Belfast Telegraph

Empress's riding whip for sale

A riding whip owned by an Empress of Austria which was discovered in the attic of a Meath home is going under the hammer.

Empress Sisi of Bavaria joined the Meath hunt 130 years ago, leaving behind in Rahinston House the whip, found in a mahogany casket decorated with the imperial Hapsburg Arms.

The piece is one of the star curiosities among 800 lots in Adam's auction of Country House Collections in Slane Castle on October 5.

Organisers expect the whip will attract local and international interest, passing its guide price of up to 5,000 euro.

James O'Halloran, Adam's managing director, said: "The riding whip is a fun curiosity with superb provenance.

"The Empress Sisi of Bavaria was the beautiful wife of the ageing Emperor of Austria, and she was a notable horsewoman.

"On hearing reports of the quality of hunting in County Meath, she came to stay with Lord Langford at Summerhill House, joining the Meath Hunt in 1879-1880, whose Master was Captain Robert Fowler of nearby Rahinston House. Her hunting was obviously an enjoyable escape from the court life of Vienna, having described her stay in Ireland as one of the happiest periods of her life."

The sale features a unique mix of furnishings, including major Irish pieces, works of art and decorative arts from country houses. Prices start from 100 euro.

Among the highlights is a mahogany and brass Irish regency wine cistern with the crest of the Creagh family from Cork, which holds at least two dozen bottles. It is estimated to fetch up to 80,000 euro.

Another discovery was the portrait of the great Dublin actor and manager, Spranger Barry, who founded the Crowe Street Theatre, but continually ran out of funds became the rival of The Garrick in London.

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