A 233-year-old oil painting of one of Aldenham’s most distinguished nineteenth century inhabitants, naval officer, politician and colonial governor Sir Charles Pole, has sold for £47,875 at auction in America.
The three feet by four feet picture of Pole was painted in 1781 - when Captain (later Admiral) Pole was 24 - by Turin-born artist, John Francis Rigaud. The picture was commissioned possibly to mark the appointment, on March 27, 1781, of Pole’s appointment as captain of the 32-gun Royal Navy frigate, HMS Success.
Before the auction at Bonhams in New York on Wednesday, the picture had been expected to sell for between £35,000 and £48,000. In the end it was bought by a mystery bidder for £47,875.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: "Pole died on September 6,1830, at Aldenham Abbey, a house he had bought in 1812 from the Thelluson family, who had converted this modest farmhouse into a fashionable Gothic mansion about 1800."
Aldenham Abbey was later renamed Wall Hall and is now converted into apartments.
Sir Charles Pole was born in Devon on January 18, 1757, and was only 15 when he joined the Royal Navy in 1772. He was present at the Siege of Pondicherry, India, in 1778, and during the Siege of Toulon, France, in 1793.
In 1800, he was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland.
In 1801, he was given a Baronetcy, which entitled him to be known as "Sir" Charles.
He was promoted to Admiral in 1805, the year Britain’s greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson, was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar.
In 1806, Sir Charles Pole became MP for Plymouth and in 1820 he became Governor of the Bank of England. When King George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by King William IV who appointed Pole as Master of the Robes.