Between the covers

 

Sir, – In reference to your article “Eason’s flagship O’Connell Street store at €24.5m on sale-and-leaseback basis (Commercial Property, June 19th). I must point out that in 1886 Mr Eason acquired his business from WH Smith, not the building, which has stood on O’Connell Street and previously Sackville Street, in one form or another since the 1780s or 1790s.

This building was purchased by Eason from Kate Lesage on April 26th, 1887 (for the sum of £325 – the equivalent today of about half a million euro!).

Eason, at the time, already owned a building on Middle Abbey Street.

After the 1916 Rising, the two buildings were rebuilt and joined together to form the structure we all know today.

Before Charles Eason and Son set up shop, Mrs Lesage ran a highly successful artists’ depository on Sackville Street, alone, where she also acted as a print-seller, picture-frame- maker and was a Parisian agent – a tough woman, having endured a highly controversial and public divorce – almost unheard of at the time, reported in this newspaper in 1881.

Her ex-husband, AE Lesage, was a prominent member of Parnell’s Home Rule League, being elected to the party council in 1879.

The Lesage family branched out from the Parisian Bourgeoisie, selling furnishings to the royal families of Europe and the French aristocracy, into Edinburgh in the mid-1830s and Dublin in the early 1840s.

The family, in fact, is mentioned in Balzac’s The Magic Skin. One wonders if Eason stocks this particular book? – Yours, etc,

LUKE A LESAGE,

Glasnevin, Dublin 11 &

SIMONA CATTINA,

Brescia, Italy.