Vintage putters, woods, irons, antique balls and tees all jostle with golfing art, books and artefacts for the enthusiast’s attention at Phillips sale in Chester on 12th July 2000.
The undoubted highlight of the sale is a fine portrait of John Whyte-Melville Esq. of Bennochy and Strathkinness (72 x 46 cm.), estimated to fetch £150,000 – £250,000. Painted by Sir Francis Grant PRA (1810-1878), legendary golfer Whyte-Melville is depicted on the famous St Andrews links, wood in hand while his caddy prepares the ball on a tee. To the right, over the Swilcan Bridge, other golfers are playing, with the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse beyond. Another version of this portrait hangs in the R&A Clubhouse to this day, commissioned by the members of the Union Club of St Andrews in 1875.
John White-Melville (1797-1883) played an important part in the history of the game of golf. He became a member of the Royal & Ancient Club in 1816 and was elected Captain of the Club in 1823. He was key in the unification of the R&A and the Union Clubs and also laid the foundation stone of the clubhouse in 1853.
White-Melville is also renowned for a famous survival bet made with Sir David Moncrieff in 1820, The terms of the wager stipulated that on the death of one of them, the other should donate to the club a silver putter on which the arms of the two parties were engraved. Whyte-Melville played two rounds of golf three days a week without fail until he was well over eighty-five. In 1883 the Captaincy of the Royal and Ancient was offered to him for the second time but he died before he could take office.
Also included in the Phillips sale are a variety of rare golf clubs including those made by Morris, Forgan, Park and McEwan, books, memorabilia, rare programmes and other works of art.
Entries for the sale will be accepted up to Wednesday 31st May. Free valuations can be arranged and catalogues reserved by contacting the specialist, Colin Palmer.