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Thursday 8 December 2016

Eager bidders pour into Guinness heir's house-clearance sale

Furness, a large Georgian house which was built in 1740, carries great history and character from previous owners.
Furness, a large Georgian house which was built in 1740, carries great history and character from previous owners.
A painting entitled "The Spirit of Justice", a portrait of Caroline Norton by famous Cork artist Daniel Maclise. Norton is regarded as the first major Irish female icon of the 19th century, having fought for early women's rights. Her intense campaigning led to the passing of the Custody of Infants Act 1839, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 and the Married Women's Property Act 1870 which was for sale at the auction of Heirlooms belonging to the Guinness family of Furness, Naas, Co. Kildare at the Kilashee Hotel, Co. Kildare. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 6/10/2015
Patrick Guinness

New homes have been found for more than 700 items previously owned by heirs to the Guinness brand.

Contents from Furness House - the home of Patrick and Louise Guinness (inset), which is currently on the market - were auctioned off at Killashee House Hotel yesterday.

Patrick is seventh generation in direct succession to Arthur Guinness. He and his wife bought Furness in 1994.

The couple have decided to downsize and sell their home, along with many of its valuable contents, as their four children have flown the nest.

Items up for sale included memorabilia from Guinness and Co.

A rare pair of metal-bound stout barrels inscribed with the company name sold for €2,300 while a set of coloured caricature prints, The Gentle Art of Making Guinness, went for €1,600.

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The Spirit of Justice painting

Patrick and Louise, who attended the auction, said they were pleased with how it went.

"We've been working on this now for the last fortnight and I think it has gone pretty well," said Mr Guinness.

"Some lots go very well and others don't. There's always surprises, I suppose."

One surprise included the success of an Edwardian carved and painted rocking horse on a pine frame, which sold for €6,600. It had been estimated at €800 €1,200.

"We didn't expect the rocking horse to go for that much," said Mr Guinness.

"With other lots, a lovely cupboard goes for €200 and you think, it's got to be worth more than that. It's pot luck."

He said that public viewings of the lots, which took place at Furness over the weekend, generated a great deal of interest.

"We had maybe a couple of thousand people and you can't ask for more than that," he said.

"We were really lucky with the weather. We said a prayer to the local saint.

"We have a church at the back of Furness, so we said a prayer and it seems to have worked."

George Fonsie Mealy, the director of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, said: "This is an incredibly exciting sale, with many unusual items.

"Each piece has a story of origin, some dating back to the 1700s, and a collection as extensive and varied as this, with so much family history attached, is now seldom offered on the public market."

Some items on view at Furness were being sold on behalf of other private clients.

These included the famous Francis Johnston Speaker's Clock, which chimes God Save the Queen and sold for €115,000.

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