THE lavish contents of one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes are being auctioned off in a £1m everything-must-go sale run by a Dorchester auction house.

Wormington Grange has been owned since the 1970s by John Evetts, the grandson of Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill's chief military strategist during World War Two.

Mr Evetts has sold the neoclassical Cotswolds mansion for a multi-million pounds sum as he is downsizing to a smaller property in the area.

The sale features over 1,000 items ranging in value from £50 kitchen glasses to £100,000 works of art.

Auctioneers Duke's of Dorchester say it features the 'most important' collection of country house furniture to emerge on the market for decades.

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One of the reasons for the quality items on offer is because Mr Evetts is a furnishing consultant for the Landmark Trust and has helped decorate almost 200 of Britain's best-loved historic buildings.

Wormington, which sits in parkland near the village of Broadway, Gloucs, was built for Nathaniel Jeffreys in the 1770s and extended in the 1820s.

It has been owned by the Evetts family for the past century, having been purchased by the vendor's great-grandmother in 1920.

The marquee lot is an oil on canvas 6ft by 9ft painting by Algernon Newton entitled 'A Dorset Landscape' (1928) which is valued at £100,000.

It was described as 'the picture of the year' when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy.

An Empire giltwood and gilt chandelier dating to the 1820s and a Regence style gilt bronze eight light chandelier are both estimated at £30,000.

The crimson velvet coronation robes of General Hastings Ismay for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 are expected to fetch £5,000.

Lord Ismay, who lived at Wormington until his death in 1965, was by Churchill's side during every turn of the conflict and said to be the only man to command his 'absolute trust'.

Also up for grabs are are an array of dressing mirrors, dressing tables, writing tables and dining chairs from esteemed cabinet makers including Gillows of Lancaster (1780-1820).

Some of the chairs could sell for £10,000 alone, while a George IV bench is valued at £20,000 and plaster sculpture of Cyparissus could make £6,000.

Mr Evetts, 70, said: "I collected everything that is in this sale specifically for this house with an enormous amount of care and love.

"I wanted to turn it into a home that was furnished very much as it might have been at the time it was built.

"It was a century ago that my great-grandmother bought this house and I'm the fourth generation to live here.

"Sadly, the energy and capital required to manage such a house has become beyond me, just as I believe it is now time for others with younger families to enjoy the place.

"It was incredibly sad to sell these items which evoke fantastic memories but this way other people will get to enjoy them.

"I am very grateful to Duke's for agreeing to sell the lot and we are all keeping our fingers crossed for a good result."

Cristian Beadman, head of sale for Duke's, said: "This is arguably the most important collection of English country house furniture to come to auction in recent decades.

"A classic country house conglomeration which, in the best tradition of these old-school sales, is both eclectic and curated all at once.

"This is an increasingly rare opportunity to view and secure the finest examples of the period in the context for which they were intended."

Of the Newton painting in the sale, which depicts the countryside that inspired author Thomas Hardy, including Corfe Castle and Poole Harbour, auctioneer Guy Schwinge added: "Hardy was feted during the final years of his life.

"Visitors to his house, Max Gate, included the future King, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, Robert Louis Stevenson and T.E. Lawrence. (Lawrence of Arabia).

"Hardy's importance cannot be underestimated, and it is tempting to speculate that this depiction of Hardy's Dorset was a subconscious to tribute to him and his beloved Wessex.

"The painting is estimated to sell for £100,000 but could easily make more."

Ismay was Churchill's Chief of Staff to the Ministry of Defence during World War Two, accompanying him when he met with US President Franklin D Roosevelt and other world leaders.

Post-war, he oversaw the partition of India as Lord Mountbatten's Chief of Staff and was the first secretary general of Nato.

In his final years, he spent many hours in his library at Wormington writing his memoirs. He died aged 78.

The sale takes place from May 12-14.