Gems, furniture and collectables in dashing west Cork couple’s estate sale

Anthony and Victoria Bartley collection for Hegarty’s online sale in September

Hegarty's, the Bandon-based auction house, will kick off the autumn season with the Anthony and Victoria Bartley Collection in a live online sale on Sunday, September 5th.

The couple, both deceased, lived in Rosscarbery, Co Cork and had quite extraordinary lives. Anthony, known fondly as Tony to his friends, was born in India in 1919 to Marjorie Hamilton and Irish barrister and High Court judge Sir Charles Bartley, who also served as a judge in the Calcutta High Court.

After becoming a fighter pilot in the second World War and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for scoring eight victories against enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain, he became a test pilot. Through his sister Patricia Bartley, a renowned code breaker at Bletchley Park who helped break the doubly-enciphered German diplomatic Floradora code, he met actress Deborah Kerr, who was her flatmate. His career took a dramatic turn when he married Kerr and studied film production with MGM in Hollywood, and formed various film production companies while also writing a history of Canada for the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

By 1959, his marriage to Kerr was over and he met Victoria Mann. After living in Barbados for several years where he had been appointed a director of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, the couple moved to west Cork and he established Telefilms and published a memoir of his war experiences. Mann was the daughter of Donald Jack Mann CBE, a director at Unilever and Audrey Blacklin, a keen antiques collector who is represented in the eclectic sale, as she and her parents were avid collectors.


Sapphires and diamonds

The sale of over 400 lots has an array of antiques, collectables and jewellery, including a fine cornflower blue 3.2ct sapphire and diamond ring (lot 31, €6,000-€7,000) and an emerald ring of similar size (lot 8, €6,800-€7,500). Hepplewhite-style spider-web backed chairs (lot 38, €1,000-€1,500) feature with a good selection of other seating including an adjustable mahogany and rosewood curved piano stool (lot 200, €500-€600). A Victorian oak-cased provincial domestic regulator grandfather clock by LE Ryan of Limerick, which has been professionally restored (lot 7, €2,800-€3,200) is listed alongside an 18ct yellow gold cased fob watch and chain, from 1906, with the initials WHM (lot 4, €3,500-€4,500) and what the catalogue calls a “very good French-made brass carriage clock by Hamilton and Co of Calcutta” (lot 53, €400-€800).

Curiosities include two fencing swords, one German and one French, both in good condition which are listed at €200-€300 apiece; a rare specimen marble-topped table (lot 74, €2,600-€3,200) and lot 267, a garden ornament in the shape of a metal Cinderella carriage (€450-€650).

Eight carpets listed in the sale range from two contemporary knotted leather pieces that took four months to weave (lots 289 and 290, €150-€250 each) to a fine Persian Kashan from the 1950s, which has a knot density of 350,000-360,000 knots per square metre with natural dyes (lot 394, €1,200-€1,800) and a fine Persian Najafabad handmade woollen pile from the 1940s (lot 370, €700-€900).