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Some of Dr. Tony Ryan’s art to be sold

Dr. Tony Ryan, philanthropist, highly successful businessman, connoisseur of fine art and one of the wealthiest Irishmen in modern history died in 2007 at the age of 77.  He left an amazing legacy that includes his home, Lyons Demesne in County Kildare, a magnificent Georgian estate that he purchased in 1996 and completely restored to its former grandeur.

As well as co-founding Ryanaire and participating in many other international enterprises, Dr. Ryan had a passion for and a deep committment to fine art.  During the restoration of Lyons Demesne, he uncovered and regenerated some of the existing murals and tapesties dating from an earlier century, but he also acquired a vast collection of outstanding art works by Irish masters and many other world-renowned artists.

A relatively small portion of these (about 450) will be sold at auction on July 14th by Christie’s London.

Amongst the treasures to go on the block are paintings, furniture, sculpure and tapestries, some valued at far more than Ryan paid for them, some less.  They include the finest work of Irish artist Hugh Douglas Hamilton, whose Portrait of Arthur Hill is expected to bring from £200-300,000; Dr. Ryan paid £377,500 when he bought it at Christie’s in 2000.

Dr. Ryan’s estate is said to contain the finest and most valuable private collection ever seen in Ireland, and this partial sale is expected to realize at least £2 million, with additional sales likely in the future.  Spokespersons for the estate have said that since none of Ryan’s heirs will be living at Lyons Demesne, the collection should be made available to the public so others can enjoy this national treasure.

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