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Aberglasney's Catalogue of Weal


Going through some old papers recently, I came across a copy of the Sale Catalogue of Surplus Household Appointments at Aberglasney Mansion, Llangathen. This old house was once the home of two well-known Carmarthenshire families the Rudds and the Dyers. The catalogue is of special interest because it contains references to articles associated with the family of the poet John Dyer.

The auctioneers who carried out the instructions of the owner, Mrs. Mayhew, were Messrs. William & Walter James, 7 Goat Street, Swansea, who had branches at Llangadock, Llandilo and Llandovery. The sale was held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd April 1908 and the catalogue gave details of train services from Pembroke Dock, Neyland, Carmarthen, Llandilo, Shrewsbury, Swansea and Llanelly to the nearest local station, namely Golden Grove. In a note the auctioneers warned that 'the above Train Service is not guaranteed but is believed to be correct'.

Mrs. Mayhew figures in a picture of 'Four Carmarthenshire Ladies' in riding habit in H. M. Vaughan's South Wales Squires. She and her husband, Col. Charles George Adams Mayhew, were fanatical teetotallers. When she inherited Aberglasney they poured the contents of a fine cellar into the River Towy.

The catalogue runs to 47 pages and is rich in items of furniture of the Chippendale and Sheraton periods, also in old Welsh oak of the 17th and 18th centuries. Items said to belong to the poet Dyer were Lot 279 'A very peculiar half-circular high-back settle', Lot 695 'Very handsome four-poster mahogany bedstead with reeded pillars and rich canopy, with tapestry, drapery and window curtains to match, etc; the original net drapery, period about 1720 (reputed to be the Poet Dyer's own bedstead)', Lot 733 'Four massive old real Welsh oak chairs, 17th century (reputed to be the poet Dyer's)', Lot 806 'Pair of Massive real old Welsh oak chairs (reputed to be the poet Dyer's)'.

The only picture of real interest was in the hall Lot 201 'A very large oil painting "Aaron and Hur supporting Moses' Arms in the Wilderness", 13 feet by 10 feet, with an exceptionally Massive Frame, by Brigstocke of Carmarthen'.

Thomas Brigstocke (1809-81) was chiefly distinguished as a portrait painter and a self-portrait is in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; other works are in the Guildhall, Carmarthen and the Town Hall, Llanelli. After years of study in France and Italy, he went to Egypt where he painted portraits of Viceroy Mehemet Ali and his family. He exhibited often at the Royal Academy and his work is represented at the National Portrait Gallery. The Mayhews were supporters of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Lots 144 to 167 included the of works artists largely forgotten today.

The books, Lots 406 to 476, show only one in Welsh, the Bible published for David Humphreys at Carmarthen in 1807; Bibles in English are dated 1608, 1621-25, 1638 and 1766. The library was strong in novelists of the early and middle years of the nineteenth century. One very important item is Lot 493, 'Rare Edition of "Dyer's Poems", with a manuscript Poem (probably an autograph poem) signed "John Dyer"'.

There are twenty-one lots of rare old pewter, forty plates in all. Very little silver and plate figures in the catalogue, which is strong in items of rare china as Lots 522 to 671 show. No dates are given for the glass, Lots 935 to 1039. The house was well stocked with linen as Lots 1066 to 1154 show, many of the lots being in dozens.

In the coach-house were a small light-weight wagonette, a Victoria, in first-class condition, by Offord, a pony-trap in solid polished walnut, with plated fittings, by Roberts, Bridgewater, an excellent phaeton in first-class condition and an excellent brougham, with pole, bar and shafts complete.


Writing to the Editor in respect of Vol. XIV of The Carmarthenshire Historian, Mr. Gwynfor Evans, M.P. says:

Hoffwn yn gyntaf eich llongyfarch yn gynnes dros ben ar y cynyrchiad hwn. Mae'r rhifyn diweddaf yn arbennig o dda, a'r cyfan, gan gynnwys eich erthygl chwi, yn hynod o ddarllenadwy. Mae'n rhyfeddol eich bod yn gallu cynyrchu cylchgrawn mor swmpus am bris mor fach.
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