Sunday 26 January 2020

Family silver belonging to last 'chieftain' of Luggala to go under the hammer

ARTS LOVER: Garech Browne. Picture: David Conachy
ARTS LOVER: Garech Browne. Picture: David Conachy
A Claddagh ring with an estimate of up to €5,500 will go under the hammer Photo: from Sothebys Royal and Nobel sale 2020
Garech Browne and piper Liam O’Flynn in at Luggala. One of his classic cars can be seen in the background
Browne at Luggala in August 1999, from the book ‘Luggala Days’ by Robert O’Byrne
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

The last ‘chieftain’ of Luggala, Garech Browne, is dead, the estate has been sold and now some of the family silver is about to go under the hammer in London.

The hoard includes collections of rosary beads, Claddagh rings, ornate pocket watches, furniture and even insignia from the Illustrious Order of St Patrick — of which Queen Elizabeth of England still remains ‘sovereign’.

The sale goes ‘live’ at the London auction house Sotheby’s on January 21.

A slew of items “from the collection of the Hon Garech Browne” of Luggala also include a collection of ecclesiastical silver from Galway, comprised of crosses and religious items with an estimated value of between €3,500 and €5,500.

Garech Browne, who was the son of the three-time married Guinness heiress Lady Oonagh Oranmore and Browne, originally lived at Castle MacGarrett in Co Mayo before his mother signed the Luggala estate near Roundwood in Co Wicklow over to him.

The house was recently sold to an Italian count after its contents were inherited by Browne’s nephews, Dorian and Julian, sons of his brother Tara, killed in a car crash in London in 1961 while they were still babies.

As well as inheriting many valuables, Garech Browne was an inveterate collector of art, furniture, horse-drawn carriages, books and curiosities.

Among the items for sale are ‘cuttings’ of cloth from the State coach which was re-decorated for the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838.

While some of the items, including a Claddagh ring with an estimate of €2,350 to €5,500 and an enamel verge watch estimated at €40,000, are on the expensive scale, other items, such as rosary beads, are estimated at €580 and €820.

nail_ggala-claddagh-ring.jpg
A Claddagh ring with an estimate of up to €5,500 will go under the hammer Photo: from Sothebys Royal and Nobel sale 2020

A death mask of poet Austin Clarke by sculptor Eddie Delaney is priced between €3,500 and €5,500.

A ‘breast star’ of the Illustrious Order of St Patrick is valued at between €8,000 and €10,000.

The Order was created in 1784 and the last ‘Knight’ was the Duke of Gloucester in 1936. Since his death in 1974 it has been extinct. The regalia of the Order included what were known as the Irish Crown Jewels, stolen in 1907 and never recovered.

In May, 2006 a huge sale of objects from Luggala raised millions of euros and included the Speaker’s Clock from the Old Irish parliament house in College Green, which was unsold.

Sotheby’s ‘Royal and Nobel’ sale also includes Irish and Georgian furniture, paintings and porcelain from Killadoon House, near Celbridge, Co Kildare, which was built by the first Lord Leitrim.

It includes portraits, one ‘after’ Joshua Reynolds of the Earl of Milltown and another of the Earl of Massereene.

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