Testament to taste
Country Life UK|May 05, 2021
Quality and quirk will out, as is evident from the contents sales of a widow of the Ford motor dynasty
Huon Mallalieu

LAST week, Turville Grange, a lovely house with 50 acres on the OxfordBuckinghamshire border, was advertised in COUNTRY LIFE. It is with Knight Frank, ‘price on application’. Its most recent owner was Mrs Henry Ford II, who died a year ago and had further homes in Eaton Square, London SW1, and Palm Beach, Florida, US. The latter was sold recently for $55.15 million (£39.6 million).

Kathleen DuRoss Ford was born in 1940, the daughter of a Detroit factory worker; she was a model, photographer and violinist before marrying ‘Hank the Deuce’ in 1980. He was a grandson of the motor company’s founder and credited with the revival of its fortunes. After her husband’s death seven years later, she was embroiled in a public fight over his estate, emerging with a substantial annual allowance. In her last years, she was in the middle of another court battle between her companion Frank Chopin—a lawyer—and her daughters and other friends.

The contents of Mrs Ford’s homes have now been sold off in New York and London in a series of auctions held by Christie’s, together with one at Doyle of New York. They have generated about £25 million—a tidy sum, if nowhere near the total for the real estate.

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