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    RARE CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER DISH AT SOTHEBY’S

    Friday, April 28th, 2017

    A Large Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Dish Late Yuan/Early Ming Dynasty

    A rare and large carved cinnabar lacquer dish from the late Yuan/early Ming period will lead Sotheby’s sale of Important Chinese Art in London on May 10. It is one of the finest examples from the period when lacquer carving in China experienced its peak. According to Sotheby’s the sensitive, naturalistic rendering of the flowers, the complexity and harmony of the interwoven flower design, the craftsmanship and monumental dimensions are hard to surpass. The century or so from the late Yuan (1279-1368) to the early Ming dynasty (1368-1644) witnessed the evolution of the art of carved lacquer ware in south China from a decorative craft to a branch of imperially produced artefacts of the highest order, in parallel to a similar development of Chinese blue-and- white porcelain. Lacquer ware of this period is rarer than contemporary porcelain.  It is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    The sale will showcase a selection of notable Chinese ceramics and works of art across the disciplines of imperial porcelain, lacquer, jade and Buddhist sculpture.

    A white jade Ruyi sceptre, Qing Dynasty (£40,000-60,000)

    One of a pair of imperial yellow glazed dishes Zhende marks (£50,000-70,000)

    PARCHMENT COPY OF AMERICAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE DISCOVERED IN SUSSEX

    Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

    The parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence, which had been folded.

    One of only two parchment copies of America’s Declaration of Independence has been discovered by researchers from Harvard in a record office in West Sussex.  They unearthed the manuscript – believed to date from the 1780’s – while compiling a database of every copy of the declaration kept in Britain. The only other known parchment manuscript copy is kept at the National Archives in Washington DC.

    Staff at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester had not taken a particular interest in the copy before the team from Harvard got in touch.  It was made ten years after the declaration. They are now working on a valuation. It is believed that the copy came to the record office  in 1956.  It was given by a local man who apparently worked for a law firm representing the Dukes of Richmond.

    Field Marshal Charles Lennox (1735-1806), 3rd Duke of Richmond, was known as the “radical duke” for his support for the American colonists’ rebellion.  He also supported a policy of concession in Ireland and held advanced views on parliamentary reform. It is thought that  he may have originally brought the manuscript to Britain. The record office is now working with the university as well as historians at the British Library and the American Library of Congress to carry out further tests on the manuscript.

    MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN AT WAR IN CORK

    Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
    One month after the Burning of Cork by the Black and Tans in December 1920 the future Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery of El Alamein was appointed Brigade Major of the British Army’s 17th Infantry Brigade stationed in the city. Their task was to carry out counter insurgency operations during the final stages of the Irish War of Independence. Monty is the officer at the centre of this very rare c1921 photograph taken in front of a Cork Physiology college building with about 40 uniformed British soldiers.
    It comes up as lot 162 at Adams History Sale in Dublin on April 26 estimated at 500-600. It is unlikely that the regard in which he is held as a hero of the 2nd World War – the man who defeated Rommel at a very heavy cost – was widely shared in Cork a little over two decades previously.  He later wrote to a fellow officer: “Personally, my whole attention was given to defeating the rebels but it never bothered me a bit how many houses were burnt. I think I regarded all civilians as ‘Shinners’ and I never had any dealings with any of them. My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it.”
    He was of the opinion that if the British had gone on the rebellion could probably have been quashed, but thought it would have broken out again the moment the troops were removed.

    More than 250 lots from medieval to modern times, including a copy of the 1916 Proclamation, will come under the hammer. There are Georgian firearms by WJ Rigby with Cork marks. A rare 1985  Irish 20 pence test coin is estimated at 3,000-4,000.  Less than 50 of these are in circulation.Viewing for the auction gets underway at Adams tomorrow afternoon.

    UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A detail from the image with Montgomery in the centre.

    This c1921 photo from the Adams History sale in Dublin next Wednesday shows about 40 British soldiers in Cork during the War of Independence. Montgomery of Alamein is seated at the centre.

    A SIGNED COPY OF THE IRISH PROCLAMATION AT ADAMS

    Thursday, April 20th, 2017

    One of only two known original copies of the Irish Proclamation in private hands signed by the printer Christoper Brady comes up at the annual James Adam History sale in Dublin on April 26.

