Belleek International Collectors Society
United Kingdom Group


5oth Meeting Plate
Mc Elroy Sale Duross Lodge Lisnarrick, County Fermanagh July 2005
Early Belleek Pieces on Sale
Belleek UK Group Newsletter

click above for Auction Info

Several members pictured below from the UK Group travelled to Co Fermanagh to attend the 'McElroy Sale'  at Duross Lodge, Lisnarick, County Fermanagh on Saturday 2nd July 2005.  In true Fermanagh tradition, it was a cloudy day with some rain and a brief spell of sunshine in the afternoon.  The locals say 'You'll always find Fermanagh in the Lakes' meaning there is more rain than fair weather at times. The only 'viewing' was on the day of the sale so there was a steady flow of visitors before the serious business of bidding began at One O'clock.  There was a lot of preparation for this auction, which was conducted by Auctioneer,  Geoffrey Simpson of Viewback Auctions, Omagh, County Tyrone.  Neville Maguire, author of 'Belleek in Context and who is also a member of the UK Group was appointed by Viewback Auctions as their consultant for the Ceramics section which included a vast and varied array of Belleek and to help assist with the identification, guidance and reporting back to prospective buyers regarding any enquiries.  The auction also generated a huge amount of interest in the Province with not only newspaper reporters seeking interviews, but television crews from Ulster TV and the BBC who covered the event in detail during their evening local news bulletins.  Local radio listeners were also treated to a 'sneak preview' when a further taped interview was broadcast on Saturday morning on BBC local radio. During the auction, film crews again turned up to film the auction as the day progressed. The auction commenced at 1.00 as advertised and the final lot was put under the hammer some seven hours later.
UK Group Members at Lisnarrick

a full report is available starting on page 41 of our Newsletter 26/2 2005 link to our Newsletter available left

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Greek Comport

There was significant publicity for the auction and below is an extract from BBC Northern Ireland's News Website following their live feature

Rare porcelain up for sale

A unique collection of Belleek pottery is about to be auctioned in County Fermanagh. BBC Newsline's Julian Fowler reports that local people are hoping at least some part of this rare and valuable collection does not disappear overseas.
This Belleek collection includes more than 1,000 items, some dating back 150 years to when the factory first opened.

It was lovingly put together over the past 40 years by Beatrice McIlroy from Lisnarick, who died last month.

"Many of the items are incredibly rare"

Many of the items are incredibly rare and auctioneer Geoffrey Simpson, from Viewback Antiques, said Belleek collectors from around the world had expressed an interest.

Although it is a private collection which has never been put on public display, it has formed the basis of several coffee table books and academic studies of Belleek.

However, there is concern that, unless local museums step in, an important part of Irish heritage might disappear overseas.

The McIlroy house is an Aladdin's cave of antiques.

It has taken the auctioneers several weeks to catalogue its contents.

One of the most important items in the collection is the Ternan breakfast service which could fetch between £40,000 and £50,000.

It dates from the 1880s and depicts Irish landscapes by local artist Eugene Sheerin.

Mr Simpson said the sale was an opportunity for someone to acquire a piece of Belleek of museum quality, perhaps at a bargain price.

"It would be my wish to keep it in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. But if the museums can't get their act together quickly enough to take advantage of a unique opportunity, then there's very little that can be done," he said.

The Ternan breakfast service features scenes by Eugene Sheerin

"When it comes to the preservation and recognition of one's heritage, I think that people need to learn to dip into their pockets and be able to spend money rapidly or make decisions rapidly, rather than faff around."

Fergus Cleary, head of design at Belleek pottery, was captivated by the collection.

One of the items that caught his eye was a large table centrepiece, thought to date back to the first 10-15 years of production at the factory in the 1860s.

"I have never seen the piece before in my life, I've only seen the moulds of it," he said.

"We still have the moulds of this piece in the factory.

"Museums should be interested in acquiring these pieces and I'm sure our own Belleek pottery museum will be very interested in at least trying to buy some of these pieces."

The auction is due to take place at the McElroy home in Lisnarick on Saturday afternoon.

No matter who buys the Belleek, it is unlikely that this fascinating collection will ever be seen in its entirety again in one place... just a few miles from where the craftsmen worked their magic.









Belleek pottery

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