The firm was set up by Mealy’s father, also called George Mealy (1911-1978), in 1934 and went on to host some of Ireland’s most significant country house sales. Mealy's collaborated with Christie's for some of these auctions.
George’s sons David and George Gerard do not wish to manage the business and so the auction house, based in a recently-built industrial park just outside Castlecomer, has been wound down.
After a final sale in June, the auction business finally closed its doors on Friday, August 3, though George Mealy Snr owns the 10,000 sq ft premises and may rent it out.
George Snr, a well-known and popular figure on the Irish and UK provincial art and antiques scene, will continue in the business by offering valuations for insurance purposes and an art advisory service, promising a new website on which he will sell small objects online.
A note on the mealys.ie website from George Snr says: “It was always my dream to take early retirement [from auctioneering] and I am very much looking forward to a change of pace and a new chapter in my life.”
Country house specialist
As well as quarterly gallery sales of fine and decorative art, Mealy's has conducted some of Ireland’s most important country house sales over the years.
These include that at Abbeyleix House for Viscount de Vesci in 1995, the £2.19m (€3m) dispersal of the contents of Luggala House in Wicklow for Guinness heir the Hon Garech Browne in 2006 and Mount Congreve in County Waterford (in association with Christie's) in 2012 for a hammer total of £2.08m (€2.5m).
The Mealy name lives on in the Irish auctioneering business. George Snr’s elder brother and former business partner Fonsie set up Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers in 2008 on Chatsworth Street on the other side of Castlecomer.
George Snr said he will refer fine art auction business to his brother.
Specialising in rare books and fine art, Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers is now managed by Fonsie’s son, George Fonsie, and hosted ‘The Yeats Family Collection – The Final Chapter’ sale in November 2017 featuring paintings, letters and personal memorabilia from the family of poet WB Yeats.