Art from Diana's family homes to go on the block


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LONDON ? Art, antiques, and even carriages owned by the aristocratic family of Diana, Princess of Wales, are to go on sale in London beginning on Tuesday.

The three auctions feature items which once belonged at Althorp House, the Spencer family's country estate in Northhamptonshire, and in Spencer House, their historic London home.

Althorp was where Diana's grew up and became the site of her burial following her death in 1997 in a car crash in Paris. The estate is now occupied by Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer.

While none of the lots were purchased by Diana, many have been in her family for centuries ? including a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, "Commander Being Armed for Battle," which the Spencer family has owned since 1802.

The portrait was painted in 1613 and 1614 and depicts a bearded man, believed to be the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, being fitted with his armor. It is expected to fetch between 8 million and 12 million pounds ($12 million to $18 million) at Christie's auction house's Old Masters sale on Tuesday. A second painting, "King David" by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, is estimated to sell for as much as 8 million ($12 million.)

A sale beginning the next day, the "Althorp Attic Sale," includes important 19th century carriages owned by the family ? some with harnesses ? as well as saddles, furniture, snuff and cigarette boxes, and military uniforms. A third sale, which starts Thursday, includes works of art and porcelain from Spencer House, which overlooks London's Green Park.


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