    The most important document in modern Irish History was printed in Dublin on April 23, 1916 by Christopher Brady, Michael Molloy and Liam O’Brien for the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic.

    A print run of 2,500 copies was planned.  It seems unlikely that more than 100 were printed.  It was printed on an old Wharfdale Double-Crown, printing machine and the rollers the rollers failed to maintain an even pressure. The work was difficult and the paper quality was poor with the result that nearly all copies show some smudging.

    Printed at Liberty Hall on Easter Sunday, 1916 it was read from the steps of the General Post Office, O’Connell St., Dublin on Easter Monday morning by Padraig Pearse, thus heralding The Rising and the advance of Ireland towards self-determination. This copy is estimated at 150,000-250,000.

    The catalogue for the sale, which is online, lists 268 lots.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 120,000 AT HAMMER

    GREAT IRISH INTERIORS AND CLASSIC ART AT SHEPPARDS

    Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

    The Great Irish Interiors sale at Sheppards in Durrow on April 25 and 26 promises a wide variety of interesting lots.  It is to be followed on April 27 by a Classic Art afternoon auction.  Here is a small selection:

    Pre-Raphaelite School – The Annunciation Oil on canvas (unlined) Provenance: St. Nicholas’s Church, Ghent, Belgium (20,000-30,000)

    EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PERIOD CARVED GILT FRAMED OVER MANTLE MIRROR (3,000-5,000)

    PAIR OF LARGE NINETEENTH-CENTURY ORMOLU APPLIQUÉS (2,500-3,500)

    Irish 19th century side table (4,000-6,000)

    NINETEENTH-CENTURY JAPANESE BRONZE GROUP Sage and deer mounted on an oval base (4,000-6,000)

    GEORGE III PERIOD IRISH STATUARY WHITE MARBLE, SIENNA AND BLUE JOHN CHIMNEY PIECE (35,000-45,000)

    VISIONS IN GLASS 1926-62 BY CARLO SCARPA AT CHRISTIE’S, NEW YORK

    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    The only single-owner collection of works by the Venetian architect and designer Carlo Scarpa ever at auction comes up at Christie’s in New York on May 4.  Carlo Scarpa: Visions in Glass 1926-1962, A Private European Collection encompasses around 90 pieces of Italian art glass. The collection provides an overview of the pioneering styles Scarpa created for M.V.M. Cappellin and subsequently Venini. In his collaboration with the two glassmakers and in particular with Venini, Scarpa developed a modern vocabulary for the century-old techniques of glass making and paved the way for the resurgence of the island of Murano as a centre of glass with a modern outlook. Trained as an architect Scarpa developed a range of new surface treatments and techniques, while being inspired by ancient Roman glass as well as Chinese works of art. Here is a small selection:

    Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) A Summerso Vase c1934-36 ($30,000-40,000)

    A Murrine Opache dish c1940 ($100,000-150,000)

    A Tessuto Battuto vase designed 1938-40 ($20,000-30,000).

    A rare Murrine Romane vase c1936 ($40,000-60,000).

    COLLINS LETTER TO KITTY KIERNAN AT SOTHEBY’S, NEW YORK

    Saturday, April 15th, 2017

    “Ireland will have cause to remember her present day extremists” the Irish patriot Michael Collins wrote with considerable prescience to his fiancé Kitty Kiernan on June 1, 1922 during the Treaty negotiations. The letter is part of an extensive archive of Easter Rising material due to come up at Sotheby’s in New York on April 24. They were to have been married the following November. Just over two months later he was shot dead at Beal na mBlath in Co. Cork. Lot 89 in the sale of the Maurice Neville Collection of Modern Literature (Part III) relates to the Easter Rising and the Irish Rebellion.

    It comprises 22 pamphlets and books, eight broadsides and handbills and about about 28 autograph items from Dublin and London from 1910 to 1925.  There are two letters to Kitty Kiernan, dated March 31 and June 1, 1922 when Collins was part of the Irish delegation negotiating the Treaty. In March he wrote:  “We came to an agreement on certain things with Craig yesterday – I am not very sanguine about the future from any point of view. We have however secured release of all the prisoners…. but the news from Ireland is very bad and the “powers that be” here are getting very alarmed that there may be a bust up at any moment.  Were it not for the awful consequences I’d almost welcome it…. yet one has the responsibility. It would be cowardly to shirk from standing up to it. The whole business is casting a gloom over me and in spite of what is a big human hope I cannot  keep thinking that as a people we are destined to go on dreaming, vainly hoping, striving to no purpose until we are all gone”.

