Thursday, February 22, 2024

Five Of The Best 2022 – The ‘Withnail & I’ Sale

As items from the fictional home of Uncle Monty in ‘Withnail & I’ go to auction, we choose five of the best offered starting at just £100 and share also a selection of quotes from this wonderful black comedy and offer up the ingredients to play the film’s infamous accompanying drinking game

Though routinely regarded as one of the finest British films ever made, Withnail & I is most definitely like Marmite: You either get this seminal black comedy and adore its loucheness or, well, you simply don’t get its decided darkness and just don’t.


Loosely based on director and writer Bruce Robinson’s own life as a struggling actor in Camden, London in the late 1960s and starring Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths and Paul McGann, this iconic film has inspired not only epic drinking games but also featured one of the “flamboyantly bearded” eccentric Nubar Gulbenkian’s Rolls-Royces. That striking coachbuilt motor complete with a speedometer in the rear so Mr Gulbenkian could tell his chauffeur to “speed up and don’t spare the horses” when required featured in The Steeple Times when offered for sale for £195,000 ($265,000, €231,000 or درهم972,000) in October 2014.
Richard E Grant and Richard Griffiths
Richard E. Grant and Richard Griffiths in the library at West House, Glebe Place, Chelsea, London, SW3.
Nubar Gulbenkian Rolls-Royce
Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths and Paul McGann in the film with the Nubar Gulbenkian Rolls-Royce.
West House Glebe Place Chelsea
£20 million West House, Glebe Place, Chelsea, London, SW3 was home to Professor Bernard Nevill and is now owned by the billionaire retail tycoon François Pinault.

Withnail & I was filmed primarily at Sleddale Hall, near Shap in Cumbria – sold for circa £265,000 ($360,000, €314,000 or درهم1.3 million) in 2009 – and at West House in Glebe Place, Chelsea – sold to billionaire retail tycoon François Pinault for £20 million ($27 million, €24 million or درهم100 million) in 2011 – and now after a previous auction in July 2011, further contents from the latter that were used in the film are to be sold by Bellmans Fine Art Auctioneers of Wisborough Green, West Sussex between the 22nd and 24th February.


Offered from the estate of the late Professor Bernard Nevill (1930 – 2019), a decidedly eccentric freelance textile designer and educator who taught amongst others Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark and who owned West House from 1976 to 2011, items featured in the 1987 film from Uncle Monty’s fictional residence to be offered include:



Lot 900 – A Chesterfield style sofa by Howards Limited

Estimate – £4,000 to £6,000 ($5,400 to $8,100, €4,700 to €7,100 or درهم19,900 to درهم29,900). A large Chesterfield style sofa with arched back and out swept arms on oak turned supports, 245cm wide; 90cm high.



Lot 805 – A Flemish historical tapestry

Estimate – £2,000 to £4,000 ($2,700 to $5,400, €2,400 to €4,700 or درهم10,000 to درهم19,900). First half of the 17th century, depicting a battle scene, probably Brussels, 291cm high; 504cm wide.



Lot 880 – A pair of mid 19th century Napoleon III Ormolu mounted ebonised and pietra dura side cabinets

Estimate – £2,000 to £4,000 ($2,700 to $5,400, €2,400 to €4,700 or درهم10,000 to درهم19,900). Each with marble tops over single panel door, 116cm wide; 131cm high.



Lot 870 – A pair of mahogany baluster table lamps

Estimate – £100 to £200 ($136 to $271, €119 to €237 or درهم498 to درهم997). 19th century and later, adapted, each with carved lotus leaf base, 33cm high including electrical fitment.



Lot 830 – An Italian marble bust of Apollo Belevedere

Estimate – £100 to £200 ($136 to $271, €119 to €237 or درهم498 to درهم997). After the antique, late 19th Century, weathered, 29cm high.


The Withnail & I Drinking Game

In order to drink along with Withnail and Marwood when watching the film, you will require:

  • Gin
  • Cider
  • Ale
  • Sherry
  • Whisky
  • Red wine



  • One bottle of lighter fluid (you are allowed to substitute this for rum or vinegar as was done to Richard E. Grant to the film the vomiting scene).
  • One Camberwell Carrot (a legendary spliff).


Withnail drinks in the order of 9 ½ glasses of red wine, 1 pint of cider, 1 shot of lighter fluid, 2 ½ shots of gin, 6 glasses of sherry, 13 whiskeys and ½ a pint of ale through the film. Here they are in order:


  • Mouthful of red wine
  • Lighter fluid (e.g. overproof rum)
  • Double gin
  • Finger of cider (with ice)
  • Finger of cider (with ice)
  • Finger of cider (with ice)
  • Glass of sherry
  • Two big chugs of sherry
  • Mouthful of sherry
  • Sip of sherry
  • Double whisky
  • Mouthful of whisky
  • Mouthful of whisky
  • Mouthful of whisky
  • Mouthful of whisky
  • Splash of whisky
  • Single Teachers
  • Double Teachers
  • Double Teachers
  • Single Teachers
  • Sip of sherry
  • Three fingers of ale
  • Sip of red wine
  • Gulp of sherry
  • Small glass of red wine
  • Sip of red wine
  • Half glass of red wine
  • Sip of Pernod
  • Sip of red wine
  • Sip of red wine
  • Gulp of red wine
  • Gulp of red wine
  • Finger of red wine
  • Finger of red wine
  • Gulp of red wine (1953 Margeaux)
  • Gulp of red wine (1953 Margeaux)
  • Gulp of red wine (1953 Margeaux)
  • Gulp of red wine (1953 Margeaux)


The Best Lines in Withnail & I

Richard E. Grant as Withnail and voted the 3rd favourite film one-liner in a 2003 poll of 1,000 film fans:

“We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here and we want them now.”


