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  • Posts Tagged ‘Fonsie Mealy’


    Sunday, April 14th, 2019

    With everything from a portrait of Lord Tracton to the Dennis silver tray which recounts in Victorian detail the sterling efforts of a magistrate in Wicklow to repress insubordination along the borders of Wicklow, Carlow and Kildare in 1822 the Fortgranite house contents sale by Fonsie Mealy  next Tuesday offers much to tempt collectors.  Among more than 850 lots are a Qing Dynasty cabinet, war medals from both World Wars, a Boer war letter from Winston Churchill and a Qing Dynasty cabinet.  Fortgranite in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow was the home of the Dennis family for three centuries.  They were originally Swifts, related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels, who changed their name to inherit an estate at Tracton in Cork. This inheritance was highlighted on these pages last Saturday through lot 428, letters patent on vellum from King George III granting the title Baron Tracton to James Dennis, son of a timber merchant of Kinsale, who died childless in 1782.The lavishly decorated Dennis silver tray, made in Dublin in 1822, was presented by local bigwigs to Thomas Stratford Dennis:  ” ….  for his conspicuous Zeal and active intrepidity as a Magistrate of their County And for his successful exertions in repressing the spirit of insubordination and contempt for the Laws which prevailed along the borders of the Counties of Wicklow Carlow and Kildare in the year 1822″.  That year marked an ongoing economic slump following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, a disastrous potato crop failure and agrarian unrest.Lot 358 is a tooled gilt binding published in London in 1741 and estimated at 1,000-1,500. By Lewis Riccoboni it is an historical account of the Italian, Spanish, French, English, Dutch, Flemish and German theatres.  The carved hardwood Qing Dynasty cabinet, purchased in Hong Kong, is estimated at 2,000-3,000. A portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham is estimated at 7,000-10,000.  She was Dean Swift’s Stella and rumoured to have been his wife.

    UPDATE: The sale realised 660,000 on the hammer and was 95% sold. The top lot was an Irish George II hunt table which made 25,000 at hammer.

    A 1741 edition of the history of theatres in Europe UPDATE: THIS MADE 620 AT HAMMER: THE DENNIS SILVER TRAY SOLD FOR 12,000


    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

    Contents from Fortgranite at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow – home of the Dennis family for three centuries – will be offered by Fonsie Mealy on April 16. The family, originally named Swift, is related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, author, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels. They changed their name for inheritance purposes. Among 850 lots is a portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham estimated at 7,000-10,000.  Dean Swift’s Stella she is rumoured to have been his wife.

    Other lots include a Boer War letter from Winston Churchill addressed to “Captain M.J.C. Dennis, K Section ‘Pompous’, 2 nd Cav. Bde, South African Field Army”, dated 4 March 1901, signed “Winston S. Churchill” and written on House of Commons notepaper. Captain Dennis took exception to Churchill’s assertion that the Boers had made more effective use of their Maxim guns than the British gunners. This is Churchill’s carefully-worded reply, in which he does not recede from his opinion.

    Late 18th century/early 19th century Irish School portrait of Esther Johnson (Stella) UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, April 6th, 2019

    THE letters containing the royal grant of the title Baron Tracton from George III in 1781 will feature at Fonsie Mealy’s contents sale at Fortgranite, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow on April 16.  On vellum and decorated with arms, emblems and a portrait of the king they were addressed to James Dennis of Tracton Abbey in Co. Cork. The son of a timber merchant from Kinsae James Dennis was a barrister who became chief baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1777.  He was MP for Rathcormack and Youghal.  Raised to the peerage in 1781 he died childless the following year and his title died with him. He left his estates to his two nephews: those in Kerry to the Rev. Meade-Swift-Dennis, and Tracton Abbey in Co. Cork and Temple Hill House in Co. Dublin to John Swift-Dennis.  The letters are estimated at 1,500-2,000.

