Bedding down for upcoming sale with Napoleon connection

A bed believed to have belonged to Bonaparte’s wife is up for grabs in Thurles, writes Des O’Sullivan.

Bedding down for upcoming sale with Napoleon connection

A bed believed to have belonged to Bonaparte’s wife is up for grabs in Thurles, writes Des O’Sullivan

A carved French bed at Fonsie Mealy’s sale in Thurles on October 1 is reputed to have belonged to the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The 4’6” 18th-century bed has been at Glengarriff, Thurles — home of the Carrigan family for over 100 years — since 1962. It was purchased that year at the contents sale of Duke de Stacpoole, Tobertynan, Longwood, Co Meath, where it was reputed by strong family tradition to have been originally owned by Josephine. Longwood House, on the island of St Helena where Napoleon was exiled, was his final residence and he died there. The bed is estimated at €2,000-€3,000.

More than 500 lots, including heirlooms from the Carrigan family and items from other private clients, will go under the hammer next Tuesday. The auction will comprise furniture, paintings, prints, silver, Chinese porcelain, sporting guns, garden furniture, books, and maps.

Shipsey Family
Shipsey Family

Lot 176 is a set of 19th-century Irish miniatures of the Shipsey family of Cape Clear. Estimated at €700-€800, the miniatures of three males and two females are in ebony frames. The next lot is a miniature depicting “Mrs Falvey, Youghal, Co Cork, house master”. It is estimated at €300-€400.

An early watercolour by Peter Curling, Caught in the Ditch, depicts a jockey and a distressed horse and was painted in 1974 when the noted equestrian artist was just 19. It is estimated at €1,000-€1,500. Among other equestrian artworks is an oil by Gilbert Halliday The Hunt, at Woolwich Drag (€10,000-€15,000). There are some Old Master paintings and prints including a portrait of Jan de Middelste (1561-1623) by a follower of Anthonisz van Ravesteyn (€2,000-€3,000).

The highlight of over 70 lots of silver is an 18th century Irish provincial sauceboat with the makers’ mark PW, possibly Peter Webb of Limerick (€2,000-€3,000).

18th century Irish provincial sauceboat
18th century Irish provincial sauceboat

Other lots of note include an Arts and Crafts library table, carved side table and chairs, a full-length bronze female nude after Mathurin Moreau, and a 19th-century carved sundial. There is a collection of sporting guns, a first edition of the History of Clonmel by Rev William P Burke (1907), and a hand-coloured copy of the 1843 Ordnance Survey of Tipperary North Riding.

Viewing is at Glengarriff, Thurles, at 1pm-5pm tomorrow and 10am-5pm on Monday. The auction is at Anner Hotel at 11am on Tuesday.

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