Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category


    Thursday, November 9th, 2017

    Maria Cregan’s manuscript.

    An autograph letter journal by Maria Cregan, with an eyewitness account of the Easter Rising, comes up at Bonhams in London on November 15. Her day to day account opens as follows:  I went with Carrie Slacke and her son Randal to Sugarloaf Mountain for the Easter holiday… At Harcourt Street the first thing I noticed was a wrecked motor car opposite the station and rather many people about but also that there were no trams. I walked towards Stephen’s Green and asked had there been an accident and was told there had been a rising of Sinn Feiners. They had taken the College of Surgeons and the Green, had dug trenches in the green, barricaded the streets with all kinds of vehicles &c and had run up the Republican Flag on the College of Surgeons (this last I could see myself from the corner of Cuffe Street). I asked a man who was standing with a bicycle if I could get through, but he said it was too dangerous and even as he spoke a volley rang out…”

    There are entries made for each day from Tuesday April 25 to Friday May 6, 1916.  The ten pages on thin office style paper, signed and dated Maria J. Cregan, May 6, 1916 carry an estimate of £700-900.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £1,875


    Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

    THE DONNERSMARCK DIAMONDS- image courtesy Sotheby’s

    The Donnersmarck Diamonds, a pair of extraordinary Fancy Intense Yellow diamonds with impeccable aristocratic provenance, will come up at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 15   Formerly in the collection of the princely family von Donnersmarck they consist of a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 102.54 carats, and a pear-shaped diamond weighing 82.47 carats to be offered as a single lot.  The pair is estimated at $9-14 million.

    David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said: “These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata. Ten years ago, they were the star of the show when we launched our very first sale dedicated to Noble Jewels here in Geneva. I am delighted to mark a decade of success by presenting these exceptional diamonds once again”.

    The Donnersmarck Diamonds were part of the collection of La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819-1884), arguably the most famous of 19th-century French courtesans, whose vertiginous trajectory from modest circumstances in her native Russia to the highest circles of European aristocracy was sensational. Her second husband was Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916), one of Europe’s richest men.  In 1855, shortly after they became a couple, La Païva purchased a building plot on the Champs Elysées. Hotel La Païva was to be one of the most lavish mansions ever built there.  La Païva’s lavish parties and literary gatherings soon became the most talked-about events in Paris, often attended by the likes of Gustave Flaubert, Émile Zola, the artist Eugène Delacroix and even the Emperor himself.  The diamonds remained in the family for more than a century until they came up at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2007.  They have been in a private collection for the past ten year.


    Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

    The Raj Pink

    The Raj Pink, the world’s largest known fancy intense pink diamond at 37.3 carats, comes up at Sotheby’s sale of mangificent and noble jewels in Geneva on November 15.

    The rough diamond which yielded the stone was studied for over a year after its discovery in 2015. A master cutter crafted it into a sparkling cushion modified brilliant cut stone.  The Raj Pink was named by the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. It is based on the Sanskrit word for King.  The estimate of $20-30 million.


    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.