Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Sunday, August 27th, 2017

    The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland booth featuring seven Irish makers won the best curation award at the Accent on Design Awards at this years NYNOW.   The booth w0wed visitors from throughout the US and more than 80 countries.  The seven brands it featured are Arran Street East, Avoca Woollen Mills, Bunny and Clyde, Field Apothecary, J. Hill’s Standard, Stable of Ireland and Diem Pottery.  Each is featured on, the online platform developed by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

    Bunny and Clyde nursery and children furniture

    A selection of products form Arran Street East


    Friday, August 4th, 2017

    The Aran jumper. Image courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland.

    An Aran jumper from the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, is to feature in a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  The history and impact of the Aran jumper will be explored in Items: Is Fashion Modern?, alongside a host of well-known fashion designs such an example of the biker jacket from the 1950s; a Wonderbra; a Birkin bag; a 1960s Breton shirt; a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans from the 1940s; and a collection of Little Black Dresses.  The exhibition is due to open in the autumn.

    The jumper is a cream, knitted piece from 1940 made from a heavy, scoured wool. The patterns are different front and back. The centre panel on one side has a diamond stitch and the centre of the other side consists of a trellis openwork pattern with bobbles.  It is currently being prepared by the conservation team at the National Museum of Ireland to be transported to MoMA ahead of the exhibition opening on October 1. According to MoMA, each of the 111 items explored in the exhibition were selected because they have had a “profound impact on the world over the last century”.


    Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

    Handbags by Cartier, Fendi, Dior and Chanel will feature at Dolan’s summer art and antiques auction in Ballyconneely, Connemara on Bank Holiday Monday August 7 and Tuesday August 8.  Viewing for this 500 lot two day sale gets underway on August 3.  The catalogue is online. Here are some handbags.

    A Dior bag

    A Fendi bead bag

    A Fendi suede bag

    Cartier Handbag In Bordeaux Leather (600-800)


    Thursday, July 27th, 2017

    The Lusitania telegraph recovered from the sea bed yesterday.

    The main telegraph machine from the wreck of the Lusitania was recovered yesterday from the seabed off County Cork.  It was brought to the surface in good condition under the supervision of an archaeologist from the Irish National Monuments Service.  It had been relocated by recreational divers, who marked its position on the seabed.

    The Cunarder, the largest ship in the world when built on the Clyde, was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Co Cork on May 7 1915, with the loss of 1,201 lives. It was en route from New York to Liverpool.  The sinking has been cited as factor in the US’s eventual entry into the First World War.

    The wreck, 11 nautical miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, is regarded as a war grave and protected by an Underwater Heritage Order under Ireland’s National Monuments Acts. The owner of wreck Gregg Bemis intends to place the telegraph, and the pedestal successfully recovered last year, on display in a local museum, along with other artefacts he has recovered during earlier dives.


    Saturday, July 1st, 2017

    The Blessing of the Fleet by James Mahony

    The Blessing of the Fleet by the Cork artist James Mahony is a highlight of the sale at Cork Auction Rooms on July 2.  Born in Cork in either 1811 or 1817 the artist is best known for his harrowing illustrations of the famine for The Illustrated London News, where he worked as an artist and reporter.  When a painting by James Mahony of The Consecration of St. Mary’s, Pope’s Quay around 1842 came up at Whyte’s in Dublin in 2015 the Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut paid 19,000 at hammer for a work that had been estimated at 8,000-10,000.

    The Dominican congregation in Cork were the disappointed underbidders.  A replica of the work was subsequently presented by the Dublin auctioneers to the Cork Dominican Church and priory. Among the other lots coming up at Cork Auction Rooms tomorrow are a stained glass window design by Evie Hone based on the apparition at Fatima for St. Mary’s Church, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, a gramophone with chinoiserie cabinet, a selection of gold coins and a greyhound painting  by the popular contemporary artist Mark O’Neill.


    Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

    The Rockefeller Winston emerald

    There was a world auction record per carat at Christie’s in New York last night when The Rockefeller Emerald sold for $5,511,500.  This amounted to $305,000 per carat.  The octagonal step-cut emerald is approximately 18.04 carats.

    It was sold to jeweller Harry Winston. CFO Robert Scott was bidding in Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza saleroom with instructions from Harry Winston CEO Nayla Hayek to “bring this magnificent gem home at any price.” Following the sale, Nayla Hayek commented “Harry Winston is immensely proud to own the finest emerald in the world which once belonged to one of America’s most important dynasties.”

