Top lot at Sheppard’s: a pair of French cabinets, expected to sell for €180,000

Three-day sale with 1,800 lots in Laois auction house

A pair of mahogany and marquetry commodes, each 76cm wide by François Linke, circa 1900, €140,000-€180,000, at Sheppard’s

A pair of French mahogany cabinets in Sheppard's auction next week is expected to sell for up to €180,000. Auctioneer Michael Sheppard described them as "the best and most valuable pieces of furniture to appear at auction in Ireland for many years" and the most important furniture sold by the family-run firm since its establishment in 1948.

The “mahogany and marquetry commodes, each 76cm wide and with Breccia marble tops”, are signed by Parisian ébéniste (cabinet-maker) François Linke and were made circa 1900.

Linke, of Bohemian origin, was regarded as the most outstanding among the 20,000 furniture makers in Paris at the time. He had a workshop at 170 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine and a showroom in the Place Vendôme. His furniture, a combination of 18th-century style and art nouveau, won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle, a world fair held in Paris in 1900 and visited by 50 million people.

Sheppard’s said the cabinets (estimated at €140,000-€180,000) had been consigned by a “continental European family” who had moved to live in Ireland. The cabinets, Lot 297, are on view from today and will go under the hammer on Tuesday.


Some 1,800 items in the three-day auction are on display in the saleroom, from garden statuary to jewellery, paintings to taxidermy.

Good things come in pairs would seem to be an (unplanned) theme running through the catalogue.Lot 1,650, a pair of torchères, estimated at €3,000-€5,000, were originally in Ballyfin, Co Laois, the former home of Sir Charles Coote and now Ireland's most exclusive luxury hotel.

A large selection of antique guns includes, Lot 758, a pair of Irish 18th-century blunderbusses made by Dublin gunsmiths, Edwards (€1,500-€2,500).

Lot 1,196, a pair of tulip vases from the Co Fermanagh Belleek pottery's second period, which lasted from 1891 until 1926, is estimated at €1,400-€1,800.

Two pairs of colourful porcelain parrots, are already attracting interest. Lot 1,088 features two birds each 44cm high, with a Meissen mark, estimated at €2,000- €3,000; while Lot 1,202 is a pair of 19th-century parrots, 15cm high (€400-€600).

Lot 1,172, a pair of 19th-century porcelain vases by Carl Thieme of the Saxon Porcelain Manufactory, Potschappel, Dresden, is painted with images of parrots (€1,200-€1,800).

Lot 266, is a pair of silver-plated meat dish covers, made in England circa 1840, with shell, leaf and gadroon borders, each engraved with a coat of arms (€300-€500).

The cover of the catalogue features another pair, Two Dogs on the Scent (€1,450-€2,250) a Victorian oil painting by Colin Graeme Roe, a 19th-century English artist.

Viewing for Sheppard's Outstanding Interiors and Exteriors sale begins at 10am this morning at the saleroom in Durrow, Co Laois where the auction begins on Tuesday, April 29th at 10.30am and continues on Wednesday and Thursday. Catalogue: