England's oldest golf course Royal Blackheath Golf Club is to sell its prized portrait of Henry Callender to raise money to buy the freehold, and secure ownership of the course.
England's oldest golf club Royal Blackheath Golf Club is to sell its prized portrait of Henry Callender to raise money to buy the freehold, and secure ownership of the course.
Royal Blackheath may be considered to be England's oldest club -- and one of the oldest in the world. But since its inception in 1608, it has sat on ground owned by the British Crown.
That land has been put up for sale, and to buy it, the club is auctioning off its prize possession -- an 18th century painting of club captain Henry Callender by Lemuel Francis Abbott.
The portrait of Callender, who was captain of the club, dates back to around 1790 and has been hanging in the clubhouse for more than two centuries. With regret from the clubs members however it will soon go up for auction, where it may raise as much as £800,000.
"We're terribly disappointed that we feel we need to sell this, and the only reason we would do so is that we've got a unique opportunity to buy the freehold of the golf club," says past captain Rod Baker.
"It's the only reason that we could even contemplate selling something like that, to secure our future: they have offered it to us and the members are doing what they can to raise the funds to do that."