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Luggala hosts auction spectacular as clock tipped to fetch €500,000

THE Guinness family is to open its doors to the famous Luggala Estate in County Wicklow this week as hundreds of antiques and paintings are auctioned off.

The estate, famed as a movie backdrop for epics such as Braveheart and King Arthur and renowned as the epicentre of Irish art, will play host to celebrities, collectors and dealers for the sale tomorrow.

The centrepieces of the auction are a monumental early Georgian longcase clock and important paintings by some of Ireland’s most highly-regarded painters, Louis le Brocquy and Jack B Yeats.

The clock was originally made for the speaker of the House of Commons in the old Irish Parliament, before being owned by the distinguished Irish architect, Francis Johnston.

Experts suggested it could fetch up to €500,000.

The other highlight of the sale is an artwork involving le Brocquy and his friend Francis Bacon. The piece, titled Heads and Hands Study from Velazquez, Bacon, by Louis le Brocquy, has a guide price of €100,000 to €150,000.

A spokesman for the auction said: "This sale is the first opportunity for the public to purchase much-treasured belongings that had been carefully collected and conserved over the last 40 years by its owners ... representative of some of the finest 18th century Irish craftsmanship."

Luggala Estate was described by Bono as the epicentre of Irish art. Owner Garech Browne has spent his life saving Irish artefacts from going abroad and played an important role securing the studio of his friend, Francis Bacon, for the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery.

Almost 400 lots are for sale including 18th century Irish and English furniture, rare silver, Irish and European paintings and chimneypieces.

A Louis le Brocquy watercolour, James Joyce study 49, with a guide price of €40,000-€60,000 and Jack B Yeats’s oil painting, At the Waxworks, at around €60,000 are also in the sale.

A Regency library chair is also being offered with a guide price of €15,000-€20,000, and a pair of fossilised antlers of the prehistoric great Irish elk valued at €20,000.

Auctioneer George Mealy, who co-auctioned the sale of the National Anthem, said it would be a hotly-contested auction.

"We can anticipate competitive bidding on the day from Irish and international buyers alike," he said.

The sale takes place at Luggala House near Roundwood, Co Wicklow.