Period homes set to reveal their treasures at auction

Highlights of sales at Knockboyne House and Erindale House include Chinese carvings, Edwardian satinwood bookcases and peat buckets

Whiskey, washbasins and wood carved bookcases: it’s a busy week ahead for Irish auctions.

Firstly, taking place tomorrow, Kells auctioneer Damien Matthews will conduct a clearance of Knockboyne House in Navan. The Regency villa on almost four acres is also on the market, seeking € 1.675 million through Smith Harrington. The property has been home to Dr Mary Randles, a retired local doctor, who is now downsizing from the six-bedroom 367sq m pile. With more than 670 lots, the sale includes a good selection of period furniture, gilded mirrors, porcelain, paintings and collectables. Top lots include a pair of satinwood demi-lune side tables with swag motif (€2,000-€3,000); a large pair of brassbound mahogany peat buckets (€1,200-€1,800) and what some collectors may consider controversial: an antique Chinese carved rhinoceros horn (€4,000-€7,000).

Meanwhile Sheppard’s of Durrow will hold a four-day sale, commencing March 1st, of the contents of Erindale House in Carlow. The 510sq m property on about 30 acres, which was seeking €1.1 million through Savills, has just been listed as having sold this month. Highlights among the 1,500 plus lots include a pair of Louis XVI gilt console tables (€14,000-€18,000); an important pair of Edwardian satinwood bookcases (€10,000-€15,000) and an Irish Regency gilt framed convex mirror (€5,000-€8.000).

Victor Mitchell in Roscrea is expecting competitive bidding at its Spring Antique Furnishings and Interiors sale, which will take place on Wednesday, March 2nd. With more than 650 lots, highlights include a Belgian Rouge fireplace (€1,500); a George III library bookcase (€1,500) and an Irish pine mule chest, which could make a great duvet or linen storage box (€400).


Unusual lots in the forthcoming Lynes & Lynes sale, which will take place next Saturday, March 5th, at its salesroom in Carrigtwohill, include a rather rare antique circular dining table, measuring more than 6ft in diameter (€3,000-€4,000). "Most circular tables that turn up at auction have a 4ft or 4.6ft diameter, and while a 5ft one would be a good size, this one would seat 10 people and it retains its original centre-pod support," according to Denis Lynes, who curated the sale. Comprising of the contents of two houses from Natt Ross Storage in Cork, along with other clients, the sale also features the items from a religious order.

One remarkable piece is a huge carved oak bookcase, which was made for the Cork International Exhibition in 1902 (€1,000-€1,500). “When we collected the bookcase from the religious order, there was a note stating it was made for the exhibition by a Cork cabinet maker and his pupils and was subsequently purchased by the order,” explains Lynes. After the exhibition of 1883, the School of Art in Cork introduced wood-carving courses. The piece, which has very intricate carving on the doors, gives an indication to the extent of the spectacle which attracted over a million visitors in 1902. Gondolas, steered by singing Venetian boatmen entertained passengers crossing the river, along with ferries and electric launches. The Great Water Chute, which rose to 70ft in height, carried punters up a gradual ascent, then changed direction, rapidly hitting the water at speed. Skating rinks, The Cave of the Winds, all kinds of sports, along with natural history, geological, modern science and history sections added to the marvel. The exhibition area had a floor space of 170,000sq ft – just short of four acres – with halls, restaurants and kiosks set under an embellished dome. The exhibition was such a success, it was decided to hold the Greater Cork International Exhibition the following year, which was visited by King Edward VII.

Further curiosities include a late 19th-century ship’s washbasin (€100-€200) from Natt Ross Storage, so the auction house has no further provenance. Also included is drawing and dining-room furniture, and stainless steel items, in what is a very interesting sale. Many lots have no reserve.

Currently online, ending Monday, March 7th, is Dolan’s Spring Auction of Irish Art, Whiskies and Antiques. Lots include a full set (five) of Teeling Centenary Collection Whiskeys. Only 250 bottles were issued each year from 2014 to 2017 – and even less in 2018, when only 225 bottles were released (€4,000-€6,000).

Works by Susan Cronin, Flora Mitchell, Arthur Maderson and Mark O'Neill are listed alongside Cecil Maguire's Going to Mass, Roundstone, which is described by Niall Dolan as "one of the very best Cecil Maguire's to come on the market for many years". It is listed with a €12,000-€16,000 estimate. Another Maguire work on the same subject in the artists' adopted home of Roundstone sold for €32,000 at a Dolan sale in 2006.

Norah McGuinness's Crows in the Hayfield, in its original Dawson Gallery frame, is seeking €20,000-€30,000, with works by stained-glass artist Manus Walsh, whose works feature on Galway Cathedral and St John's Church in Ballyvaughan, of interest to collectors.,,, and