Victorian claret jug in Avoca silver sale

Heirlooms of family who founded Avoca Handweavers in Mealy’s auction

Victorian Irish silver claret jug, made by West & Son, Dublin in 1886, which was won by EN Wynne for the 800 and 1,000 yards ranges in the Dublin Rifle Club Leinster Cup in 1888. The estimate is €1,500-€2,500 at Mealy’s.

Victorian Irish silver claret jug, made by West & Son, Dublin in 1886, which was won by EN Wynne for the 800 and 1,000 yards ranges in the Dublin Rifle Club Leinster Cup in 1888. The estimate is €1,500-€2,500 at Mealy’s.

Sat, Mar 22, 2014, 02:00

Avoca, which is now one of Ireland’s best known retail brands, began life as a woollen mill in the Co Wicklow town of that name in the early 18th century.

In the 1920s three sisters, from the wealthy Wynne family who had become rich from mining copper in Avoca and lead in Glendalough, inherited the mill and established Avoca Handweavers. The business prospered for a while, even supplying tweed to the Italian couturier Schiaparelli. But, by the 1970s, the mill was on the verge of closure and the Wynne family sold out to Donald and Hilary Pratt, who have given Avoca a new lease of life and opened a chain of shops and cafés.

Una Wynne of Glendalough died last year, aged 91, and Mealy’s auction next week includes more than 200 lots from her estate including family silver, miniature portraits, furniture, porcelain, carpets, clocks and portfolios of watercolours by her artist-relative, Gladys Wynne.

Among the highlights is a Victorian Irish silver claret jug, made by West & Son, Dublin in 1886, which was won by EN Wynne for the 800 and 1,000 yards ranges in the Dublin Rifle Club Leinster Cup in 1888. The estimate is €1,500-€2,500.

Of Georgian interest, a little diary and almanac for the year 1732, kept by James Eckersall, “Clerk of the Kitchin to His Majesty St James’s” contains accounts for staff joining and leaving, kitchen orders for food, laundry, entertaining, maintenance and purchase of “china, lace, books, beer, chocolate, kitchen utensils, etc .” The journal, bound in red leather, was a “gift to Clara Wynne”. The estimate is €400-€700.


Napoleon’s doctor
Elsewhere in the auction, a rare cathedral brass skeleton clock, made in the mid-19th century in Waterford by Mosley & Sons, is estimated at €5,000-€7,000.

A similar clock was sold at a Bonhams auction in London seven years ago for £2,520 (€3,023).

The books section includes many items from the estate of the late Hubert (Hubie) O’Connor, a well-known medical consultant at Mount Carmel hospital, former Irish rugby international and rare book collector who died in 2011.

O’Connor was a keen Francophile and his interest in Dr Barry O’Meara, Napoleon’s Irish doctor, who was with the deposed French leader during his exile on the south Atlantic island of St Helena, sparked three decades of research which culminated in his book The Emperor and the Irishman , published in 2008. Many of his books in the auction have a Napoleonic theme.

Mealy’s two-day auction, Irish Estates and Private Collections, takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25th and 26th at Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny. Viewing begins tomorrow, Sunday, at noon.

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