    On June I he reported to his fiancé:  “Things have got very much worse overnight & I am looking forward now to my last appointment with them.  I’m returning tonight no matter what happens as I feel I can do no more good here.  Ireland will have cause to remember her present day extremists. The whole thing is ghastly but I’ll tell you more about it when I see you. It was only after my scribble yesterday I heard about Joe McGuinnesses death. He is a great loss to us but apart from that I feel the personal loss more keenly. He was the one most responsible for the recent peace. It makes the present position all the more tragic”.
    Lot 89 contains a copy of the Proclamation, two copies of the Irish War News and letters and signatures of Charles Stewart Parnell, de Valera, Childers, McBride,  WT Cosgrave, The O’Rahilly, Kevin O’Higgins, Desmond FitzGerald and others. There is a souvenir programme of the funeral of O’Donovan Rossa to Glasnevin Cemetery in August 1915 and Eamon de Valera’s copy of Frank Gallagher’s The Invisible Island:  The History of Partition in Ireland, London ,1958 signed and dated May 3, 1958 by de Valera. The lot is estimated at $7,000-10,000.

    Letters from Michael Collins addressed to Miss Kitty Kiernan, Granard, Co. Longford

    The archive of material relating to the Easter Rising

    CURIOSITIES AT MATTHEWS AUCTION IN CO. MEATH

    Thursday, April 13th, 2017

    With everything from an original Victorian deep Sea diver’s helmet to a 1.2 carat Tiffany solitaire ring from a broken engagement to a small library of books and a Victorian carved ivory penis the weekend antique and interiors sale at Matthews of Oldcastle, Co. Meath on April 22 and 23  is brimful of curiosity.  Over 1,100 lots will come under the hammer.  The ivory lot is pithily described as a forget-me-not in from an old Anglo-Irish military family.  The catalogue is due to go online on April 14.  Here is a small selection:

    Victorian deep Sea diver’s helmet.

    Victorian carved ivory penis

    Two antique African bronzes

    OPERA MEMORABILIA FROM THE MET AT CHRISTIE’S

    Monday, April 10th, 2017

    Rare musical manuscripts and memorabilia from the Metropolitan Opera Guild collection will come under the hammer at Christie’s in New York on June 15.  Highlights, including the sole surviving autograph musical manuscript by Schubert for his Piano Sonata in A flat Major ($350,000-500,000), will be previewed in London from April 19-27 and in Hong Kong from May 26-29.  In addition two pieces of jewellery will be sold in the Magnificent Jewels auction on June 20. The sales will benefit the Opera Guild and the Metropolitan Opera.

    Among around 90 lots is a selection of autograph material from some of the most important composers of the Western classical tradition from the Baroque to the 20th-century. Additional highlights include annotated manuscripts and letters by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Also included is Enrico Caruso’s Cartier gold eyeglass case with glasses and Arturo Toscanini’s Gubelin open-faced pocket watch. Most manuscripts come from the carefully assembled gift of Edwin Franko Goldman (1878-1956), renowned American composer and trumpeter with the Metropolitan Opera.

    SCHUBERT, Franz (1797-1828). Autograph manuscript signed for his piano sonata in A-flat major, D. 557, May 1817 ($350,000-500,000)

    AN ART DECO CORAL AND DIAMOND TIARA, BY CARTIER ($200,000-300,000)

    FIRST EDITION OF SYNGE’S THE ARAN ISLANDS AT SOTHEBY’S

    Sunday, April 9th, 2017

    A 1907 first edition of Synge’s The Aran Islands with drawings by Jack B. Yeats comes up at Sotheby’s in New York on April 24.  The limited edition is one of 150 large paper copies signed by both Synge and Yeats. This classic account of the people of the Aran Islands was important milestone in modern Irish publishing. It was the only book published by Maunsel and Co. to include hand colouring of an artist’s work. It is estimated at $7,000-10,000.

    The signatures of Synge and Yeats

    An illustration by Yeats from the book.