Adam’s ‘Country House Collections’ is highlight of annual auction calendar

Viewing today ahead of two-day auction beginning at Slane Castle tomorrow

The Irish antiques auction of the year, Adam's "Country House Collections", gets underway this weekend at Slane Castle, Co Meath. Adam's usually holds its auctions at its St Stephen's Green saleroom but, for the fifth consecutive year, it is renting the stately home of Lord Henry Mount Charles on the banks of the River Boyne for the event.

The lavish 288-page catalogue features a wealth of antique furniture, silver, clocks, porcelain, rare books, pictures and taxidermy.

The sale features lots from three houses: Somerton, near Castleknock, Co Dublin; Ardbraccan, Navan, Co Meath; and Beaulieu, near Drogheda, Co Louth.

The top lot is a pair of Irish carved mahogany, marble-topped tables, dating from the mid-18th century and from the Laidlaw Collection, formerly of Somerton, estimated at €150,000-€200,000.

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At the other end of the scale is lot 295 (€50-€100) comprising 10 pieces of country-house kitchenalia including a lobster boiler, a crab-claw tongs and a Victorian juicer. One of the most evocative lots is a Victorian red postbox, from Ardbraccan House, estimated at €2,000-€3,000, with a plaque reading “Post leaves at 3.45’’.

A selection of 18th-century paintings includes View of Dawson's Grove, Co Monaghan (€70,000-€100,000) by William Ashford, painted about 1774, depicting the home of Thomas Dawson MP. A painting titled Capriccio by William van der Hagen, who was active in Dublin between 1720 and 1745, is estimated at €35,000-€50,000.

The auction includes the only recorded Irish view by the English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner. His Clontarf Castle, Co Dublin (€20,000-€40,000) is believed to have been painted by Turner after seeing a sketch by another artist.

Among the silver lots are two pairs of table decorations modelled as pheasants, both from Ardbraccan: a 19th-century Dutch pair estimated at €1,500-€2,500, and a more modern English pair by William Comyns and Sons, estimated at €4,000-€6,000.

There is likely to be interest from the horsey set in a rare memento from the infancy of horse racing: the Broughshane Cup (€25,000-€35,000). It is one of the earliest extant Irish racing cups, which commemorates the founding year of Broughshane Racecourse, Co Antrim in 1751. Porcelain collectors will find a large selection of 18th and 19th century Meissen, Sèvres, Bow and Worcester.

Adam's "Country House Collections" is on view at Slane Castle, 11am-5pm today and 10am-noon tomorrow when the two-day sale begins at 1pm.