A PRIZED piece of Italian art from Wordsley Manor has sold for a staggering £91,000 – three times its original guide price.

Almost the entire contents from the grade II listed manor house went under the hammer on Saturday (September 2) at Fieldings Auctioneers.

Virtually all of the treasures offered up for sale by owner Christopher Firmstone were bought – with just 12 out of 155 lots failing to be snapped up.

Stourbridge News:

The top lot was a large carved carrara marble sculpture by Emanuele Caroni valued at £20,000 to £30,000 which sold for an incredible £91,000.

Auctioneer Will Farmer said the prized piece - one of three award-winning pieces exhibited by renowned Italian artist Emanuele Caroni into the Exposition Universalle at the Paris Salon in 1867 - was eventually sold to an antiques’ dealer in the north of England who managed to outbid an Italian bidder on the telephone who had jetted over to the Stourbridge auction house a few days ahead of the sale to check out the item (pictured below) which had not been seen publicly since the 19th century.

Stourbridge News:

Mr Farmer said: “The sale was amazing. There was a lot of interest locally and internationally.

“A lot of inquisitiveness turned into buying. I think a lot of people wanted to take something from Wordsley Manor away with them.

“We had buyers from as far away as Australia and North and South America so pieces have gone all over the world.”

The sale also featured a number of pictures by retired architect turned painter Mr Firmstone, who inherited Wordsley Manor in 1991 but who has now put the landmark property on the market.

Stourbridge News:

Having devoted more than a quarter of a century to trying to restore the family home, which dates back to around 1757, the 80-year-old and wife Joan, aged 77, have decided the time is right to move on.

Mr Firmstone, whose architectural work included the adaptation and restoration of Somerset House in London for the Courtauld Galleries, told the News: "My wife and I are getting older and eventually we decided it was impractical to carry on."

He said selling up would be a "big wrench" as the property has been in the family since 1850.

But he added: "Hopefully someone will come along who has the same enthusiasm that I have had for it. I certainly did my bit."

Stourbridge News:

The couple plan to move to an "utterly different", modern-style property in Worcester, Mr Firmstone (pictured above) said - and he added: "We've thoroughly enjoyed being here but having made this decision I'm perfectly happy - one must move on."

Wordsley Manor is on the market for £350,000 with The Lee, Shaw Partnership, Stourbridge, to cash buyers only.