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13 June 2011  |  Collections   |  Article

Lyons Demesne: Works of Art from the Collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan

Lyons Demesne was commissioned by Nicholas Lawless, 1st Baron Cloncurry, from the architect Oliver Grace, who completed it in 1797. A few years later, the house was remodeled by Richard Morrison for Lawless’s son Valentine, 2nd Baron Cloncurry. The 2nd Baron’s changes included the addition of murals by the Italian artist Gaspare Gabrielli (illustrated opposite in the Gabrielli Room at Lyons).

When Dr. Tony Ryan purchased Lyons Demesne in 1996, it had been unoccupied for five years; for thirty years before that it had housed the Agricultural Science faculty of the University College Dublin. The estate was in a fairly run-down condition, and Dr. Ryan embarked upon an ambitious and exhaustive restoration project – dedicated and intensive interventions from a team of over 100 master craftsmen and professionals served to reclaim this jewel of Georgian architecture and restore it to its former glory.

Collecting for the Restored Home

Dr. Ryan’s expert and sensitive restoration of Lyons Demesne was mirrored in his dedication to collecting the best and most befitting European fine and decorative arts to furnish his home. A selection of over 400 lots from the collection will be offered at Christie’s on 14 July. During the restoration of Lyons Demesne, Dr. Ryan oversaw the recovery of the Gabrielli frescoes, rediscovering a remarkable painted ceiling. As the beauty and elegance of the original decoration was uncovered, Dr. Ryan complimented it with excellent examples of George III furniture. Shown opposite is a jardinière cabinet, a polychrome circular table and parcel-gilt armchairs in the Gabrielli room.

The Connoisseur's Portraits

The sale also includes fine Irish works of art, including a stunning portrait by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A. The artist popularised full length society portraits in pastel, and was one of the most distinguished pastellists from the Dublin Society Schools. The picture, of Arthur Hill, the 2nd Marquess of Downshire, is one of the finest examples of Hamilton’s work. Seen above it is an elegant picture of a gentleman posing in period costume, attributed to John Hamilton Mortimer (1740–1779), who became vice president of the Society of Artists in 1773.

Whilst each work was chosen to complement the collection and its setting, the furniture, objets d’art and pictures at Lyons Demesne have their own intrinsic beauty. Many pieces have enjoyed historic journeys, of which their time at Lyons was but an interlude – discovered and enjoyed by Dr. Ryan, and now seeking other patrons.

This sale provides the perfect opportunity to share in the eclectic and discerning vision of the late Dr. Tony Ryan.

The Village at Lyons

Dr. Ryan was also devoted to the restoration of The Village at Lyons, a canalside community dating from the 17th century. The Village now offers fine dining, exclusive shopping and boutique hotels. Find out more at

Lyons Demesne Offered For Sale By Christie’s International Real Estate 

In addition to offering the works of art from the collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan at auction, Christie’s International Real Estate is delighted to present Lyons Demesne for sale. This striking ­example of classic Georgian ­architecture has been superbly restored, allowing for a lifestyle of unique luxury. The symmetry and proportions of the house are reflected in the composition of its formal ­gardens, establishing an ­ambience of timeless harmony and elegance. Discover Lyons Demesne.


Related Sale
Sale 8012
Lyons Demesne Works of Art from The Collection of The Late Dr. Tony Ryan
14 Jul 2011
London, King Street

Related Departments
Private Collections & Country House Sales