Edwardian style sails back into vogue
Bookcase from luxury liner evokes bygone elegance of the White Star line
Titanic wasn’t the only famous luxury ship built for the White Star line by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. The RMS Celtic was launched in April 1901 and, particularly for first-class passengers, offered travel in opulent surroundings. The vessel’s maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York was uneventful but Celtic’s luck didn’t last. It was converted into a troop carrier during the first World War and struck a mine off the coast of the Isle of Man – with the loss of 17 lives – and was attacked by a U-boat in 1918 with the loss of six lives. On both occasions the ship remained afloat and was later repaired.
But in 1928, Celtic’s luck ran out when it became stranded on the rocks at the entrance to Cork Harbour on December 10th. The passengers were rescued but thousands of tons of cargo were lost. Attempts to refloat the liner were unsuccessful and by March 1929 the remaining cargo and the valuable furnishings were removed by special salvage vessels, and sold.
Cork auctioneers Lynes and Lynes will sell a bookcase originally made for RMS Celtic at an auction in the Eastlink Business Park, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, next Saturday. The large four-door breakfront bookcase has decorative glazing bars on the upper section inlaid with seashells. The base has fine marquetry panels, inset with a brass letterbox for posting at sea. The bookcase was made by Harland and Wolff’s own cabinet-makers.
Auctioneer Denis Lynes said “There are many pieces of furniture from this liner in Cork houses and in the Long Valley bar on Winthrop Street but this is the first substantial piece that has come on the market since 1929”. The estimate is €10,000-€15,000.
Collectors prize authenticated provenance, and prospective bidders will be reassured by a photograph that has come to light, courtesy of Michelle Ashmore at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, which shows the interior of RMS Celtic’s first-class library with the book case in situ.
Rare camogie medal
A very different memento of Edwardian Ireland – a medal awarded to a player in the first inter-club camogie match in 1904 – is among the items of historical memorabilia at Whyte’s auction, also next Saturday, in Dublin.
The silver medal was awarded to, and is engraved with, the name M S Uí Floinn. According to the auctioneers , the first camogie match in Ireland was played before the public on July 17th, 1904 at the Navan agricultural society grounds in Co Meath between two Dublin teams: Craobh an Chéitinnigh (the Keating branch of the Gaelic League) and Cúchulainn. Rules for the new stick-and-ball game (essentially a female version of hurling) had been agreed the previous year.
A report in the Freeman’s Journal at the time noted that: “both teams were attired in graceful costumes, the Cúchulain colleens wearing light blue with red sashes and the Keating Gaels wearing light blue with yellow ties. The game was fast throughout and it was within five minutes of the call of time before the first score was recorded, a goal for the Keating Club”.
It was 1912 before there would be an inter-county camogie match and 1932 before the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship started. The medal has an estimate of €600-€800.
Among other highlights of sporting memorabilia is a collection of 18 medals awarded to the Dublin and St Vincent’s Club Gaelic footballer Ray Hazley (€4,000-€5,000) including his 1983 All-Ireland Championship Medal.
Art in Cork
The first Irish art auction of 2013 takes place tomorrow in Cork at the Rochestown Park Hotel where Dolan’s is offering a selection of “affordable” paintings by popular artists including Thelma Mansfield, Ian Cryer, Norman Teeling, Markey Robinson, Ivan Sutton, John Morris, Graham Knuttel and Mark O’Neill. Viewing is underway today.
On Wednesday, Bonhams’ sale of 19th-century art in New Bond Street, London, a painting by the Irish artist Walter Frederick Osborne (1859- 1903), titled Milking Time in St Marnock’s Byre, looks like a classic rural scene but actually depicts a farm at Malahide, Co Dublin, in the 1890s. The estimate is £25,000-£35,000.