More on wine:

Withnail: “I’ve some extremely distressing news.”

Marwood: “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear anything. Oh God, it’s a nightmare, I tell you, it’s a nightmare.”

Withnail: “We’ve just run out of wine. What are we going to do about it?”


On being drunk:

Withnail: “I’m utterly arseholed.”


On money:

Marwood: “If my father was loaded, I’d ask him for some money.”

Withnail: “If your father was my father, you wouldn’t get it.”


On politics:

Monty: “Are you a sponge or a stone?”

Marwood: “What do you mean?”

Monty: Do you like to experience all facets of life? Or do you shut yourself off from new experience?”

Marwood: “I voted Conservative.”


Withnail on his own family:

Marwood: “How come Monty owns such a horrible little shack?”

Withnail: “No idea.”

Marwood: “You never discuss your family do you?”

Withnail: “I fail to see my family’s of any interest to you. I’ve absolutely no interest in yours. I dislike relatives in general and in particular mine.”

Marwood: “Why?”

Withnail: “I’ve told you why. We’re incompatible.”


Withnail on his own career:

Withnail: “I’m a trained actor reduced to the status of a bum!”


On the squalor they live in:

Withnail: “What is it? What have you found?”

Marwood [pulling some goo out of the sink]: “Matter.”


Withnail: “Look at us! Nothing that reasonable members of society demand as their rights! No fridges, no televisions, no phones. Much more of this and I’m going to apply for meals on wheels.”


As they drive past some schoolgirls:

Withnail [leaning out the car window]: “Scrubbers!”

Schoolgirl: “Up yours, grandad!”

Withnail: “Scrubbers! Scrubbers!”

Marwood: “Shut up.”

Withnail: “Little tarts, they love it.”


Overtaking a car on the motorway:

Withnail: “Here comes another f**ker!”


On the farmhouse they stay in:

Withnail: “This place is uninhabitable.”

Marwood: “Give it a chance. It’s got to warm up.”

Withnail: “Warm up? We may as well sit round this cigarette. This is ridiculous. We’ll be found dead in here next spring.”


Withnail: “How can it be so cold in here? It’s like Greenland in here. We’ve got to get some booze. It’s the only solution to this intense cold.”


Uncle Monty’s attempts to seduce Marwood:

Monty [entering Marwood’s room in the dark]: “Boy… boy… I know you’re not asleep, boy.”


Monty: “I had to come. I tried not to. Oh, how I tried not to.”

Marwood: “Listen, Monty, there’s something I have to explain to you.”

Monty: “You needn’t explain, [Withnail’s] told me everything. He told me that first day you came to Chelsea.”

Marwood: “What’s he told you?”

Monty: “He told me about your arrest in the Tottenham Court Road. He told me about your problems. How you feel. Your desires.”

Marwood: “Problems? What problems?”

Monty: “You are a toilet trader.”


Monty: “You mustn’t blame him. You mustn’t blame yourself. I know how you feel and how difficult it is. And that’s why you mustn’t hold back, let it ruin your youth as I nearly did over Eric. It’s like a tide. Give in to it, boy. Go with it. It’s society’s crime, not ours.”

Marwood: “I’m not homosexual, Monty.”

Monty: “Yes, you are! Of course you are! You’re simply blackmailing your emotions to avoid the realities of your relationship with him.”

Marwood: “What are you talking about?”

Monty: “You love him. And it isn’t his fault he cannot love you any more than it’s mine that I adore you.”


On taking Uncle Monty’s money to buy wellingtons:

Withnail: “I think a drink, don’t you?”

Marwood: What about the wellingtons?”

Withnail: “Oh, bollocks to the wellingtons. We’ll tell him they had a farmers’ conference and had a run on them.”


To the local poacher:

Jake: “I might come and see you lads in the week. I might fetch you up a rabbit.”

Withnail: “We don’t want a rabbit, we want a pheasant.”

Jake: “Listen, you young prat. I ain’t got no pheasants, ain’t got no birds. No more than you have.”

Withnail: “Course you have, you’re the poacher.”

Jake [pointing an eel at him]: “If I hear more words out of you, I’ll put one of these here black pods on you.

Withnail: “Don’t threaten me with a dead fish!”

Jake: “Half dead he may be, but I’ll come up after you, and I’ll wake you up with a live one.”


Returning to London:

Danny: “Where exactly have you two been?”

Marwood: Holiday in the countryside.

Danny: “That’s a very good idea. London is a country coming down from its trip. We are 91 days from the end of this decade and there’s gonna be a lot of refugees.”


On having a hangover:

Withnail: “I feel like a pig shat in my head… I’ve got a bastard behind the eyes… There must and shall be aspirin!”


On wanting yet more booze:

Withnail: “I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze!”


Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.



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