Thursday, 14 April 2011

M/M A RARE GLIMPSE INTO A PRIVATE IRISH TREASURE TROVE Works of Art from the Collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan (1936-2007)

Images provided to Manner of Man Magazine by Christie's London and may not be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.


Important Douglas Hamilton Portrait amongst Works Offered from the Collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan, from Lyons Demesne, at Christie’s London in July

Christie's London is pleased to announce the sale of Lyons Demesne: Works of Art from the Collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan (1936-2007), from Lyons Demesne, County Kildare, Ireland, on 14 July. Comprising a relatively small selection of works from the collection, this auction will provide collectors and institutions around the world with a rare glimpse into the private Irish treasure trove assembled by Dr. Tony Ryan; a connoisseur who was one of Ireland’s biggest philanthropists, supporters of the arts and the renowned businessman who co-founded Ryanair.

Featuring over 400 lots of European Fine and Decorative Arts spanning the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, highlights include an important full length portrait in pastel of Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801) by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A., 1736-1801 (estimate: £200,000-300,000), illustrated above; a pair of George III giltwood and painted satinwood console tables in the manner of Thomas Chippendale the Younger (estimate: £50,000-80,000); a Louis XV Gobelins tapestry, by Claude Audran (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and a white marble sculpture of Love Awakened by Giovanni Battista Lombardi, Rome, circa 1870 (estimate: £30,000-50,000). A selection of highlights will be on view in a special pre-sale exhibition in the Village at Lyons Celbridge, located on the Lyons estate from 20-22 May. With estimates ranging from £300 to £300,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £2million.

Orlando Rock, Deputy Chairman, Christie's Europe: “It is a privilege to be offering a small selection of works from the superb Irish collection of Dr. Tony Ryan. Dr. Ryan’s nurturing vision and commitment to restoring and regenerating Lyons Demesne and its surrounding estate and village is an inspiration to us all.”

Dr. Ryan was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1936. With transport ‘in the family blood’, Dr. Ryan’s professional enterprises included founding Guinness Peat Aviation in 1975 and co-founding Ryanair in 1986. As air travel continues to evolve, Dr. Ryan’s abiding cultural legacy at Lyons Demesne will live on as an integral part of Ireland’s heritage in the architectural treasure that he so lovingly restored. Lyons was commissioned by Nicholas Lawless, 1st Lord Cloncurry from the architect Oliver Grace in 1797, with subsequent remodelling just a few years later by Richard Morrison for Valentine Lawless, 2nd Lord Cloncurry; as part of the remodelling the principal rooms were adorned with beautiful murals by the Italian landscape artist Gaspare Gabrielli, who had married Cloncurry’s maid. Lyons was owned by the Lawless family until the mid-20th century. It was then acquired by the University College Dublin for whom it served as an agricultural research facility, until purchased by Dr. Ryan in 1996. The restoration – ‘the largest, most ambitious and exhaustive programme of restoration ever undertaken in a private capacity in the history of the Irish State’ – received the Europa Nostra and Institut International des Châteaux Historiques joint award for refurbishment in 2001. Dr. Ryan’s passion for racing and thoroughbred horses led to the creation of the great stud at Lyons. His vision and celebration of skilled craftsmanship is reflected in the quality of the works to be offered from the collection, which are set to embark on the next chapter in their history when they sell at Christie’s London in July.

Amongst the highlights in the sale is a portrait by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A., 1736-1801, the most distinguished pastellist from the Dublin Society Schools and a successful portraitist in Dublin, London and Rome, who brought the popularity of full length portraits in pastel to a new height. Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801) dates to 1785-90 and is one of the finest examples of the artist’s work on this large scale (estimate: £200,000-300,000), illustrated page 1 center. The sitter was a Privy Councillor of England and Ireland, whose seat was Hillsborough Castle, County Down.