One of the most iconic family names in Irish history is offering you the chance to own part of their vast collection of heirlooms in an auction to take place Tuesday October 6 in Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare.
Patrick and Louise Guinness acquired Furness, a beautiful Georgian house in Kildare, in 1994 and transformed the house into their family home, kitted out with artwork, collectibles and family heirlooms including period furniture, paintings and drawings, wonderful silver and objets d’art, rare examples of carriages and coaches, garden furniture, and statuary as well as an incredible library of books, important manuscript letters and maps.
With their children now all leaving the homestead for places of their own, the couple have decided to downgrade, making Furness and many of its contents available for purchase. Over 700 separate lots will be available in the auction, many of them linked to the Guinness family, to the Mitford family (a minor English aristocratic family made famous by the six Mitford sisters in the 20th century because of their lavish lifestyles in their youth and their differing political leanings - fascism, communism, and aligning with Nazism - in later years), or to the Scottish, Norwegian and German ancestry of Patrick’s mother Mariga (the Princess Marie Gabrielle von Urach).
The family’s collection is truly remarkable and not only encompasses the Guinness family history but offers many important collector’s items for those interested in Irish history in general.
The enviable collection is arrayed throughout all rooms of the house and the auction catalog (available to view here) sets out what’s up for grabs room by room.
Among the items up for sale is a late 19th Century walnut cased polyphone (pictured below, priced at $393 -$505). Made by H. Peters & Co. London in Leipzig, and set out with its original cabinet, the polyphone asks you to “Drop a Penny in the Slot” to hear one of the collection of 12 discs.
A very special piece of Guinness history, the barrels pictured below are believed to fetch as much as $2,245 at auction. The barrels are a rare pair of very large coopered metal bound Stout Barrels, each inscribed Guinness. Rare pieces of advertising merchandise such as porcelain ashtrays are among the smaller trinkets of Guinness collectibles available ($112 - $168).
You could also own a small blue painted single canopy bed specially designed by Patrick’s mother, Mariga, for as little as $250 or an incredible carved and painted Edwardian rocking horse for between $900 and $1,350.
The Furnass Guinness collection includes many interesting rickshaws and carriages such as The Marquess of Lansdowne’s Rickshaw ($2,245 - $3,368). This particular rickshaw is a very rare 19th century Japanese rickshaw decorated with peacocks and birds, with two large 18 spoke wheels, and later leather seat. The 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, was “a British politician and Irish peer who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State of War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,” the auctioneers, Fonsie Mealy writes.
Other such items include an extremely rare example of an early 19th Century full size Road/ Family Coach (priced at $22,456 - $33,684).The coach still shows the decorative signs of its previous owners with a full coat of arms on both doors, in particular, that of the Conyngham family, Co. Meath.
The auction also includes military lots including a very large antique pierced steel helmet ($2,807 - $3,930), and a Victorian suit of armor in the 16th Century style ($900 - $1,347).
As regards the Mitford family, an incredible family table will be one of the biggest lots in the auction, signed and dated 1887 by its designer Henry Dasson of Paris. The table was originally purchased by Algernon Bertram Mitford (1st Lord Redesdale, Batsford House, Gloucestershire) and made its way down the family tree until reaching The Hon. Diana Mitford who married Bryan Guinness.
The extensive library in the house contains small rare treasures collected over many years. A copy of “The History of England, Vol. I” signed by none other than Arthur Guinness himself ($560 - $785) is just one book among the large number the Guinness family are selling.
The total collection will be available to view Saturday, October 3, from 12.00 to 17.59, Sunday, October 4, from 12.00 to 17.59 and Monday, October 5, from 10.30 to 17.00 before the auction on Tuesday.
For more information on the auction or to find out how you can attend, take part online/on the phone, or send a representative, you can visit http://fonsiemealy.ie/current-auction-pdf/.