© Alex Watson 2017 All rights reserved.


FINTONA (February 1962)

Buyers from London and Two Continents

The two-day auction of the effects of the late Mr. Raymond Browne-Lecky, at his residence, Ecclesville, Fintona, attracted buyers from as far apart as the United States, the Continent, London, Dublin and Belfast, and it is understood that the total realised in excess of £25,000.

The auction revealed that Ecclesville was a veritable Aladdin’s cave, In addition to valuable oil paintings by such famous artists as Gerard Dou, Constable, Tenier, and Breughal, Mr Browne-Lecky’s collection of jewellery attracted the attention of dealers.

Highest price for a picture was £560 for an unattributed oil of “Bridge, figures and architectural perspective,” Another “Poultry, owl, bees and landscapes” realised £490, and another “unknown artist” “children” fetched £330. While the astute dealers were snapping up these pictures, private buyers got a fair proportion, and one secured an attractive looking oil at £2-10-0.

An oil entitled “Old man with beard and red cloak,” was purchased for Belfast Museum. Capt. The Hon. John Brooke paid £390 for a picture by Van de Velde.

£460 was paid for a Queen Anne Silver Irish Tankard made in Dublin in 1760 by Joseph Walker, but it is understood it is not the property of the late Mr. Browne-Lecky.

An English dealer paid £410 for a pair of silver candlesticks, made by W. Walsh in Dublin. A set of three early Georgian mahogany male and female plate stands and receptacle container also realised £510. a set of Georgian reeded mahogany economy serving tables fetched £170, and a selection of silver sauceboats £250

King William III

A half-length oil portrait of William III, attributed to Sir Peter Lely was bought by a Northern Ireland dealer at £160.


Most of the jewellery was picked by the Dublin dealers, and the best prices were given by Louis Wyne who paid £310 for a gold locket and chain inset with diamonds, and £230 for a gold tie-pin and sapphire and 20 rose diamonds, and another tie-pin set with garnets and a 11/2 carat diamond went for £145. A George III spade guinea sold at £30.


Mr. Browne-Lecky’s favourite violin, made in 1780 by N. Lupot of Orleans, was bought by Mrs. Greenwood-Gant, better known as Valerie Trimble, the gifted Enniskillen pianist at £460, It is understood that she bought it for her daughter Caroline, aged 11.

The concert grand piano by Steinway was purchased for £230 and it was regarded as one of the “bargain buys.”

Mr. Browne-Lecky’s so well known 1937 Austin saloon car was bought at £40 by a Londonderry motor firm, who it is believed sold the car as new to Mr. Browne-Lecky twenty-five years ago. It was possibly the first two-tone car seen in Tyrone.

Generally there was very keen competition for most of the lots, and so great were the crowds of sightseers as well as buyers that many people found great difficulty in getting into the house. Several ladies, keen on getting bargains, clambered through the windows.


The auctioneers of the Ecclesville property, Messrs. Morgan Brothers, Belfast, made the Royal Arms Hotel their headquarters., Incidentally both these gentlemen served as officers in Omagh during the war and they have many friends locally.

In connection with the sales, the Royal Arms register carried some unusual names, e.g. Spellman, Sabin, Tooth, Kaitzer.

At the Melville Hotel, too, there were some well know antique dealers as well as a number of private buyers, mostly from Dublin.[sic]