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Country house collection sells for €4.5m

A table centrepiece at £343,250, a soup bowl at £159,000 and a mirror at £313,250 brought the tally for contents at Mt Congreve to £3.4m (€4.25m) at Christie’s in London.

The auction of 116 lots from the Co Waterford mansion in the Irish country house sale of the decade drew interest from around the world. It had been expected to bring in about £2.5m.

Another 900 lots will be auctioned by Christie’s and Mealy’s at Mt Congreve on July 10-11. Fine furniture, mirrors, chandeliers, and a Rolls Royce from the collection of the late Ambrose Congreve are yet to be sold.

He began collecting in 1942 and took full advantage of house dispersal sales in England after the Second World War. Mr Congreve died last year aged 104.

The pagoda-like silver centrepiece or epergne had been estimated at £80,000 to £120,000. Made by William Pitts in London in 1763 it was chased by a number of highly determined bidders.

There was similar competition for a Vincennes bleu celeste broth bowl, cover and stand, which had a top estimate of £60,000.

A giltwood overmantle mirror by William Linnell, 1759, beat its top estimate of £300,000.

A pair of George III gilt wood, scagliola and white marble pier tables made £260,0000, a pair of George III gilt wood side tables with specimen lava tops made £180,000, a pair of gilt wood mirrors, c1730 and possibly Irish, made £52,000, a pair of late George II gilt wood pier glasses made £100,000 and another pair £110,000.

A set of four Scottish silver candlesticks originally from Hopetoun House, Edinburgh, made £35,000, a set of eight silver gilt dessert dishes, London, 1763 made £32,000 and a George III silver cup from the Margrave of Brandenburg’s gilt service made £9,500. An Irish silver mustard pot made by William Bond in Dublin in about 1775 sold for £6,000, well over a top estimate of £1,500.

All of these were in regular use at Mt Congreve, reputed to be the last house in Ireland to maintain liveried domestic staff.