It was one of two that came for sale from Newbattle Abbey near Edinburgh, the former home of the Marquesses of Lothian and latterly a conference and wedding venue. Estimated at £1000-1500, after frantic bidding online and via five phone lines, it took £56,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).
The saddle itself, with bridle and other tack, was covered in yellow silk velvet with embossed white metal mounts. The heraldry to the raised pommel appears to date it to the 19th century: the coat of arms is one created by Abdulhamid II (1842-1918), the last sultan to exert effective control over the fracturing Ottoman state.
However, the red velvet saddle cloth, applied with gilt metal stars and silver studs, was possibly earlier.
A second saddle, catalogued as 18th century, sold at £7500. It too was covered in yellow velvet with its red silk velvet saddle cloth worked with floral and foliate metallic thread embroidery.
Ottoman saddles are not particularly rare but the best examples can command substantial sums. In April 2015 Christie’s sold an 18th century silver-gilt mounted saddle at £110,000 (£134,500 including premium).
Also see ceramics feature in this issue for lots from Newbattle Abbey sold in the same L&T auction.