Guinness Family Heirlooms Go Under the Hammer -Auction of major historical interest to take place in Furness..

Heirlooms belonging to the Guinness family of Furness, Naas, Co. Kildare will go under the hammer on the 6th October. Furness, a large Georgian house which was built in 1740, carries great history and character from previous owners. The house currently belongs to Patrick and Louise Guinness. Patrick, the son of Desmond and Mariga Guinness, is seventh generation in direct succession to Arthur Guinness. The auction, which is being handled by specialist auctioneers, Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, gives a rare insight into the important role that the Guinness family have played in preserving Irish history, with furniture, paintings, rare books and manuscripts of Irish and international interest spanning over 200 years.


The collection, which includes 725 lots, has been formed from a wide variety of sources including some chance inheritances that are part of European history over the last two centuries. From Patrick’s grandparents came a number of Guinness and Mitford heirlooms, surnames that have such resonance in Irish and English history. The sale also includes items purchased at the important Irish dispersal sales of the 1950’s and 1960’s; including Carton House, Castletown House, Gormanstown Castle and St. Annes. These items include period furniture, paintings, prints, drawings, wonderful silver, objets d’art, fine library of books, important manuscript letters and maps, rare examples of carriages and coaches, garden furniture and statuary.


The sale includes some important highlights, one of which is 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.


Another extremely rare and interesting item is the early 19th century road coach that is reputed to have been used by King George IV on his visit to Ireland in 1821. King George IV had a “close friendship” with Lady Conyngham, of Slane Castle, and the carriage bears armorials which include the Conyngham family coat of arms.

*Listen to Patrick Guinness discuss Furness with Ryan Tubridy


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