AN ALBUM of photographs revealing life at Highclere Castle more than 120 years ago is heading back to its aristocratic roots.
The album, which shows life during the ‘real Downton Abbey’ period at the historic castle where the award-winning ITV series was filmed, was set to go under the hammer on February 3, with a £500 price tag.
However, Lawrences auctioneers of Crewkerne/Somerset revealed on Monday that its managing director Helen Carless had secured a private treaty sale of the album and it had been bought by the Highclere Estate.
The estate said: “Lady Carnarvon is absolutely delighted and looks forward to welcoming Helen Carless from Lawrences with the album at the castle in the near future.”
Some 44 photographs of the 80-bedroom house, staff and grounds are displayed between the album covers, with fascinating glimpses into the lives of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, George Herbert, and his wife, the Countess of Carnarvon, Almina Herbert.
The fifth Earl was best known for the discovery of the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, along with British archeologist, Howard Carter, the historical story of which is reflected in an Egyptian exhibition in the castle.
The album created high interest, due to the overseas popularity of the Downton Abbey series.
Meanwhile, Highclere Castle has been named Hampshire residents’ favourite building in the county in a survey commissioned by groundworks and materials specialist Rudridge, after snatching 43 per cent of the votes.
Second was Winchester Cathedral, with 24 per cent.
Other favourites included Jane Austen’s House Museum in Alton and Mottisfont Abbey.