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    Friday, March 3rd, 2017

    There was what Charles O’Brien of Bonhams described as “a good price for a non Irish subject” when a work by Walter Osborne sold for £125,000 at the London sale of 19th century European, Victorian and British Impressionist art in London. “When the Boats come in” was painted in the period from 1884 to 1891 when Osborne lived in England.  O’Brien said the world had attracted considerable commented.

    A portrait of Newry born Charles Russell, Baron Russell of Killowen by John Singer Sargent, also sold for £125,000. A close associate of Gladstone and a supporter of Home Rule he was the first catholic to become Lord Chief Justice of England.  Bonhams sale realised £1.4 million with 70% of works on offer finding buyers.  Charles O’Brien commented: “We were delighted with the overall sale results, proving that although selective, the 19th century and traditional market is still strong”.


    Charles Russell, Baron Russell of Killowen by John Singer Sargent.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 125,000


    Sunday, February 26th, 2017

    This portrait of The Godolphin Arabian by the Irish artist Daniel Quigley comes up at Bonhams sale of the contents of Glyn Cywarch, the property of Lord Harlech, in London on March 29.  Godolphin was one of three horses brought to England between 1689 and 1730 from which all modern thoroughbreds descend including Sea Biscuit.

    Among the most successful of his progeny were Lath, Cedes, Regulus, Babraham, Dormouse and Bajazet.  The horse was foaled in Yemen around 1724 and is said to have been given by King Louis XV of France to the Bey of Tunis in 1730. Later Edward Coke acquired him for his stud at Longford Hall, Derbyshire. Ownership passed to Francis, 2nd Earl Godolphin upon Coke’s death and the horse spent the remainder of his life at the Earl’s stud farm where he died on Christmas Day, 1753.

    Daniel Quigley’s portrait is thought to derive from an original, now lost, by David Morier, which was engraved and became a popular print. Other versions of Quigley’s portrait are in the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket and the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Centre for British Art.  The painting is estimated at £15,000-20,000.


    Monday, February 20th, 2017

    The estate of author Jackie Collins is to be auctioned by Bonhams in Los Angeles on May 16 and 17.  More than 1,000 lots will come under the hammer in a sale entitled Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters.  Bonhams  Vice-President Leslie Wright commented:  “Jackie Collins lived the lifestyle about which she wrote, and the sale  will provide an exclusive insight into the real woman behind her unforgettable characters. Her books were loved by millions of readers world-wide. This is their chance to own a piece of the magic.”

    The sale is expected to realise around $3 million and will include jewellery, fine art and sculpture.  Among the lots are a collection of bronzes including Nude with Shawl by Josef Lorenzl ($18,000-25,000); works by the English painter, Beryl Cook, including Tango in Bar Sur ($20,000-30,000) and Train Station Café ($ 20,000-30,000);  Jackie’s bespoke special edition 2002 Jaguar XKR Sportscar finished in metallic gold ($ 15,000-20,000) and a selection of entertainment and career-related memorabilia taking in first editions of Jackie’s works and a selection of designer clothes.  Among the jewellery is a 6.04-carat diamond and platinum ring ($100,000-150,000), an Art Deco diamond, emerald, stone and platinum necklace at ($40,000-50,000),  signed pieces by Cartier and Nardi  and watches by Patek Philippe, Harry Winston, Chanel and Chopard. Here is a small selection:

    The fireplace at her Beverly Hills living room.

    A diamond solitaire ring ($100,000-150,000).

    Beryl Cook artwork.

    A portrait of Jackie Collins in the style of Tamara de Lempicka ($3,000-5,000)


    Monday, February 13th, 2017

    Charles Russell, Baron Russell of Killowen by John Singer Sargent.

    A portrait of the distinguished Irish lawyer and statesman, Charles Russell, Baron Russell of Killowen, by John Singer Sargent comes up at Bonhams 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale in London on March 1. It is estimated at £60,000-80,000. Russell (1832-1900) was regarded as the finest advocate of his age. In 1888-89, he successfully defended Charles Stewart Parnell against false allegations that he had condoned the Phoenix Park Killings, in which the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and the Permanent Under-Secretary for Ireland Thomas Burke were stabbed to death in 1882. He was a close associate of the Liberal leader Gladstone and a fellow supporter of Home Rule for Ireland.  He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England, the first Catholic to hold the post.

