November 23, 2020
News

Hammer time: First Luggala, now Garech Browne’s possessions to go for auction

First the house itself was sold and now the contents of Luggala are to go under hammer at a major auction in London on January 21.

Sotheby’s has said it will offer a collection of items belonging to the late Guinness heir, Garech Browne, who died in March 2018 and lived on the 2,000 hectare estate in the Wicklow mountains.

Among the items are a jewelled breast star representing the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, which has a guide price of €8,240-€10,600, which was awarded to Browne’s father, the 3rd Baron Oranmore and Browne, Geoffrey Henry Browne, in June 1918.

A cameo of a young woman believedv to be Mary Queen of Scots which is believed to be a 16th-century Italian piece, is guiding at €5,000-€7,000,  while six Claddagh rings, some the work of late 18th-century Galway goldsmiths, are valued at between €200 and €5,000.

Browne was an avid art collector died at the age of 78 before Luggala was sold last year for €20m.

A member of the extended Guinness family, Browne lived most of his life at Luggala and played host to many leading lights from the worlds of acting, publishing and music, including Mick Jagger and Sean O’Riada, while Michael Jackson also rented the property for some time, shortly before his death.

He was also a friend and patron of Dublin-born artist Francis Bacon and in 2017 appeared in the BBC documentary Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence.

London socialite Tara Browne, who died in 1966, was one of his younger brothers and his death is often cited as an inspiration for The Beatles’ song A Day in the Life.

Tara Browne is buried on the shore of Lough Tay.

Garech also played a pivotal role in the formation of The Chieftains in 1962, after he asked his friend Paddy Moloney to form a group for a one-off album on Claddagh Records, the traditional Irish music label de Brún founded with Ivor Browne in 1959.

The eldest of the three sons of Dominick Browne – the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne – and his second wife, Oonagh Guinness, he lived most of his life at Luggala, a house made famous by his parties, which were attended by many musical luminaries of the 1960s, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Pictured: Garech Browne’s parties at his ancestral home were legendary; top right, his bother Tara, The Rolling Stones, above right, and The Chieftains  

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