Belfast Telegraph

Ballyedmond's antique collection to fetch millions

 

By Brett Campbell

Lady Ballyedmond is selling her late husband's beloved antique collection with the "props for entertaining" expected to fetch more than £3 million at auction.

Lord Ballyedmond, also known as Dr Edward Haughey, was Northern Ireland's richest man when he died in a tragic helicopter accident in 2014.

He had amassed the exquisite collection of expensive antique furniture at his luxurious Belgrave Square property in London.

"He really believed in artisanal craftsmanship, he loved it and relished it," explained his daughter Caroline. "He could find rubies in the rubble."

Inspired by the French salons of the 18th century European Enlightenment period, the politician and businessman redesigned the run down building himself after buying it in 2006.

He transformed it into an extravagant residence in which he wined and dined heads of state, negotiated business deals and brought political foes together.

"He knew the importance of talk and of breaking bread together. If you don't begin to talk, you never begin to solve the issues there are between you," she told the Telegraph.

This, according to Mary, Lady Ballyedmond, is her late husband's legacy. The elegant home-from-home was also where the tycoon indulged his passion for collecting opulent artwork and restoring relics of the past ranging from a large George II Palladian dolls' house to a six-figure solid silver wine cistern.

The 326 lots have now been packed up by the international auction house Sotheby's and will go up for auction on May 23 and 24.

"He had such an eclectic eye for interesting things, and an amazing ability to understand engineering, and architecture," explained Lady Ballyedmond.

The family, who share "glorious" memories around the mahogany table that seats 34 are convinced that the founder of Newry-based Norbrook Laboratories wouldn't want his treasured items to end up in display cabinets. They hope the buyers will use and appreciate them.

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