John M Synge treasures in next Victor Mee sale

After its huge success last year, the Victor Mee Auctions team will return to Kilmore’s Bishop’s Palace to host a second interiors sale. The Palace Collection sale will be hosted online on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th October at 2pm and will once again see a range of exquisitely rare interiors pieces go under the hammer.

Last year’s sale included lots from the Bishop’s Palace itself, whereas the upcoming Palace Collection sale will shine a light on the expertise of Auctioneer Victor Mee and his practiced son, Bryan Mee, with bidders offered the chance to take home opulent and incredibly impressive decorative interiors, garden, arts and literature lots that have been sourced and ‘cherry picked’ by Victor and Bryan themselves.

The Bishop’s Palace is located 5.6km south west of Cavan town and was built between 1835 and 1837 in the Grecian Revival style. The house has been untouched and has become the ideal location, steeped in history and grandeur for Victor Mee Auctions’ iconic, high-brow interiors sales.

Mee said: “We are extremely excited to present The Palace Collection sale for the second time, after its great success last year. The Bishop’s Palace is grand, luxurious and regal, and is the perfect backdrop for the array of historical interiors pieces that Bryan and I have carefully selected for the sale. As a team, we have dedicated many hours to hand-picking the lots, ensuring the pieces are unique and highly sought after. We are very much looking forward to seeing how each lot performs on the auction block during the two-day sale.”

European interiors fit for a prince

A stand-out piece. Lot 642 in the The Palace Collection sale is a 17th century Northern Italian coffer on a stand. This piece is exceptionally special due to its historic origins and its provenance with the D’Ardia Caracciolo family. Don Ferdinando D’Ardia Caracciolo hailed from Italy and was known as the 2nd Prince of Cursi.

Coming from a long line of the aristocrats, the Caracciolo family of Naples, he moved to Ireland after marrying Mary Augusta Purcell-Fitzgerald. Once in Ireland the ‘royal’ couple took up residence in ‘The Island’, Waterford, now known as Waterford Castle, where this stunning piece of antique furniture was sourced.

Navigating across Europe to France, bidders will have the chance to inject a bit of ‘oh la la’ into their living space in the form of lot 330, a stunning French giltwood and gesso side table. Originally purchased in Christie’s Auction House in the 1980s for €25,000, this elaborate table comes complete with a marble top above three drawers in frieze decorated with swags, and is raised on four reeded legs on a platform base with carved central urn. Estimated to sell for between €2,000 and €4,000, this radiantly finished side table makes a perfect selection for a striking, luxurious interior.

Treasures of Irish Poet & Playwright John Synge

The Palace Collection sale will also showcase several furniture and literature pieces, combined in to one lot, lot 705, descended through the family of John Millington Synge, a prominent poet and playwright and pillar of the Irish Literary Revival in the 1800s. The first of two 18th century furniture pieces includes an octagonal wine cooler with brass banding and internal label connecting it to Lissadell, County Sligo - the home of the Gore Booths. The second coffer to make an appearance within the sale is an exquisite Irish mahogany coffer, owned by the Synge family, who lived for many years within Glanmore Castle, County Wicklow. This coffer is a fantastic mahogany piece in a classic design that incorporates some of the most desirable Irish design features and is set to garner a lot of interest at auction.

Also hailing from the same family estate and included in lot 705 is a collection of books by John M. Synge, retrieved directly from the Synge family home. The Aran Islands by John M. Synge, published in 1907, is a collection of four journal entries regarding the landscape and the people of the Aran Islands. In addition, this highly-desirable collection of literature is accompanied by drawings by Jack B. Yeats, brother of W.B Yeats. Synge was a dear friend of world-renowned poet and playwright W.B. Yeats, who very much encouraged his famous essays on the Aran Islands and his play ‘The Playboy of the Western World’.

Another literature offering within lot 705 is ‘Plays’ by J.M. Synge which contains the works of the celebrated playwright and was published in Dublin in 1924. This literary masterpiece is bound in blue cloth with a white spine and untrimmed paper. The John M. Synge collection is highly significant not just because of its age and relevance in Irish literary history, but because each book has come from the Synge family themselves. The full Synge collection is estimated to sell at auction for close to €4,000.

Georgian pieces representing decades of style

Two outstanding interiors lots due to hit the auction block in Victor Mee Auctions’ The Palace Collection sale derive from the 18th century Georgian period. Estimated to sell for between €2,500 and €4,500 is lot 419, a rare Georgian mahogany demi lune side table. This table is raised on square tapered legs and is exquisitely hand painted and inlaid with rosewood and satinwood.

Continuing in Georgian fashion is lot 158, a mahogany side cabinet. This cabinet has doors inlaid with pink silk behind brass grilles, flanked by reeded columns. This exquisite antique piece was originally made for the Duke of Leinster, who resided in Leinster House, where it lived for many years.

Georgian furniture makers chose mahogany over walnut as their wood of choice due to its durability. The Georgian style lasted nearly 100 years and its timeless appearance is still just as popular in homes today.

Victor Mee Auctions’ exclusive online sales are continuing to grow in popularity with bidders tuning in online from across the world. The Cavan-based auction house is proud to have proved itself adaptable and enduring in a time that could easily see auction houses suffering at the hands of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other prominent lots appearing in The Palace Collection sale include:

• Lot 483 - Percy French booklet of Poems personalised by Percy French with signature and a musical paragraph. Est €100 - €200.

• Lot 643 - Exceptional quality tapestry depicting The Pillage and Destruction of Basing House Hants, October 14 1645, worked in 1886, mounted in carved oak frame. {156cm H X 185cm W X 12cm D}. Est €2,000 - 4,000.

• Lot 772 - 19th century revenue officials probing tool, for probing hay stacks in search of poitin, in original leather case. Est €150 - €250.

• Lot 768 - Rare late 19th century pitch pine estate tack stand, complete with metal harness hangers, originally from a country house in County Waterford, made by Musgrave & Co, Belfast, London & Paris. {230cm H X 123cm W X 62cm D}. Est €2,500 – 3,500.

• Lot 841 - Collection of books on anatomy, A system of Anatomical Plates of the Human Body,by John Lizars FRSE, presented to J Symington by Sr William Whitle June 1915; Allens Human Anatomy, Atlas of Illustrations of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Anatomie der Japaner, Anatomy of the Child - Symington, Diagrams of the nerves of the Human Body and Atlas of Pathology. Prof John Lizars FRSE (1792– 21 May 1860) was a Scottish surgeon, anatomist and medical author. Lizars in 1822 issued the aforementioned work, and one of his renowned medical students was Charles Darwin. Est €300 - €600.

For more information on The Palace Collection sale hosted online by Victor Mee Auctions at ‘The Bishop’s Palace’, visit