A “VERY RARE” letter written and signed by the world famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren, offering advice about the construction of Easton Neston at Towcester, is set to fetch up to £9,000 at an auction later this month.
The 300-word letter was written by the St Paul’s Cathedral architect to the wealthy Northamptonshire landowner, Sir William Fermor, in or around 1685 or 1686.
It is all about the landowner’s plans to build the now famous Northamptonshire estate and offers advice on its design and building materials.
Easton Neston, one of England’s finest country houses, is regarded as the first masterpiece of Nicholas Hawksmoor, pupil and assistant of Sir Christopher Wren.
In 2005, Sir William Fermor’s descendant, Lord Hesketh, sold Easton Neston and its 550 acres for £15 million to the Russian-born American fashion designer, Leon Max.
A spokesman for the auctioneers Bonhams, which will put the letter under the hammer on March 29, said: “Autographed letters by Wren are very rare. Only two others have appeared in the last 30 years and more.
“No letters by him have appeared with content comparable to the present letter and none containing advice on a private commission. Mostly, documents that do appear at auction are pages from the account books of Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Hospital at Chelsea signed by Wren.”
Sir Christopher was in his mid-50s when he sent the letter to Sir William Fermor. By that time he had become famous as the architect of St Paul’s, which was constructed following The Great Fire of London in 1666. Building work began in 1675 and lasted until 1710. Other works designed by him included the Greenwich Observatory, Chelsea Hospital, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the western towers and north transept of Westminster Abbey.”
He died aged 90 in 1723 and is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Easton Neston letter by Sir Christopher Wren is among 500 treasures including rare manuscripts, letters, signed photographs by or from famous figures, which have been put up for sale by London dealer, Roy Davids.
They are expected to fetch about £1 million in total.