Horse-drawn fire engine anyone? Wheels and deals in a Tipperary sale

Collectible motors, Olympic top hats and tribal treasures at Victor Mitchell

 

Fans of country pursuits – especially of the equestrian and motorised varieties – will find much to admire at the forthcoming auction at Victor Mitchell’s Mount Butler sale rooms in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. 

The sale, on September 5th, will include the contents of Herbertstown Stud, Fairyhouse – which was recently sold – as well as the second consignment of collectible motorcycles, bicycles and motor-related collectibles from the estate of the late George Murphy of Athy.

The items from Herbertstown are being auctioned on behalf of the representatives of the late Mr F X Monahan. Mr Monahan purchased Herbertstown Stud in the late 1970s, after it was vacated by the late Capt Ian Hume Dudgeon, son of Col Joe Dudgeon, a founding member of the Irish Olympic Horse Trials Society and founder of Burton Hall in Sandyford, Co Dublin, which became one of the world’s most renowned riding schools.

Ian Dudgeon was one of Ireland’s most successful show jumpers. He won the Irish Grand Prix at Dublin in 1950 and 1952 with his famous horse Go Lightly, and represented Ireland in the Olympics in 1952, 1956 and 1960. This despite the fact that during the second World War, he was seriously wounded and both his legs were badly broken (he was subsequently awarded the Military Cross). 

Undaunted, he adopted a new method of riding and returned to the saddle to establish a competitive career which spanned three decades. He became a favourite with crowds all over Europe, and liked to wear a top hat at the bigger shows. According to an obituary published in The Irish Times when Ian Dudgeon died in 2001: “He assumed that his popularity was partly centred around the topper, but crowds at the foreign fixtures adored him because, having seen his awkward gait while he walked the show jumping courses, they were convinced that they were watching a rider with two wooden legs!”

Top hat owned by the Olympic show jumper Ian Hume Dudgeon
Top hat owned by the Olympic show jumper Ian Hume Dudgeon

Top hat

Among the lots from the stable yard at Herbertstown which will come under the hammer at Mitchell’s this week are three of the top hats which Dudgeon regularly wore at shows, including his Royal Scot Grey top hat and two of his Derby hats (estimates €40-€60 each). The sale also includes more than 15 lots of  equestrian lithographs from the late bookmaker Terry Rogers, who was related to the Monahans. These include a limited edition of six lithographs commemorating the 200th running of the Epsom Derby in 1979, with a painting of Lester Piggott mounted on Nijinsky (lot 458, €600-€800). Further stable lots include show plates, tack holders and a jockey’s “good luck” horseshoe stool (lot 30, €100-€150).

Jockey’s ‘good luck’ chair
Jockey’s ‘good luck’ chair

From the house at Herbertstown itself, meanwhile, come a painting by William John Leech, The Church at St Denis, Amboise (lot 380, €12,000-€20,000) and various pieces of furniture, including a pair of 18th-century gilt rococo mirrors (lot 379, €1,200-€1,800) and a 19th-century walnut credenza of neo-classical design (lot 377, €2,000-€2,500). There are also two 19th-century Italian carved oak benches (lot 338, €800-€1,000) as well as library chairs, corner chairs, a four-poster bed and a selection of Persian rugs. A number of Benin tribal bronzes collected by Mr Monahan while he was working in Nigeria in the 1950s will be offered at €150-€300 each.

Mitchell’s will also auction a collection of vintage vehicles and car memorabilia from the estate of the late George Murphy from Athy, Co Kildare, a lifelong collector.

Abingdon King Dick motorbike
Abingdon King Dick motorbike

They include an Austin 10 car, taxed to May 2018 (lot 655, €3,500-€4,500), a 1922 Abingdon King Dick motorbike (lot 262, €1,500-€2,500), a horse-drawn fire engine (€600-€800), a BSA bicycle (€350-€500), an old army bicycle (€300-€500) and a BMB Iron Horse (€400-€600) as well as car horns and badges, bus bells and signs including an RIAC double-sided enamel sign with Hibernia crest (lot 627, €150-€250).

See victormitchell.com