As Downton Abbey returns to the small screen, Adam's makes its return to historic Slane Castle in County Meath for their 'Country House Collections' auction on October 12 and 13th.

This is the 6th year of this eclectic and fascinating sale which brings together the finest furniture, silver, paintings and collectables drawn from fine old Irish houses.

Provenance continues to be of the utmost importance to collectors and in this sale there are pieces from fine country houses including Beaulieu, Carriglass Manor, Edgeworthstown House, Carton and Headfort. One of the sale's highlights is The Maria Edgeworth Table, an early 19th century scagliola topped table gifted to the renowned Irish writer by Livorno merchant, William Macbean, whose name along with Maria's is inscribed on a trompe l'oeil envelope on the table-top.Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 15.39.04

A marvellous tranche of items from the extended family of Lady Ardilaun of St. Anne's in Dublin and Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo are being offered and include her personal bureau bookcase and a superb white marble bust of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness by John Henry Foley from 1868. The 3rd son of Arthur Guinness, he joined his family brewing business at the age of sixteen and by sixty was in complete control of the business. By creating a system of commission agents, his porter, the famous 'Dublin black stuff' became a household word world-wide and the Guinness family became immensely wealthy.

Also from this source are a number of fascinating lots associated with the Guinness's social life and in particular there is an album of photographs including a shooting party at Ashford Castle in October 1878 showing a young Oscar Wilde in tweed plus-fours amongst a mixed group on the front steps.

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Amongst the paintings is an exquisite and hugely rare 18th century portrait of a young girl, sitting in parkland holding a basket of flowers by Thomas Hudson (1701-1779). It is hard to imagine a more beautiful depiction of a young girl, not to mention the skill used to paint the silk and lace of her dress. This large oil on canvas, once in the collection of Sir Brian Mountain, 2nd Bt., is estimated at €20,000-30,000.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 15.36.55 Thomas Hudson (1701-1779)

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The sale includes a magnificent Japanese Fukagawa porcelain circular charger, dating to the Meji Period, (1868-1912), exquisitely decorated with two vibrant four-claw dragons in opposing positions, on a turquoise ground of heaped waves is estimated at €20,000-30,000.

Check all lots here.

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