Irish furniture and classic Irish art for sale at Adam’s Townley Hall

Serious collectors of fine Irish Georgian furniture will find much interest in the annual sale of Adam’s Country House Collections on Monday and Tuesday (October 18-19). Viewing of this annual auction, which this year features a particularly good selection of 18th century Irish furniture as well as fine examples of classical Irish art and silverware, will begin next Friday at Townley Hall near Drogheda.

Among the various highly coveted rarities is an Irish secretary’s cabinet George II from the 1730s / 40s with a broken volute pediment inlaid with filigree marquetry and figures from the Comedia dell’Arte. Adams estimates it between € 20,000 and € 30,000.

There is a similar example of Irish furniture from the Knight of Glin and James Peill. Another Irish half-Georgian secretary’s bookcase with a more traditional straight-fronted design, at one point in Lord Monteagle’s home at Mount Trenchard House near Foynes, is estimated between € 30,000 and € 40,000.

A George II Irish mahogany side table in the style of Richard Cranfield was part of the Lord Leverhulme of Sunlight Soap collection before being sold in New York in 1926 for between € 20,000 and € 30,000.

A superb Irish mahogany side table with an apron carved with scrolls and acanthus leaves and a scallop in the center is estimated between € 20,000 and € 30,000. The same goes for a George III jetty mirror with compartments remarkable for the decoration of blue and clear glass beads so associated with Irish mirrors.

An Irish secretary George II in filigree marquetry at Adams.

There is a magnificent dining table measuring over five meters long on three central quadripod supports. It is estimated between 30,000 and 40,000 €. A set of 18 Regency dining chairs is estimated between € 20,000 and € 30,000. Collectible Irish furniture such as a Killarney worktable (€ 2,000 to € 3,000) is offered at less stratospheric prices and not everything in the sale is Irish.

A remarkable suite of nine pieces of Anglo-Indian furniture in gilded wood, most recently at Prehen House in Derry, was included in the inventory of Castletown House, Co Kildare, from 1893 as “Bombay” furniture. It is estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 €.

An example of fine English cabinetmaking is a George III knee-hole desk from a design by Thomas Chippendale.

Among the silverware is a pair of Dublin 1765 soup tureens by R Holmes and a rare Irish ball-shaped George I teapot made in Cork in 1725 by William Clarke. There is a selection of gold boxes from the private collection of an Italian nobleman. The sale contains two marble busts of Irish sculptor Christopher Moore, one of the 3rd Duke of Leinster, the other of William, 1st Baron Plunkett, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Both date from 1843.

Garret Morphy (c1650-1716) - Portrait of Anne Boyle, 2nd Lady Mountjoy.
Garret Morphy (c1650-1716) – Portrait of Anne Boyle, 2nd Lady Mountjoy.

Garret Morphy (c1650-1716) is considered the first Irish artist of stature. Her 1696 portrait of Anne Boyle, 2nd Lady Mountjoy in a landscape holding a dove accompanied by Cupid, is estimated between € 30,000 and € 40,000. There are two landscapes by James B McCoy (c1750-1780), whose work is rare, and a double portrait of James Latham (1696-1747) considered to be Dublin’s leading portrait painter in the first half of the 18th century.

A comparable example of this portrait of an architect and his son can be found in a family group in Fota.

Adam’s advises that this spectacular sale be seen in person and that it can be seen in the elegant, neo-classical setting of Townley Hall for three days starting Friday. The live and online auction takes place in the auction house at Adam’s St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, on October 18-19.


Meanwhile, a pair of Republican Silver Cork Candlesticks will be the highlight of a special live and online auction of Irish and English silver at the Woodward Sale that will take place that day (16 October).

The candlesticks were made by Egans during the Irish Civil War, when the money could not be sent safely to the Dublin analysis office. Rather, it was stamped with the Cork coat of arms, with two castles and a ship in the center.

Republican money is both rare and popular with collectors. This pair is estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 €.

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