Dromoland books to be sold in Florida
Items offered on November 10th include a 1680 history of the 1641 rebellion, a 1755 Irish law overview and a 1759 geography book
Dromoland Castle: a number of books bought at a 1962 liquidation auction at the castle are leading the Exceptional Estates sale at Blackwell Auctions of Clearwater, Florida
Books which once graced the library at Dromoland Castle are to be sold in the US next week. A number of books bought at a 1962 liquidation auction at the castle are leading the Exceptional Estates sale at Blackwell Auctions of Clearwater, Florida.
“The earliest volumes in the collection appear to have been collected by Sir Edward O’Brien, the 2nd Baronet, who lived until 1765,” says Blackwell’s owner Edwin Bailey. “Many of the books pertain to Irish history, geography and law, and some have fore-edge paintings.”
Fore-edge paintings are illustrations on the gilded edge of a volume’s pages, invisible except when the book is fanned at a certain angle.
The books offered on November 10th include a 1680 history of the 1641 rebellion, a 1755 Irish law overview and a 1759 geography book, as well as a rare, two-volume Southey edition of Le Morte d’Arthur with fore-edge paintings (Lot 104, $1,000-$2,000), a two-volume 1762 set of the works of Machiavelli and a four-volume set of poetry by Robert Burns (Lot 105, $1,000-$2,000).
A further sale in January 2019 will include an exceedingly rare edition of William Bligh’s Voyage to the South Sea, printed in Dublin in 1792.
The catalogue gives the following provenance for each book: “Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, Ireland. From the library of Sir Edward O’Brien, second Baronet (1705-1765), inherited by his son, Sir Lucius O’Brien, 3rd Baronet (1731-1795), then by his son, Sir Edward O’Brien, fourth Baronet (1773-1837). The library was pretty much intact until 1962, when Donough O’Brien, the 16th Baron Inchiquin, was forced to sell the castle and its contents at public auction. The December 1962 sale – conducted by James Adams & Sons of Dublin – was attended by Gioia Marconi Braga, the daughter of Beatrice O’Brien and inventor Guglielmo Marconi. O’Brien was the daughter of the 14th Baron Inchiquin (1839-1900). Braga purchased a number of volumes from the auction and brought them to the US. Thence by descent in the family.”
“A historic table from Dromoland Castle sold at Adam’s earlier this month for close to a half million dollars,” Bailey says. “We’re honoured to offer items from the same castle, from the same family, books that might well have sat on that very table while being read by an O’Brien more than two centuries ago.”