14th Sep, 2023 10:00

The Guinness Sale at Elveden

  Lot 397


☘ A pair of cut-glass two-branch table lustres

A pair of cut-glass two-branch table lustres,
late 18th century, Irish, each with a facet-cut obelisk column and star finial, lacking lustre drops,
37cm wide
17cm deep
60cm high (2)

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Irish Furniture

After the restoration of Kings Charles II to the English, Irish and Scottish throne in 1660, Ireland experienced a relatively peaceful period in its history. Cities expanded and trade increased, however, society remained fragmented due to religion and class. Furniture was predominantly fashioned from oak during the early 17th century, however, from the 1660s, Continental influence became more prevalent and walnut imports more desirable. Stylistically, carving, veneers, inlays and contrasting wood colours also became more fashionable. Dublin benefitted greatly and experienced a flourishing development of trade with England and the Continent, and a significant amount of quality Irish furniture of this period was commissioned for the aristocracy.

From the 18th century onwards, Ireland experienced a noticeable rise in skilled craftsmen who emigrated to the country and brought with them different stylistic influences and developments. For example, the well-known designs of Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton hugely influenced Irish furniture character, and elements such as the dark-hued mahogany, low relief carving, oak-leaved festoons, winged birds, shells, squared claw and paw feet were intertwined gracefully with stereotypical Georgian motifs of English cabinetmakers. The development of Dublin, such as the construction of St Stephen's Green, enabled guilds and various workshops to thrive due to the new appetite for luxury.

Towards the close of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th, the Acts of Union united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland. This union enabled the furniture business to flourish considerably and created further crossover with makers and styles, such as the neoclassical, a style based on the art and building designs of ancient Greece and Rome. Mahogany and rosewood were popular and japanned furniture also became a frequent feature in many wealthy homes. The Industrial Revolution further instigated new and exciting furniture styles, and Dublin firms - such as Mack, Williams & Gibton, Arthur Jones, George Gillington, Joshua Kearney, James Del Vecchio and George Murray - prospered.

This prosperity, however, declined heavily in the early 1840s and 50s due to the Great Famine (also known as the Irish Potato Famine). The Irish suffered starvation, disease and loss of population due to emigration, all caused by a blight which affected the potato crop, upon which a third of Irish people were dependent for food. The economy tumbled and the beautiful homes of the Irish elite were stripped and looted, destroying countless works of traditional furniture. Today, the few existing examples of Irish furniture are largely found in museum collections, including the National Museum of Ireland and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The scarce number of surviving furniture creations from Irish craftsmen and cabinetmakers that do find their way to the market are coveted by collectors all over the world.

Sold for £2,600

Condition Report

Damages and losses to include;

1 x broken candle sconce
1 x replaced and not matching candle sconce
5 large lustre drops are missing from the centre crowns
3 x small lustre drops are missing from the sconce crowns
Bothe star finials have chip losses, one mount is loose 

Colour is flint gray, but unsure of foundry ?



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Auction: The Guinness Sale at Elveden, 14th Sep, 2023


‘I wish all the recipients of lots from this Elveden auction years of enjoyment from their purchase, as I believe the vast majority of these items are likely to be heirlooms for generations of the future.’
Edward Iveagh


Read Post Sale Release



Sale Location

The auction will take place at Elveden Hall, London Road, Elveden, Thetford IP24 3TQ.  The sale commences at 10am, with doors open from 8.30am.



Viewing will be held at Elveden Hall, London Road, Elveden, Thetford IP24 3TQ. 


Entrance by catalogue only, admits two.

Purchased in advance - £35 (inc. postage) – Please send contact details to accounts@sworder.co.uk
Purchased on the door - £30


Saturday 9 September, 10am - 4pm 

Sunday 10 September, 10am - 4pm 

Monday 11 September, 10am - 7pm 

Tuesday 12 September, 10am - 4pm 

Wednesday 13 September, 10am - 4pm

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 


Refreshments by Maision Bleue available on site.

Maison Bleue  Léa - Maison Bleue


Lots from Farmleigh are denoted by a ☘


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