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A conservative Catholic, Murnaghan’s taste for Continental furnishings were highlighted by this late 17th century North Italian walnut and olivewood marquetry secretaire commode, 5ft 5in wide by 2ft 61/2in deep (1.65m x 77cm), its Venetian influence betrayed by the unusual fall-front top drawer and panel inlay, inset below, of pipe-toking Moors. The commode attracted interest from Irish private buyers and Italian trade before selling to an American private buyer at IR£41,000 (£36,000) – highest price among the furniture.

Martin Cahill, Ireland’s foremost criminal of recent times, made off with 60 paintings in a notorious burglary of Murnaghan’s Dublin residence in 1988, but one of the Old Masters passed over by ‘The General’ was Michele Di Ridolfo Tosini’s Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist which led the sale at IR£52,000 (£45,000).