A c1790 Italian chimney piece from a collection in Ireland was one of a number of Irish pieces spotted at Masterpiece, the pre-eminent London fair now running at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. At the stand of leading London dealer Ronald Phillips, where it is priced at a cool £850,000, the chimney piece is thought to have been commissioned by the Earl Bishop of Derry. There are rosso antico plaques and micro-mosaic panels. The last time such a fireplace came up at auction, at Sotheby’s around five years ago, it sold for £550,000.
The bucket to the right of the chimney piece is one of a pair c1800 of Irish log buckets with brass handles and later brass liners. They are unusually tall and priced at £205,000.
More than 8,000 guests attended the opening day preview yesterday. Many exhibitors reported robust sales.