Waterford is best known for its crystal glass; however, it’s also the location of Ireland’s famous Mount Congreve estate, where antique marquetry furniture and other effects are expected to raise in excess of £2.5m when they go under the hammer in May.
Mount Congreve is best known for its world famous gardens, the only part open to the public. Built in 1760 for the influential Congreve family, the house was passed on by successive inheritance through the male line of the family, until this abruptly came to an end with the death of Ambrose Congreve in 2011. The estate was left to the Irish State, and while the gardens are to remain open to the public, the antique cabinets, Victorian dining chairs and other treasures are to be sold at two auctions, being held by Christie’s of London and Mealy’s of Waterford on 23rd May and 10th July respectively.
The collection at Mount Congreve has evolved over generations, with each male heir placing his own unique stamp on it. The late Ambrose Congreve favoured French antique marquetry furniture, with one of the highlights being a pair of ormolu-mounted Louis XV Baumhauer encoignures, estimated at £120,000 – £180,000. A pair of George III Matthew and Ince giltwood side tables have an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000 each, while an estimate of £25,000 has been placed on a cylinder-type antique desk.
As Cumbrian auctioneers will tell you, provenance is everything, and many pieces originated from illustrious collections such as that of the Rothschilds. However, auctions incur hefty commission fees, which would not apply were the Congreve antique desks sold to a Preston antique dealer.
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