Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact

    February 26th, 2024

    An 1806 Irish halfpenny was the top lot at Noonan’s sale of British trade tokens, tickets and passes. It made a hammer price of £5,500 over a top estimate of £1,000. It went to a collector in Ireland. The final part of the Irish Tokens from the Collection of the late Barry Woodside achieved a hammer total of £17,895 with two notable examples being a farthing from Newcastle, County Limerick, engraved Florence O’Connell, Irish Woollen Warehouse, Bridge St. which made £2,600 at hammer of a top estimate of £200 and a token saying George Lynch, Elephant House, Lr. Sackville Street Portmanteau Manufacturer which made £2,200 against a top estimate of £100. They went to Irish collectors. An 18th century token from Munster with a bust of Bryen Boiromhe, King of Munster made £1,400 against an estimate of £300-400. It was bought by a collector in the USA.


    February 26th, 2024
    Lord Doneraile’s boxed ordnance survey map of Waterford

    A 19th century Ordnance Survey map of Waterford from the collection of Doneraile Court and a 19th century Killarney davenport are among the lots at Hegarty’s online sale in Bandon from 5 pm on February 28. Lord Doneraile’s maps were most likely used for hunting. The auction offers a selection of antique furniture, art, jewellery and collectibles including a pair of c1740 Irish silver candlesticks by Thomas Walker of Dublin.


    February 25th, 2024
     A 19th century Strahan dining table

    From a 15 foot long dining table by Robert Strahan and a resin cast of a pair of Irish elk antlers and skull to a 19th century spinning wheel, an antique divers helmet and  pairs of Art Nouveau glass panels the online interiors sale by Victor Mee over two evenings on February 27-28 is brimful of interest.  Just under 1,000 lots will come under the hammer at auctions beginning each day at 5.30 pm. The Strahan table with five leaves is from a Victorian house on Temple Road, Dublin and estimated at €4,000-€8,000.  There are cast iron dogs, peat buckets, side tables, a decorative gilt sunburst mirror, easy chairs,  a Dior advertising figure with black gloves, Tiffany style lamps, a Chesterfield settee in an online catalogue that features antique furniture, art, carpets and furnishings for a decorative interior.

    A gilt sunburst mirror 


    February 25th, 2024
    A  c1790 commode

    Along with a great selection of highly desirable lots in categories from antique furniture, art and collectibles the At Home sale at James Adam in Dublin on February 27 comes with a message of sustainability. The venerable auctioneering firm is setting out in 2024 to highlight how the purchase of antique furniture and furnishings at auction contributes to sustainability.  Each year in Ireland the Environmental Protection Agency calculates that 1.2 million re-usable bulky items, mostly furniture, are consigned to landfill. Not unlike fast fashion the constant production and consumption of new items contributes to a rapidly growing waste problem.

    In an attempt to counter this trend Adams is encouraging those of us who love antique furniture to spread the message that sustainability starts at home and help new buyers appreciate the benefits of acquiring affordable, well made quality items that are built to last. A selection of stylish and affordable furniture is on the catalogue for this auction. A c1790 George III demi lune commode veneered in flame mahogany is estimated at €1,000-€1,500.  Walnut was the most prized wood for furniture making from the end of the 17th century to the middle of the 18th century.  The attractive grain and colour of the wood is well demonstrated in lot 327, a Georgian walnut side table with distinctive cabriole legs, hinged top and compartmented interior.  This piece is estimated at €1,000-€1,500.

    19th century oak Welsh dresser

    The catalogue cover lot is a riverbank scene at Veneux les Sablons by the French artist Pierre Eugene Montezin (1874-1946) who once remarked to the critic Louis Vauxcelles that: “The subjects of the landscape painter are less in front of the artist’s eyes than in his heart”.  In 1932 Montezin received the Medal of Honour at the Salon des Artistes Francais and he was an office of the Legion d’Honneur.  The painting is estimated at €5,000-€7,000. The proceeds from the sale of another painting, a 19th century Breton market scene, will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society.  The artist is unknown and the work is estimated at €1,000-€1,500. The auction kicks off with a selection of garden statuary, campagna urns, plant holders, patio furniture and a circular millstone mounted on a granite base as a table.  There is a selection of lighting, rugs, chairs and and collectibles. 

    A millstone mounted on a granite base as a table 


    February 24th, 2024
    Rembrandt van Rijn – The Laughing Man c. 1629-1630 COURTESY MAURITSHUIS, THE HAGUE

    Turning Heads: Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer opens today at the National Gallery of Ireland. Featuring works by Dutch and Flemish artists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the show explores tronies – intriguing paintings of heads. The exhibition features artists’ portrayals of the human face, its morphology, expression, and lighting around it. These works are to small and playful paintings of heads which became very popular in the early seventeenth century. Turning Heads traces the emergence of this historical art phenomenon from the sixteenth century to its heyday through the work of iconic artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Johannes Vermeer.

    Highlights include Vermeer’s Girl with the Red Hat, c. 1669, the artist’s smallest recorded painting. The work is filled with beautiful colourful details, and a highly sensitive use of light that reflects his fascination with optics. Rembrandt’s The Laughing Man, c. 1629-1630 is an example of how artists studied their own faces to apprehend its morphology and diverse expressions. Here, Rembrandt’s likeness can be seen in the grinning character of his painting. Rubens worked with a variety of models to study their features from different angles and with great observation. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp and the National Gallery of Ireland and it will run until May 26.


