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    John Poyntz, 5th Earl Spencer, and The Ward Union Hunt. UPDATE: SOLD FOR 15,000 STERLING

    IN the midst of Irish controversy over Minister John Gormley’s desire to ban stag hunting an unusual subject is due for auction in the Althorp Attic sale at Christie’s in South Kensington on July 7-8 next. Lot 175, an oil on canvas by Michael Angelo Hayes R.H.A. (1820-1877) depicts John Poyntz, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910) with the Ward Union Hunt in 1877.

    The ‘Red Earl’ served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland twice during William Gladstone’s four administrations – 1868-1874 and 1882-1885. His first tenure there was relatively relaxed in comparison with his second – with the Spencers hosting and participating in much entertainment and sport. The Vice-regal lodge in Phoenix Park was home to Ireland’s Lords Lieutenant.

    Michael Angelo Hayes (1820-1877), the Irish painter of military and sporting subjects, was born in Waterford and was the son of the portrait painter Edward Hayes. The painting is estimated at £15,000 – £25,000.

    The Ward Union is the only Stag hunt in Ireland and was founded in 1854. It takes its name from a hamlet and river called the Ward in Finglas and a roadside hotel at the time called The Union. Proceeds from the sales of contents from the attics, basements and stables of Althorp, ancestral home of the late Princess Diana, are destined to help pay for the current re-roofing and renovation project at Althorp Estate in Northamptonshire, England.

    * The Government narrowly won a Dáil vote banning stag hunting by 75-72 on June 29.

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