Bitch Rose Hanbury spokesperson corrects record about Qing dynasty art

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One of the funniest stories with this year’s “Where’s Kate” event was the focus on Rose Hanbury, Rose’s marriage to the Marquess of Cholmondeley, and the art and antiquities at his lavish estate, Houghton Hall. As old photos of Rose and David circulated on Western social media, Chinese social media users also began to take a closer look at the photos, and Chinese art people soon discovered Cholmondeley’s vast Chinese art collection. Many of the pieces of Chinese art within Houghton Hall looked as if they were from the Qing dynasty, and Time Magazine took a deep dive into why this was so. David Rocksavage (The Marquess) is a descendant of the wealthy Sassoon family, a family that was very active in import/export to Asia. Time Magazine’s art historians didn’t know whether the Qing Dynasty pieces were “looted” or simply purchased and brought to England more than a century ago. While Time Mag covered the story, the British media, as usual, mostly sat on their hands regarding Rose and David. They waited until now to publish any kind of coverage, and presumably they waited until Cholmondeley made a statement about the art:

It is home to one of the most stunning stately homes in the country – a 106-room mansion that attracts thousands of visitors every year to admire its architectural history. But now Houghton Hall, the family seat of David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, is under the scrutiny of Chinese internet detectives who claim the neo-Palladian hoard contains ancient valuables looted from the Qing dynasty.

Images of the Grade I listed house, built by Sir Robert Walpole in 1722, have gone viral on social media sites, despite assurances from the estate that none of the hall’s contents were stolen. In China, armchair detectives have accused the 63-year-old Marquess and his 40-year-old wife Rose Hanbury – who are neighbors of the Prince and Princess of Wales – of keeping up with the plunder by taking to TikTok to link them to their estranged ancestors, Inherited from Sassoon.

The Sassoon family, known as the ‘Rothschilds of the East’, amassed a fortune in the 19th century from the textile, tea and opium trade in India and China. The height of their business coincided with China’s ‘Century of Humiliation’ from 1839 to 1945, where British and French troops looted millions of valuable art works. The Qing dynasty lasted from 1644 to 1911. It is difficult to identify which objects from this era were stolen and which were obtained legally, but this has not stopped baseless allegations being made against Cholmondeley. One person shared photos of the hall’s interior on the Instagram-like site Xiaohongshu and said: ‘Sassoon began amassing his wealth by plundering late Qing China.’

While David, the present Marquess, is descended from Sassoons on his father’s side, the estate stated that the items in question were not heirloom items that had been inherited through his family. A spokesperson for Houghton Hall said: ‘The Chinese objects in the photographs you refer to were purchased by Houghton’s original owners, the Walpole family, during the mid-18th century-Qing dynasty, mostly through agents rather than directly from China. Were purchased through. , The objects were not looted but were mostly made for export to Europe. It would be difficult to find a country house collection, whether private or owned by the National Trust, which does not exhibit objects acquired in or from China. This is true of most European and American collections.’

[From The Daily Mail]

This statement is very interesting – a spokesperson for Houghton Hall (presumably Rose or someone who worked closely with him) did a deep dive into the origins of the Chinese art located at Houghton and they came up with “This was not David’s Sassoon grandmother, it was actually several generations earlier.” I actually didn’t know that wealthy English families in the 18th century were buying Chinese art through a third party. I mean, the colonizers are going to colonize, although the spokesperson for Houghton Hall is hinting that Qing dynasty artists were creating pieces specifically for export to Europe? I don’t know enough about the history of Asian art export, but it would be interesting to see if actual historians pay attention to this and try to fact-check Cholmondeley’s story.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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