    Sargent’s portrait was painted in 1900, the year of Russell’s sudden death and is being sold with the painter’s correspondence with the sitter. It has been in the Russell family ever since.  Another version of the Sargent portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Bonhams Director of 19th Century Paintings, Charles O’Brien, said, “Russell was a key figure in political, legal and diplomatic life in the last quarter of the 19th century when Britain was arguably at the height of her global standing. Sargent’s use of contrasting light and dark creates an image of a strong, capable, rather stern man, that perfectly conveys Russell’s great eminence.”

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £125,000


    Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

    A first edition of Gulliver’s Travels.

    A first edition of Gulliver’s Travels is one of the leading lots at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on 1 March 1. From a world-class collection of 17th, 18th and 19th century fantasy and scientific literature it is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

    Jonathan Swift’s Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World … by Lemuel Gulliver, commonly known as Gulliver’s Travels, was published on 28 October 1726, selling out within two weeks. It has been popular ever since and is the most widely read work of 18th century English literature. Adapted many times for film, television and radio – and even opera – the stories of Gulliver’s travels to fantastical lands, including Lilliput and Brobdingnag, are famous throughout the world.

    The collection was assembled during the 20th century by a French bibliophile. It has a strong emphasis on works which would now be classified as science fiction, although important scientific and philosophical writers such as Galileo and Descartes are also represented. Other highlights include:

    • A first edition of Johannes Kepler’s very rare imaginary tale of a voyage to the moon – Somnium, seu opus posthumum de astronomia lunari. Divulgatum (A Dream: or, a Posthumous Work of Lunar Astronomy)– published posthumously in 1634, and estimated at £20,000-30,000. The book features an astonishingly accurate description of how the rest of the celestial system would look as seen from the moon.
    • La découverte australe par un homme-volant, ou le Dédale francais by Restif de la Bretonne estimated at £4,000-6,000. This proto-science fiction Utopian novel is the account of the voyages to mythical lands by the hero, Victorin, in his flying machine made of cape-like wings of silk and a head-worn umbrella-device. It is illustrated with plates depicting the flying machine and the exotic tribes encountered by Victorin on his journey, including men-asses, men-frogs, men-snakes, men-elephants and men-lions.
    • De la terre à la lune, trajet direct en 97 heures, by Jules Verne estimated at £800-1,000. A second edition of Verne’s classic From the Earth to the Moon of 1865 which drew on the latest scientific and technological knowledge to envisage a manned flight to the moon more than 100 years before it actually happened.


    Thursday, January 19th, 2017


    When the Boats Come In by Irish impressionist Walter Osborne will lead Bonhams 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale in London on March 1. Born in Dublin in 1859 he studied in his home city and in Antwerp. Osborne spent most of the years 1884 – 1891 in England, and it was during that period that he painted When the Boats Come In. At the time he was living in Rye in Sussex and this work is closely linked stylistically and in subject matter to another work he completed there, The Ferry. These, and other mid-career pictures such as Cherry Ripe and Boats in Rye Harbour, are regarded as among Osborne’s finest.

    His works can be found in major collections in Ireland, including the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. His paintings also hang in Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Bonhams Director of 19th Century Paintings, Charles O’Brien said, “When the Boats Come In is a wonderful example of Osborne’s English period. It has many of the details – grazing geese, fishermen and villagers at work, a basket of fish with some of them spilling onto the quay – that the artist loved to include in his paintings and which have made them so popular and sought-after at auction.”  It is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £125,000


    Thursday, November 17th, 2016

    ‘Water Front’, a deeply personal memory from childhood by the Irish artist Jack Butler Yeats, is one of the major works in Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale in London on November 23. It is estimated at £150,000-200,000. Painted in 1947, the picture evokes the world of work and commerce with which Yeats was familiar from his childhood. He spent his early years living with his grandparents in Sligo where the family ran a shipping business. From their clothing, the three figures in the painting are readily identifiable as two seafarers and a farmer. To the left, a ship is moored at the quay, and in the background sit the buildings of a port.

