Portrait of a FitzGerald who bore 22 children among contents ofonline sale

Painting among contents of Seafield House, Donabate, for auction at Sheppard’s

After the recent sale of Seafield House in Donabate, the contents of the Palladian mansion, standing on 80 acres of parkland, will be offered in Sheppard’s live online sale at its saleroom in Durrow from Tuesday, December 7th until Friday December 10th.

Titled the Cronin Collection, as Seafield – one of the finest houses in Dublin – was home to Liam and Kaye Cronin for over 21 years after they spent an estimated €3 million on refurbishment. Some of the furniture has been purchased by new owners who spent close to the estimated €10 million asking price on the house and gardens, and the rest will form part of the sale along with other Irish estates.

With the advent of wintery winds and rain many of us will be lighting fires again and for those in search of fireside furniture the sale does not disappoint. There are almost 40 lots, from Regency fenders (€800-€1,200) and Georgian fire irons, to three neo-classical Bossi-style chimney pieces ranging in price from €5,000 -€12,000.

Most interesting are the old paintings and the characters who are portrayed within the deep gilt frames

Top lots include what the catalogue, of almost 2,000 items, refers to as an “important pair of Edwardian satinwood bookcases”. With profusely inlaid crowns and doors, they are expected to fetch between €20,000 and €30,000, while a pair of Louis XVI period gilt console tables from circa 1780, in demi-lune shape with marble tops, are listed at €14,000-€18,000.


Most interesting are the old paintings and the characters who are portrayed within the deep gilt frames. Lot 111 is a portrait of Emilia Mary FitzGerald (1731-1814). Born Emilia Lennox, she became the Duchess of Leinster and divided her time between her two homes: Leinster House – today the seat of the Dáil – and Carton House, now a hotel and golf club. She had nineteen children from her first marriage to James FitzGerald, the Duke of Leinster. Her youngest son, Lord George Simon FitzGerald, though recognised as the son of the Duke, was actually the son of the children's tutor William Ogilvie, who Emilia married when she became a widow, and went on to have three more children. So perhaps the look of utter boredom on her face in the painting was due to the fact she was rather busy attending to her offspring and estates (€2,000-€3,000). A bust of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, and after whom the eponymous college in Ballinteer is named, is listed at €150-€250.

Tomorrow, December 5th, South Dublin Auctions who first began trading during the pandemic, will host a large auction from the contents of a 8,000sq ft house in Straffan, Co Kildare. The live online sale of in excess of 300 lots features a number of tables including a table tennis unit and one of the star lots, which is a colossal circular table and thirteen chairs listed at an estimate of €5,000-€10,000. Should you need one for Christmas, the sale also has a large solid mahogany home bar, which the catalogue says initially cost over €25,000 and is now seeking €3,000-€6,000.