    Letters patent from George III with the royal grant of Baron Tracton UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,200 AT HAMMER


    Monday, March 4th, 2019

    Fonsie Mealy will offer an interesting and broadly based selection of 535 lots at a house contents auction in Birr on March 5.  Viewing is underway at 11 Oxmantown Mall, Birr and the sale is to be held at the County Arms Hotel.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE:  The sale realised in excess of €325,000 on the hammer with 85% sold.  The top price of 36,000 was paid for an 18th century Augsburg marquetry table box; a three stone diamond ring made 20,000 and  a 19th century Minton majolica two handled urn made 16,000.

    (See post on for February 27, 2019)

    Regency mahogany Sofa Table, c. 1820, attributed to Gillows  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,700 AT HAMMER

    Attributed to Garret Morphy (Irish 1650 – 1716) “Portrait of Sir William Parsons, Bart,” died 1740  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,800 AT HAMMER

    A pair of Imari jars and covers UPDATE: THESE MADE 560 AT HAMMER

    Large Panorama Illustrated London News: “The City of Dublin,”.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

    Fonsie Mealy’s sale of contents from  11 Oxmantown Mall, Birr, Co. Offaly on March 5 offers a wide variety of antique furniture, art and collectibles. Estimates in the 534 lot sale vary from 2,000-3,000 for a suite of three Regency ornate French giltwood pelmets to 450-650 for a Georgian door lock, 450-650 for an English stick barometer and 2,000-3,000 for a brass hall lantern. Viewing is at the house on March 3 and 4. The sale is to be held at the County Arms Hotel in Birr.   The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    George IV rosewood Breakfast Table, attributed to Gillows, c1825  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,000 AT HAMMER

    Frederick Buck, Irish School, c. 1771 – 1840 Miniature: A good oval half length “Portrait of Man in Blue Velvet Jacket,”  UPDATE: THIS MADE 340 AT HAMMER

    Edith Oenone Somerville, 1858 – 1949 Watercolour: “He’ll not lave his den for them,” watercolour.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 700 AT HAMMER

    Geogian brass bound door lock and receiver  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,000 AT HAMMER

    Suite of three French giltwood pelmets  UPDATE: THESE MADE 3,500 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

    An original pair of pince-nez glasses owned by James Joyce sold for a hammer price of 17,000 at Fonsie Mealy’s rare book and memorabilia sale in Dublin today.  The pair, complete with, gilt fittings and chain and in a velvet lined morocco case from a Dublin optician, was from the collection of Joyce’s friend Thomas Pugh.  By tradition these are Joyce’s own glasses used when writing Ulysses. In good condition they are familiar from many photographs, including his passport.

    A letter written to Thomas Pugh by James Joyce in 1934, from the Grand Hotel Britannique, Spa, Belgique made 14,000 at hammer.  In it Joyce requested Pugh to visit him when next in Paris and also asks if Pugh knows of any illustrated weekly published in Dublin around 1904 for the use of Henri Matisse, who was working on designs for a new de luxe edition of Ulysses. (Pugh supplied the illustrations but the illustrations by Matisse are drawn entirely from Greek myth).

    A first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, published by Jonathan Cape in 1953, sold for 9,500 at hammer.


    Saturday, December 1st, 2018
    A rare Isaac Newton volume from 1711, sporting medals, original photographs and drawings will all be included in Fonsie Mealy’s rare books and manuscripts auction in Dublin next Tuesday.  There are first editions ranging from Charlotte Bronte to Ian Fleming, James Joyce’s pince nez and a 19th century transcript of The Annals of Clonmacnoise in this auction of 964 lots.
    The most important lot is Newton’s Analysis per Quantitatum series estimated at 8,000-12,000.  There is an original manuscript account of the Fall of Constantinople by Leonard of Chios c1453 and the earliest manuscript association of W B Yeats and Maud Gonne.  There are statistical surveys, books on botany, antiquities, art, poetry, travel, genealogy, literature in a selection with an across the board appeal.  There is an All Ireland Football Championship medal from 1905 and Galway’s first All Ireland Hurling Championship medal from 1923.  The venue for the auction is The Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan.

