was probably produced in Italy around 1830 and subsequently purchased from a sale room by the Dudleys of Whitley Court while they were on a tour of Italy in the 1880s. The plinth was probably carved separately by James Forsyth at Witley Court, to bring the statue to a height suitable for the apse of the Winter Garden, about 14 feet high. The floral swags are identical to those found on carvings at Witley. The statue is made of Carrera marble, while the plinth is carved from Portland stone.
  • Pair of marble vases (Front Entrance Door)

Administrative / Biographical History

Witley Court in Worcestershire was put up for sale by Sir Herbert Smith (d 1943), a Kidderminster carpet manufacturer, in 1938, the year after the house was consumed in a great fire. During this auction of effects Mrs Violet Van der Elst made many purchases, mainly statuary, most of which still remain at Harlaxton Manor today.


Location: Box 13

  • wit/1/1 Jackson, Stops & Staff, Auctioneers (Sept. 1938). Witley Court Estate Particulars of Sale of the Freehold Estate and Timber. See p. 35 lots 95, 101, 102; p. 37-39 photographs [40 x A4 pages (photocopies)]
  • wit/1/2 Separate photocopies of the above pages showing lots purchased by Mrs Van der Elst
  • wit/2 English Heritage (2008) Witley Court and Gardens information leaflet
  • wit/3 Correspondence from Mark Brown, The Poseidon Fountain Restoration Society dated 1994-2010 regarding items at Harlaxton from Witley Court.
  • wit/3/1-4 Notes and correspondence relating to visit of Mark Brown to Harlaxton
  • wit/3/5 Correspondence from Mark Brown, dated 1997 relating to Woman and Child statue in Conservatory. A copy was made of the statue by Steve McCarron at this time.
  • wit/4 Correspondence from A. Hickson dated 1996 regarding Lion Terrace lions
  • wit/5/1 Memo from Dianne Warren to Frances Watkins & Ann Clark regarding a trip to Witley Court. Date: 1999; wit/5/2 Notes and photo; wit/5/3 17 x 5.75x4 inch colour photos of Witley
  • wit/6 Email correspondence between Michael Jickells and Jan Beckett including copy of 2 photos of Witley Court interior hallway showing child with dog statues now on top of Lion Steps. Date: 2003. Photos reproduced from Pardoe, Witley Court p. 16 (see wit/8)
  • wit/7 Emails between Jan Beckett, Ian Welsh, John Hodges regarding the Lions on Lion Terrace including photocopies of photos of the lions from the 1938 sale catalogue, Lots 102 (2), 101 and 104
  • wit/8 Pardoe, Bill (1986) Witley Court. Peter Huxtable Designs Limited
  • wit/9 Brown, M. and Stansfield, G. (1992) The fountains of Witley Court. Village/Peter Huxtable Designs
  • wit/10 Newspaper cuttings.
  • wit/10/1 Gillilan, L. (1998) Give us back our balustrade. The Sunday Telegraph, Oct 11, 1998. [Highlighted paragraph; 1 x broadsheet news paper page and copy, same article refers to pair of statues of lions.]
  • wit/10/2 Weaver, M. (1996) Fountains restored to gushing glory. The Daily Telegraph, Sept 18, 1996 [2 photocopies x A3 pages]
  • wit/10/3 Rogers, B. (1996). The last 12-ton woman. The Sunday Telegraph, Nov 24, 1996 [3 photocopies x A3]
  • Weaver, M. (1998). Heritage loses stately home it restored. The Daily Telegraph, March 14, 1998 [1 x A3 page photocopy]
  • wit/10/4 Campbell Dixon, Anne (2000) Statues breathe life into an empty shell. Telegraph Travel, Aug 26, 2000 [2 photocopies x A3 pages]
  • wit/10/5 Wellings, Alex (1994) Taking a pride in the missing lions of Witley Court. Evening News, Sept 6, 1994 [2 photocopies x A3 pages]
  • wit/10/6 Witley Court - A view from the past. Online photos witleycourt.fotopic.net (no longer available online) Date: 04/11/2008 [2 x A4 pages 2 colour prints]
  • wit/10/7 Jenkins, S. Fit for a king. Period Ideas Victorian Special. (undated) [1 x A4 page colour photocopy of Witley Court with post-it note pointing to original location of marble lions, annotated by Suzanne Kingsley]

Access Information

By appointment only

Archivist's Note

Added by Linda Dawes, College Librarian, March 2018.

Conditions Governing Use

With copyright holder