    February 23rd, 2024
    Francis Bacon –  Study of George Dyer 

    Francis Bacon’s last intimately scaled portrait of his lover George Dyer shortly before his tragic death comes up at Sotheby’s in London on March 6. Acquired directly from the Marlborough Gallery in London in 1970, the year it was painted the portrait is charged with extraordinary intimacy and framed within a seductive dark background. The depiction of Dyer – at the time, the love of Bacon’s life – was selected by the artist for inclusion in his major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris held in the autumn of 1971. The work was briefly seen in 1993, when it was included in an exhibition of the artist’s small portrait studies at the Marlborough Gallery, after which it went back onto its owners wall until now. It is estimated at £5 – £7 million.

    The major retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Grand Palais was of great personal significance to Bacon as it marked only the first time after Picasso – Bacon’s artist hero – that a living artist had been afforded a one-man show at the prestigious venue. The monumental occasion celebrating the artist’s already stellar career was, however, marred by an event which would leave Bacon grief-stricken: barely thirty-six hours before the opening, Dyer was found dead from an overdose of sleeping pills, exacerbated by alcohol abuse, in the hotel suite the pair shared. Despite suffering from numbing shock and a despairing guilt, Bacon continued with the opening apparently unabated, though the shadow Dyer cast over Bacon would linger for the rest of his life.

    The Dyer portrait leads a powerful and arresting group of twentieth-century artworks from a distinguished private collection at Sotheby’s in London this March.. Assembled with unfaltering energy and focus over some sixty years, the paintings, sculpture and drawings that comprise the collection are linked by a common thread – an unwavering interest in the human form by artists at the peak of their powers who sought to convey the emotions and forces that govern and dictate the human condition. Art by Chaïm Soutine, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Henri Matisse, Edouard Vuillard and Henri Hayden will be presented in Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary evening and day auctions on March 6 and 7. A further selection of works from this collection will be offered across a range of sales in London up until June. They were sourced principally in the late 1960s and the 1970s, chiefly from the leading London galleries of the moment such as Marlborough, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Waddington, Crane Kalman and Redfern.


    February 22nd, 2024
    NANO REID (1905-1981) – Men of Drogheda

    Men of Drogheda by Nano Reid kicks off Morgan O’Driscoll’s current Irish art online auction which runs until February 26. Estimated at €1,000-€1,500 it has already attracted nine bids and exceeded the top estimate. Last July another watercolour by Reid, Sailing on the Boyne, made a hammer price of €48,000 at a Morgan O’Driscoll sale. The auction of 225 lots offers a wide variety of artists including Kenneth Webb, John Behan, James Humbert Craig, Moyra Barry, Markey Robinson, Graham Knuttel, Sandra Bell, Basil Blackshaw, Evie Hone, Dan O’Neill, Maurice Wilks, Mainie Jellett, Frank McKelvey, Brigid Ganly and Constance Gore-Booth.


    February 22nd, 2024

    Viewing gets underway in Dublin today and continues over the weekend for the James Adam At Home sale next Tuesday (February 27). The timed online sale is open for bidding and will draw to a close from 11 am on Tuesday. This North European inlaid fruitwood serpentine fronted commode is, at €4,000-€6,000, one of the more expensively estimated lots. The top is inlaid with scrolls and putto and centred by a flower filled urn, musical instruments, horns and birds of paradise.


    February 21st, 2024
    L.S. Lowry – Sunday Afternoon (1957)

    L.S. Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon (1957) will be a highlight at Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art evening sale in London on March 20. The epic and highly populated industrial landscape exemplifies some of the most widely celebrated themes, landmarks and motifs from Lowry’s oeuvre and is raree in a single composition. It is thought to be one of around 12 works created on this, his largest scale. Almost all similar paintings of this size held in museums including The Lowry, Salford; Tate, London; and National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. It has not been exhibited publicly in 57 years and is estimated at £4,000,000-6,000,000. The work is from the collection of Sir Keith and Lady Showering.

    Keith Showering’s career was founded on a 300-year-old Somerset family cider making business and the meteoric success of Babycham. By 1975 at the age of 45 Showering was Chairman and CEO of Allied Breweries, Europe’s biggest drinks business, becoming the youngest ever chairman and CEO of a FTSE 100 company. In 1981 he was knighted for services to industry and that same year he took over as Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers. By the time of his sudden death in 1982 he was on the board of a wide variety of companies and arts organisations. 


    February 20th, 2024
    Ludovico Mazzolino – The Crossing of the Red Sea

    The programming schedule for TEFAF Maastricht includes Conversations on Conservation on March 9 at 3 pm. This will focus on the conservation of Ludovico Mazzolino’s (c. 1480–c. 1530) masterpiece, The Crossing of the Red Sea (1521). The National Gallery of Ireland has received funding from TEFAF to restore the work, which has been part of its collection for over a century. The painting, in its current fragile state, cannot be safely displayed. The Crossing of the Red Sea requires extensive conservation efforts. The National Gallery of Ireland will collaborate with experts in Mazzolino’s work to better understand his artistic practice so that this rare large-scale painting can be sensitively restored and made accessible to the visiting public.

    TEFAF will run from March 9-14 at the MECC Maastricht. It will be preceeded by invitation only days on March 7 and 8.

    (See post on for January 16, 2024).