    (See post on for November 29, 2018)

    Newton volume  UPDATE: THIS MADE 26,000 AT HAMMER

    All Ireland Football Championship 1905 medal  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,000 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

    These Great Irish Elk antlers and skull sold for 23,000 at hammer.

    A set of prehistoric Irish Elk antlers and skull was the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s sale of contents of Milford House, Carlow on November 20.  They made a hammer price of 23,000. Irish Elk is the common name for a giant extinct deer Megalocerus Giganteus characterised by enormous antlers. It is the largest deer known to have lived.

    A pair of still life paintings by Aniello Ascione of the 17th century Italian School made 20,000 and another pair attributed to the same artist made 16,000. A 19th century carved Chinese wooden buddha made 13,000, a Georgian Irish bachelor’s chest made 7,400 and an Irish Victorian dining table and a set of 18 dining chairs each made 7,000. A half length portrait of John Alexander, High Sheriff of Carlow by Stephen Catterson Smith sold for 6,500 at hammer.

    The auction realised more than 500,000 and was 95% sold.

    (See post on for November 14, 2018)


    Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

    THE first ever contents sale of Milford House, home to the Alexander family since the early 1800’s, will be held on November 20 by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers. More than 700 lots will come under the hammer.  The family settled in Carlow in the 1780’s and the main source of income was milling.  A number of them followed careers in the British Army and there are artefacts passed down through generations and objects acquired through travel to exotic lands..  There is taxidermy including a Russian wild boar and collectibles include an early 19th century Maori Tiki Hei whale bone pendant and a Japanese silver and bronze Okimono, Meji Period, modelled as a Manchuria Crane. The auction will offer family silver, portraits and Irish furniture. Viewing is on the premises from November 18 and the auction will be held at The Talbot Hotel, Carlow.  The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    Aniello Ascione, 17th Century Italian School `one of a pair of Still Life Paintings  UPDATE: THERE WERE TWO PAIRS OF PAINTINGS, ONE MADE 20,000 AT HAMMER THE OTHER 16,000


    Highly Important Historical Zulu Artefact Engraving: “The Capture of Cetshwayo – Arrival of The King at Sir Garent Wolselys Camp, Ulundi  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,200



    Sunday, October 7th, 2018
    A rare set of 19th century mahogany side chairs at Fonsie Mealy’s sale in Castlecomer at 10.30 am on October 10 is billed by the auctioneer as the most important seated furniture to come to market in recent times.   The 10 chairs bear the crest of the O’Brien family of Dromoland Castle and are estimated at 10,000-15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s 800 lot sale includes a number of items from Dromoland but the highlight from that collection – a 430 year old table made from wood from the Spanish Armada – will come up as lot 101 at the James Adam Country House Collections sale at Townley Hall, Drogheda on October 16 with an estimate of 100,000-200,000.
    At Fonsie Mealy’s an over sized Killarney wood davenport from the Great  Exhibition of Manufacturers, Machinery and Fine Arts at the RDS in 1864 from the Corcoran family is estimated at 7,000-9,000. Among the artists whose work will feature are Louis le Brocquy, Gerard Dillon, William Crozier, Mildred Anne Butler, Kenneth Webb, George Campbell and Hughie O’Donoghue.
    A full length portrait of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde (1610-1688) from Peter Lely and the studio of Peter Lely is estimated at 25,000-35,000. It was formerly in the collection of the Earls of Shrewsbury. A full length oortrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by John Jackson (1778-1831) is estimated at 15,000-20,000. Among the pieces from Dromoland are an 18th century sundial (4,000-6,000) complete with its original receipt from T. Crowther and Son, London issued to Lady Inchiquin.

    (See posts on for September 15 and October 5, 2018)

    UPDATE: The auction totalled more than 350,000 on the hammer and was 80% sold.

    19th century chairs with the crest of the O’Brien family of Dromoland Castle  UPDATE: THESE MADE 19,000 AT HAMMER

    An oversized exhibition Killarney davenport  UPDATE: THIS MADE 14,000 AT HAMMER

    18th century sundial  UPDATE: THIS MADE 11,000 AT HAMMER