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    W.B. Yeats’ writing bureau sold for £187,500.

    Even though the two most expensively estimated lots failed to find buyers the sale of the Yeats family collection at Sotheby’s today must be seen as a howling success.  Many lots sold for way above the top estimate and there was very keen bidding for the private collection of one of Ireland’s most internationally known families of the 20th century.  The sale of more than 220 lots comprised the personal effects of John Butler Yeats and his four children, poet W.B., embroidery designer Lily, printing press pioneer Lolly and artist Jack.

    Billed as the highlight an archive of 133 letters from WB to his life long friend and first lover Olivia Shakespear spanning over 40 years from 1894 to 1936 failed to sell.  They had been estimated at £250,000-350,000. Similarly The Runaway Horse, the most expensively estimated of the paintings in the sale by Jack B. Yeats remained unsold. It had been estimated at £150,000-250,000.

    Against this W.B’s writing bureau made a hammer price of £187,500 over a top estimate of £30,000, John Butler Yeats’ Self Portrait, New York sold for £87,500 over  a top estimate of £50,000, a portrait of WB by his father made  £30,000 over a top estimate of £5,000, a painting of Coole by WB made £43,750 over a top estimate of £10,000 and his painting of the library at Coole made £50,000 over a top estimate of £12,000. WB’s desk chair made £32,500 and the family dining table, bought with his Nobel Prize money, made £10,000 over a top estimate of £2,500. Even his metal deed box sold for £15,000. Scrapbooks and sketchbooks all made big money. A sketchbook by WB with sketches, notes and early drafts of The Island of the Statues made £35,000 over a top estimate of £8,000. The Sunset belongs to you by Jack B made £212,500 over a top estimate of £150,000 and The Captain by the same artist sold for £87,500.

    (See posts on for September 25, August 27 and August 19, 2017)

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