Titanic sister ship fittings may sell for up to €650,000 in Laois auction
Ornate panelling from the Titanic's sister ship will be sold in a historic auction next month and could sell for as much as €650,000.
Taken from two state rooms on the Britannic, the wooden overlay will take centre stage at the auction at the Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co Laois, on May 1 and 2.
Rediscovered after their use in a Dublin city centre cinema until 1972, the panelling came from the first-class lounge and the second-class library.
Launched in 1914, two years after the ill-fated voyage of RMS Titanic, HMHS Britannic was intended to be superior to her twin.
However, during World War I, the ship was requisitioned as a hospital ship and had the fittings removed.
One year later, while en route to collect troops wounded in the Balkans campaign, the ship hit a mine laid by a German U-boat and sank in the Aegean Sea.
The wreck lay at a depth of 400ft for 59 years until it was discovered by explorer Jacques Cousteau.
The Britannic's furniture and fittings were auctioned in Belfast in 1919 and ornate carved wood panelling from both the first-class lounge and second-class library were used to adorn the La Scala Theatre and Opera House in Dublin, which later became the Capitol Cinema.
They remained in place until the building's demolition in 1972, making way for what is now Penneys, and the panelling was installed in a private home near Dublin.
Manufactured by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, the panelling was carved to a design by Arthur Henry Durand, which matches the fittings installed in the Titanic, and features the ship number and panelling number on the reverse of each piece.
"These pieces are identical to the designs used on the Titanic, and cannot be replicated, either for their historical value or their ornate craftsmanship," said auctioneer Niall Mullen.
"They are a truly significant nautical find of world importance.
"The first-class lounge panelling, framed in richly carved polished oak in a Louis XV style, has a guiding price of €250,000 to €350,000.
"The second-class library is panelled and framed in maple, handsomely carved in a Colonial Adams-style design, measures 25 metres squared, and has a guiding price of €200,000 to €300,000."
The auction catalogue will be available to view at victormeeauctions.ie or titanicsisterauction2019.com.