    The sale of magnificent jewels totalled $26.1 million and was 83% sold by lot and 89% by value. There was strong results for jewels from Louis Comfort Tiffany once part of The Garden Museum Collection in Japan.


    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    Ballyedmond – This pair of sapphire and diamond cufflinks made £16,250 (with an estimate of £3,000-4,000)

    The online sale of gentleman’s accessories from the collection of Irish entrepreneur Lord Ballyedmond  was 100% sold, making it the second white glove online auction at Sotheby’s in 2017.  There were cufflinks, tie pins and watches by great names including Cartier, Van Clef & Arpels, Boucheron and Tiffany and Co.  The sale attracted global interest with US bidders placing most bids, followed by the UK, Italy and Russia.  No less than 75% of lots on offer went for prices above their high estimate.
    Over two days of sales in London in May the Ballyedmond Collection of over 500 objects, mostly from his restored townhouse in Belgravia, made £4.3 million over a top estimate of £3.1 million. Born in Kilcurry Co. Louth Edward Haughty, who became Lord Ballyedmond, made his fortune founding and steering the Norbrook Group, a pharmaceutical company based in Newry.



    Paul Cezanne – Baigneuses, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire au fond (It is estimated at £4-6 million) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Paul Cezanne’s Baigneuses La Montagne Sainte-Victoire au fond is an exquisite small work that  units two key motifs, bathers and the Montagne Sainte Victoire. Measuring just five by eight inches it is the dover lot of Sotheby’s inaugural Actual Size sale in London on June 21.  It is estimated at £4-6 million. At the turn of the century Cezanne’s revolutionary works began the process of the fragmentation of reality in art and opened the door to modernism.  He used the classical subject of bathers as a compositional tool for a completely new and free aesthetic.  The use of translucent watercolour renders the human figure almost weightless and the nudes are fully embraced by nature.  Adding to the rarity the composition includes a view of Montagne Saine-Victoire.  In a small scale the artist captures the most important subjects and ideas that formed his artistic legacy. On June 21 to coincide with the flagship sales in London Sotheby’s will stage a “small” sale. This brings together a range of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. This first of a kind sale will include painting, sculpture and works on paper with one common characteristic – each will be no bigger than the size of the catalogue page on which it is illustrated.


    Sunday, June 4th, 2017
    An auction of architectural salvage is always of interest to a wide variety of imaginative collectors.  Aidan Foley’s two day sale of the stock of Bailey Gibson Interiors and Salvage at Oranmore, Co. Galway on June 10 and 11 is likely to be no exception.  The 1,200 lots will be sold over two days.
    There are pitch pine beams and cast iron stanchions from Boland’s Mills in Dublin, vintage light fittings, garden furniture and urns and a selection which ranges from French doors to whiskey barrels.  Garden enthusiasts and doer uppers will be interested in cut kerb stones and old building stones, outdoor lighting, a fountain, statuary, reclaimed brick and granite cobbles.  Most lots will be sold without reserves.

    salvaged bricks

    Some salvage in the sale


    Friday, May 26th, 2017

    The sale of garden sculpture and architectural ornaments at Sheppards in Durrow on May 30 is on view at Gash Gardens, Castletown, Co. Laois from May 27-19.  The catalogue, which is online, lists 232 lots.  Here is a small selection:

    Regency lead fountain head (800-1,200) UPDATE: THIS MADE 750 AT HAMMER

    One of a pair of 19th century cast iron urns and stands (800-1,200)  UPDATE: THIS LOT MADE 850 AT HAMMER

    Pair of Regency lead urns (400-600)  UPDATE: THESE MADE 620 AT HAMMER

    Cast iron garden seat by Pierce of Wexford (800-1,200) UPDATE: THIS MADE 950 AT HAMMER


    Friday, May 5th, 2017

    Stephen McKenna (1939–2017) Photo credit: Amelia Stein

    The death of artist Stephen McKenna has been announced by The Kerlin Gallery.  The London born artist studied at The Slade in the 1960’s.  Rather than conforming to the era’s dominant trends of pop art and conceptualism, he defied expectation by turning instead to figurative painting – unfashionable in London at that time – and began to develop a unique painterly practice informed by diverse art historical precedents.

    He moved to Germany in 1971 and, after living and working in numerous European countries, settled in Co. Carlow in the 1990’s.  The impact of this extensive continental travel is evident in McKenna’s painting, not only in its subject matter – though European cityscapes and landscapes are frequently represented – but in the lyricism of his approach, artfully fusing classical and romantic painting traditions. He died in Co. Carlow on May 4.