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    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.



    Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
    Jack B. Yeats - Glory to the Brave Singer (250,000-350,000)

    Jack B. Yeats – Glory to the Brave Singer (250,000-350,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS PASSED AT 230,000

    A great late Yeats work will highlight the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art and Irish historical documents in Dublin on December 7.  Glory to the Brave Singer, which depicts a woman reclining in a landscape pointing towards a songbird, was exhibited at the RHA in 1951, at Victor Waddington’s in Dublin in October 1953 and at the Munster Fine Art Club annual exhibition in Cork in 1956. It was shown several times at Victor Waddington’s gallery in London in the late 1950’s and ’60’s but has rarely been seen in public since becoming part of a private collection in 1971. It is estimated at 250,000-350,000. It is one of four Yeats’ oils in what Adams describe as one of their finest sales in some years.

    There is a small section on Irish historical documents which includes the most expensively estimated lot, the final order of surrender written  by Padraig Pearse at Easter 1916 (1-1.5 million) and two original copies of the Irish Proclamation (each estimated at 250,000-350,000).

    The art sale features lots from the Smurfit Kappa Collection, which includes a self portrait by Sir William Orpen (the catalogue cover lot) and Paul Henry’s Connemara Landscape.  There are important works by traditional Northern painters like Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig and Maurice Wilks.  The back cover of the catalogue features one of Roderic O’Conor’s biggest and most ambitious paintings of the female nude. Etude du nu dates to 1914 and is estimated at 50,000-70,000. The sale features work by artists like Sir John Lavery, Joseph Malachy Kavanagh, Aloysius O’Kelly and Nathaniel Hill as well as four paintings by Patrick Hennessy who was the subject of an exhibition at IMMA during the summer.

    There is work by Mildred Anne Butler, Evie Hone, Mainie Jellett, Letitia and Eva Hamilton and Norah McGuinness.  Contemporary artists include Tony O’Malley, Louis le Brocquy, Mark Francis, Donald Teskey and John Doherty.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE:   The Pearse surrender letter was unsold.  The sale grossed 1.35 million with 76% of lots sold.

    Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012) Human Image (Woman) (1997) (40,000-60,000)

    Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
    Human Image (Woman) (1997) (40,000-60,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Etude de Nu (50,000-70,000)

    Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940)
    Etude de Nu (50,000-70,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-1980) The Bronze Horses of Saint Marks (1953) (15,000-20,000)

    Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-1980)
    The Bronze Horses of Saint Marks (1953) (15,000-20,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER

    Norah McGuinness HRHA (1901-1980) Waterweeds on the Nore (4,000-6,000)

    Norah McGuinness HRHA (1901-1980)
    Waterweeds on the Nore (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,500 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
    The Proclamation at Sotheby's

    The Proclamation at Sotheby’s

    A copy of the Irish Proclamation comes up at Sotheby’s sale of English Literature, History, Childrens’ Books and Illustrations in London on July 12. When purchased in 1996 it was mounted on early stiff card.  It was professionally repaired at the Williamstown Art Conservation Centre in Massachusetts and afterwards preserved in a clamshell box. The restoration saw the copy removed from its previous mount, washed, archival backed, newly remounted on thin Japanese paper and encapsulated.  It is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

    This is one of a small number of copies printed at Liberty Hall on Easter Sunday 1916, marking the beginning of the Easter Rising. Three men, printer Christopher Brady and two compositors, Michael Molloy and Liam O’Brien handled the printing. The Rising led eventually to the foundation of the Irish Free State and later Irish Republic. Less than 50 copies of the original are thought to have survived.



    Sunday, March 13th, 2016
    This original copy of the Proclamation sold for a hammer price of 185,000 at Whyte's today.

    This original copy of the Proclamation sold for a hammer price of 185,000 at Whyte’s today.

    An original copy of the Irish Proclamation sold for 185,000 at Whye’s sale of History and Literature in Dublin this afternoon. It was a busy auction that exhibited a huge appetite for memorabilia and collectibles in this centenary year of the Irish Rising.  A bottle of 100 year old whiskey, which Whyte’s believe to be the oldest bottle of Irish whiskey ever offered at auction, sold for a hammer price of 15,000.  Eamon de Valera’s 1917 prison autograph book from Dartmoor sold for 5,400 and a collection of memorial posters of leaders of The Rising sold for 4,800 at hammer. Seven examples of 1966 50th anniversary silver ten shilling coins made 2,000 and 1916 Rising medals awarded to husband and wife James and Margaret Joyce sold for a hammer price of 6,800.  Three unpublished photographs of Roger Casement on board a German submarine bound for Ireland sold for 4,200.

    Many lots exceeded their top estimate. The sale grossed 570,000 and was 82 per cent sold.

    (See post on for March 4, 2016).


    Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

    proclamationA copy of the Proclamation of Independence of the Irish Republic sold for £305,000 at Sotheby’s sale of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations in London. It had been estimated at £80,000-120,000.  It is one of a small number of surviving copies printed at Liberty Hall, Dublin on Easter Sunday, 1916.  This marked the beginning of the Easter Rising and inaugurated modern Ireland.  About 1,000 were printed and most of these were destroyed in the storming of Liberty Hall.  It is thought that less than 50 survive.

    The text of this document was read from the steps of the General Post Office, Sackville (now O’Connell) Street, Dublin, on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, by Pádraig Pearse, who, with Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett were the signatories of the Proclamation.