Last call for treasures of Ryanair founder

Remaining items from the late Tony Ryan’s Kildare mansion, Lyons Demesne, to be auctioned by Adams Blackrock

 

Adams Blackrock, the south Co Dublin auction house, has stolen a march on its bigger rivals by securing the sale of the remaining items from the fine art and antiques collection amassed by the late Tony Ryan, the co-founder of Ryanair.

Ryan, a native of Thurles, Co Tipperary, who died aged 71 in 2007, was a billionaire tax exile whose main residence was in Monaco. His lavish Irish home – Lyons Demesne near Celbridge, Co Kildare – was filled with Ireland’s most valuable private collection of art and antiques, which the Financial Times famously described as “an airline magnate’s flights of fancy” providing “all the essentials for decorating a magnificent country house”.

Lyons Demesne, formerly home to the Earls of Cloncurry, was bought by Ryan in 1996. The house, on 600 acres, which had initially been for sale for a reputed €70 million, was taken off the market last year having failed to sell at €30 million.

In 2011, Ryan’s heirs sold part of the collection at Christie’s in London for £3.4 million. Some further items were sold through Mealy’s a year later and now, the remaining items – 100 lots – have been consigned to Adams Blackrock and will go under the hammer on Tuesday, March 24th, at 11am. Auctioneer Martina Noonan says“the house is now empty” and describes the action as “the last hurrah” for Tony Ryan’s art and antiques collection.

The top lot is a painting of west of Ireland gentry titled Double Portrait of Robert Mason, of Masonbrook, Loughrea, Co. Galway, and Sara Monck, Both Seated in an Interior, a Landscape Beyond , which measures 130cm by 70 cm (4 ft by 2 ft). It is estimated at €8,000-€10,000.

“Tony Ryan bought this painting at Sotheby’s in 2005 for £21,000,” Noonan says, a time she describes as “the peak” of the boom, thus explaining her decision to offer it now for less than half that sum.

She says the painting is “not signed, but is believed to be by Charles Jervas”, an important London-based, early 18th-century Irish artist. Another version of the painting described as “after Charles Jervas” was among the lots from Lyons Demesne sold at Christie’s. Noonan adds that “Tony Ryan seemed to have liked pairs”.

Other highlights include a Regency rosewood library table (€4,000-€6,000), a set of six George III mahogany hall chairs (€2,000-€3,000) and a Victorian stained pine post box, bearing a black brass plaque inscribed The Albany Club (€400-€600).

Viewing in the saleroom at 38 Main Street, Blackrock, from Friday, March 20th. For further viewing details and online catalogue see adamsblackrock.com

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