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Tony Ryan's 'Lyons lots' set for auction at Christie's

As the Queen was attending a party at the Convention Centre in Dublin, her nephew, Viscount Linley, chairman of the London auction house Christie's, was holding court out in Lyons, the Kildare estate restored by the late Tony Ryan.

He was attending the private preview party of some of the lots from the aviation millionaire's collection, which will be sold in Christie's in London on July 14 next.

There were certainly more titles present in Kildare than on the Docks as voyeurism and reverence went head to head.

Roughly a fifth of Dr Ryan's collection -- 400 lots out of about 2,000 -- will be going under the hammer.

"The house," as Christine Ryall of Christie's pointed out, "will in no way be denuded."

The auction will provide collectors with a rare glimpse into the private Irish treasure trove assembled by Dr Ryan -- the co-founder of Ryanair and a connoisseur who was one of Ireland's biggest philanthropists and supporters of the arts.

Guests last Thursday evening included Countess Dunraven, who arrived up from Adare; and Tom and Valerie Pakenham, who drove up from Tullynally in Co Westmeath. Tom doesn't like to use the title, Lord Longford.

Viscount Linley also caught up with his mother-in-law Ginny, Viscountess Petersham.

The Hon Desmond Guinness arrived in from Leixlip Castle. His daughter Marina was also there, as was her brother Patrick, who was accompanied by his wife Louise Guinness.

The rich are always being tempted by auction houses. Other more egalitarian titles were also present last Thursday evening. Shrewsbury Road's Paul Coulson, who is known as 'The Cooler', flew in from Paris with his wife Moya especially for the viewing.

The Coulsons could see their stake in packaging giant Ardagh valued at as much as €750m as the company prepares to list on the US stock market later this year.

The prize lot on view was an important full-length portrait in pastel of Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801) by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, RHA, 1736-1801.

It carries a whopping estimate of £200,000-£300,000.

The sitter was a Privy Councillor of England and Ireland, whose seat was Hillsborough Castle, Co Down.

The wide array of furniture up for auction includes an Irish George IV mahogany games table attributed to the Stewart of Dublin (estimate: £7,000-£10,000) and a pair of Irish George III oval mirrors (estimate: £6,000-£9,000).

Also included is a pair of George III giltwood and painted satinwood console tables in the manner of Thomas Chippendale the Younger (estimate: £50,000-£80,000)

With estimates ranging from £300 to £300,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £2m.

The viewing continues in Lyons this weekend and ends later today.

Sunday Independent