    Another work by Yeats – A Soldier of Fortune (£50,000-80,000) – depicts a nomadic gentleman of the road. It has been suggested that this is a portrayal of Bowsie, a vagrant who appears in several of Yeats novels. Bonhams Head of Irish Art Penny Day commented, “Painted only one year apart, neither of these two paintings by Yeats have previously been offered at auction. They show Yeats exploring the expressive power of color and texture in paint to capture the spirit of the ordinary man.”

    Other Irish works in the sale include Nude Bathing by Roderic O’Conor (£50,000-80,000),  Moonlight – The Bridge by Sir John Lavery (£18,000-25,000), Killary Bay by Paul Henry (£3o,ooo-50,000) and Fresh and Salt by Jack B. Yeats (£30,000-50,000).

    UPDATE: Two works by Yeats, Fresh and Salt and A Soldier of Fortune sold respectively for £36,595 and £65,871, Lavery’s Evening Tangier, Looking towards Algeciras made £23,421, Back Gardens by William John Leech made £10,978 and Killary Bay by Paul Henry made £80,510.

    Jack B. Yeats - Water Front (£150,000-200,000)

    Jack B. Yeats – Water Front (£150,000-200,000) UPDATE: This was unsold

    Roderic O'Conor - Nude Bathing (£50,000-80,000)

    Roderic O’Conor – Nude Bathing (£50,000-80,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, August 4th, 2016
    Paul Henry  (1876-1958) - The Cottage by the Lake (£30,000-50,000)

    Paul Henry (1876-1958) – The Cottage by the Lake (£30,000-50,000) sold for £79,300

    A mid year British and Irish art market report by Bonhams shows an increase of 22% in the year so far. They say that bullish conditions were evident at the June auction which totalled £8.3 million and was the company’s most successful to date. The sale was 86% sold by lot and 46% of lots sold above their high estimates.

    Irish art was 100% sold with strong prices for stalwarts like Sir John Lavery and Jack B. Yeats. The welcome surprise of the day, according to Bonhams, was the £79,300 paid for an 8″ x 10″ painting by Paul Henry. Bonhams say that work from the 1930’s and 40’s  experienced a particular surge and that right now there  is an overall hunger for quality.  The next major sale of British and Irish art is on November 23 and the closing date for entries is October 7.

    (See post on for June 13, 2016)


    Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
    A gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Yuanshi Tianzun from the late Ming Dynasty which had been in Ireland since 1914 and was sold last November.

    A gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Yuanshi Tianzun from the late Ming Dynasty in Ireland since 1914 sold last November for around £45,000.

    A specialist in fine Chinese art from Bonhams is to visit Ireland on June 23 and 24 in search of treasure. Sing Yan Choy will be based at Bonhams, 31 Molesworth Street Dublin. Over the years, Bonhams has found several pieces of Chinese art in Ireland which have sold successfully in London. Many of these have a provenance which links them to families involved in the shipping and banking industries in China during the 18th and 19th Century, and to European families with military or diplomatic ties to Asia.

    Ahead of his visit, Sing Yan Choy commented: “The Chinese market is still yielding encouraging sale results, particularly if objects have a good provenance as with so many of the pieces we have found in Ireland. Being able to trace the history of an item is always a valuable reassurance to buyers and Chinese collectors, especially, go to great lengths to satisfy themselves about previous ownership”.


    Monday, June 13th, 2016

    Single File by Jack B. Yeats is one of a number of works by Irish artists at Bonhams in London on June 15.  The sale of Modern British and Irish Art includes work by Yeats, Paul Henry, Dan O’Neill, William Scott and sculptor F.E. MacWilliam. The Yeats and two Henry’s are all estimated at £30,000-50,000, the O’Neill at £5,000-8,000 and the Scott’s at sums from £12,000 to £30,000.

    F.E. McWilliam (1905-1992) - Seated Woman II (£8,000-12,000)

    F.E. McWilliam (1905-1992) – Seated Woman II (£8,000-12,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £27,600

    Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957) - Single File (£30,000-50,000)

    Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957) – Single File (£30,000-50,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE £80,500

    Paul Henry (1876-1958) - The Cottage by the Lake (£30,000-50,000)

    Paul Henry (1876-1958) – The Cottage by the Lake (£30,000-50,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £79,300