A lost portrait of the glamorous twice-divorced Anglo-Irish socialite Oonagh Guinness sparked a bidding war after it vanished for 25 years, before eventually selling for £255,000.
The 1931 oil painting depicts the Guinness founder’s 21-year-old granddaughter who, along with her blonde sisters Aileen and Maureen, were known as the ‘Golden Guinness Girls’ of 1920s British society.
The trio, who had eight husbands between them, were the toast of Dublin and London and their antics were regularly covered by the tabloids.
Years before their grandfather, Edward, became the head of the family’s famous brewing business, making him the richest man in Ireland.
The lost portrait of Anglo-Irish socialite and the Guinness founder’s granddaughter, Oonagh Guinness, which sparked a bidding war after it vanished for 25 years and was eventually sold for £255,000
Artist Philip Alexius de Laszlo, left, pictured with Ambassador Lord Tyrell, centre, and Hubert Lyautey, right, with the portrait seen on display in the background at Gallery Charpentier in Paris in June 1931
The lost oil painting, showing a closer-up view of the necklace and ring being worn by Oonagh for the portrait, which depicts her aged 21 seated and wearing a white chiffon dress with a green sash and holding a wide-brimmed hat
The portrait was created by royal artist Philip de Laszlo, who himself had married into the Guinness family.
Oonagh treasured the painting and hung it in the drawing room of her grand country home in Luggala, County Wicklow for years.
After her death in 1995 it was sold as part of her estate and its whereabouts were unknown, even by the de Laszlo Foundation.
It turned up 25 years later as part of the sale of an epic art collection kept in a swanky mansion in Atlanta, US.
A closer view of the jewelled bracelets being worn by Oonagh in the oil portrait. After her death in 1995 it was sold as part of her estate and its whereabouts were unknown, even by the de Laszlo Foundation
An image capturing the detail of the Anglo-Irish socialite’s ruffled white dress, paired with a green sash around the waist. Oonagh treasured the painting and hung it in the drawing room of her grand country home in County Wicklow
The rear of the artwork, picturing an older label which details the exhibition as Galeries Charpentier in Paris and the title ‘Mrs Philip Kindersley’, in reference to one of Oonaugh’s previous marriages
The 52ins by 39ins painting had been expected to sell for about £40,000 but bidding on it soared past that sum and reached £255,000.
The piece of art is titled ‘The Honourable Mrs. Philip Leyland Kindersley, nee Oonagh Guinness, later Lady Oranmore and Browne’, in reference to her first two marriages.
She is depicted aged 21 seated and wearing a white chiffon dress with a green sash and holding a wide-brimmed hat.
A spokesperson for auctioneers Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery said: ‘Upon entering the drawing room where Oonagh hung in prominence, I was immediately captivated, and it is clear that she caught the attention of our bidders as well.
The lost portrait of Oonagh Guinness, signed ‘de Laszlo’ and dated 1931. Oonagh was, along with her blonde sisters Aileen and Maureen, known as the ‘Golden Guinness Girls’ of 1920s British society
The rear of the artwork, with two labels. A spokesperson for auctioneers Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery said: ‘Upon entering the drawing room where Oonagh hung in prominence, I was immediately captivated’
The intricate golden frame on the lost oil painting of Oonagh Guinness. The 52ins by 39ins painting had been expected to sell for about £40,000 but bidding on it soared past that sum and reached £255,000
‘The sitter’s gaze was enchanting, revealing her humanity and sense of humour.
‘I can just envision sitting at Luggala amid the intelligentsia, artists, and socialites of the day, enjoying a cocktail with the belle of Irish society.
‘The response to this important portrait was outstanding. Our staff fielded phone bids from 10 parties across England, Ireland, the US, and Belgium.’
Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide. It is brewed in almost 60 countries and is available in over 120. Annual sales total 850million litres.
What is the history behind Guinness beer and how was it invented?
Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin and started selling the dark beer porter in 1778.
Guinness stout is made from water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its dark colour and characteristic taste. It is pasteurised and filtered.
Guinness stout is available in a number of variants and strengths, ranging from 4.1 per cent alcohol volume up to 7.5 per cent (Guinness Foreign Extra Stout).
Aileen Plunket (left), an Irish society hostess, and Maureen Guinness (right), Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, who, along with their sister Oonagh, made up the three ‘Golden Guinness Girls’
Guinness heir Garech Browne, who was the son of Oonagh and Dominick, the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne, died aged 78 in March 2018 after becoming custodian of a 500-acre estate in County Wicklow, Ireland.
His mother Oonagh was one of the three Golden Guinness Girls, alongside her blonde sisters Aileen and Maureen.
The trio, who had eight husbands between them, were the toast of Dublin and London and their antics were regularly reported in the tabloids.
In 1966 Garech’s younger brother Tara was killed at the age of 21 in a car accident at Redcliffe Gardens in Chelsea, which inspired the Beatles to write A Day In The Life.
He told friends his heir would be Tara’s eldest son, Dorian, and had no children.