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  • PORTRAIT BUST OF HENRY GRATTAN MAKES £13,860 AT SOTHEBY’S

    July 5th, 2022
    Peter Turnerelli (Belfast 1772-1839 London) -Bust of Henry Grattan (1746-1820)

    THIS 1813 marble bust of Henry Grattan sold for £13,860 over a top estimate of £12,000 at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master Sculptures and Early Jewellery in London today. The prime version of Turnerelli’s portrait of Henry Grattan is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Born in Dublin in 1746 Henry Grattan was a brilliant politician and orator who, in his mid-thirties backed by the Protestant Volunteer movement, declared an independent parliament for Ireland. “Grattan’s Parliament” did not last long and when rebellion broke out in 1798 he was blamed by conservatives for having stirred up resentment against the status quo. He opposed the Act of Union in 1800, but this did not prevent him from later sitting as a MP in London. While he continued his efforts on behalf of Ireland his great days as a parliamentarian were over and he died in 1820.

    The bust is likely to have been acquired by Grattan’s contemporary Charles Kinnaird, 8th Lord Kinnaird. He was a prolific art collector who assembled one of the great Scottish collections of antique statuary and pictures. Many of his paintings, which included works by Rubens, Titian and Poussin, had come from the collection of Philippe Égalité, duc d’Orléans.

    IRISH WALNUT CABINET AT BONHAMS MAY HAVE BEEN OWNED BY DEAN SWIFT

    July 4th, 2022
    Irish George I walnut and featherbanded, sycamore, cedar and marquetry ‘architectural’ secretaire cabinet c1725, possibly by John Kirkhoffer

    This Irish George I walnut and featherbanded, sycamore, cedar and marquetry ‘architectural’ secretaire cabinet is one of a group of four which feature in Irish Furniture, 2007, Yale University in New Haven and London by Desmond Fitzgerald, Knight of Glin and James Peill. One of these cabinets was originally owned by Dean Swift and the example housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London was thought to have been his, but later analysis of an inscription on the cabinet has revealed this not to be the case. This one comes up at Bonhams sale of Decorative Arts Through the Ages in London on July 13 with an estimate of £30,000-£40,000.

    John Kirkhoffer was probably the son of a German Palatine called Franz Ludwig, who arrived in Ireland as a refugee in 1709 after escaping the Rhineland-Palatinate area, which had been subjected to many years of conflict. The Kirkhoffer family of Protestant immigrants made it to Counties Kerry and Limerick before ultimately settling in Dublin. 

    A SHIPWRECK AND THE ONE THAT DID NOT GET AWAY RECALLED

    July 3rd, 2022
    A gilt console table and other lots from Aidan Foley’s sale

    A 1940 shipwreck off Cape Clear and the Irish record for a specimen river brown trout are recalled at Aidan Foley’s  two day auction at Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare on July 4 and 5.  The trout, weighing 20 lbs, was caught in the River Shannon at Corbally, Limerick in February 1957 by Major Hugh L Place. The sale includes items from the Place family, who had strong connections to the Limerick Steamship Company, which named its ships after locations in Limerick.

    The SS Maigue, travelling from Limerick via Fenit to Liverpool with a cargo of bacon, struck a rock near Cape Clear in January 1940 and was beached at South Harbour.  Badly damaged she was refloated that May, sold for scrap and broken up in Dublin. An unsigned painting of the ship is included in the auction along with a collection of fishing rods by John Enright, Castleconnell owned by Major Place.  Old fishing flies with a 1945 note by Major Place who believed them then to be 100 years old might make an interesting catch. Antique lots in the auction include two console tables, a metal Armada chest, Irish swords by Johnson of Dublin, an Adams style desk and a large club fender. The catalogue for this sale of 1,700 lots is online and the auctions will be live and online.

    MASTERPIECE IN FULL SWING AT CHELSEA

    July 2nd, 2022
    The 1851 Great Exhibition carved bog yew armchair by Arthur Jones of Dublin at Butchoff Antiques.awarded a Vetting Committee Highlight for the stand out piece of furniture at the fair.

    Masterpiece, in full swing at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London until July 6, is a place of discovery.  The UK’s premier antiques fair – making a welcome return after a three year gap – offers the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery from antiquity to the present day. The fair is remarkable for its depth, breadth and scholarship. Quality is a byword and everything on display has been rigorously vetted by a panel of 180 experts.

     This is an outing not just for the rich, who are catered for royally, but for the culturally curious. It offers much to discover in a non 21st century way.  “Search engines direct us to what we supposedly want or need.  I think Masterpiece does the exact opposite: it encourages people to discover things they weren’t expecting to find”,  Lucie Kitchener, the Masterpiece managing director said. You might not, for example, be expecting to find something by our remarkable Cork based sculptor Eilis O’Connell.  But you will, a carved Portuguese pink marble work entitled Thornmorph, at sculpture specialists Pangolin London  priced at £14,600.

    There was definitely something familiar about a heavily  carved Irish chair at Butchoff Antiques, also of London.  The 1851 Great Exhibition carved bog yew armchair, made by Arthur Jones of Dublin, had featured at a local auction in Ayr last December where it sold for a hammer price of £44,000 over a top estimate of £3,000. There is Irish furniture, as there is nearly always at the world’s leading fairs.  Among a number of Irish pieces displayed at Rory Rogers Ltd. is a wonderful c1780 glass oval mirror with original cobalt blue and opaque glass studs.  This one is enclosed in a carved giltwood frame.

     A pair of antique Irish  mirrors not too dissimilar in style turned up at Lynes and Lynes in Cork last Saturday where they made a hammer price of €4,600.A remarkable ceramic sculpture by Merete Rasmussen, another artist from the Pangolin stable, garnered much attention from the pre-fair publicity. The sinuous yellow sharp edged piece entitled Ouroboros dates to 2019 and is priced at £22,000.  The sculpture series curated by Melanie Vanderbrouck of the V and A considers innovative investigations of form and matter and how other disciplines may inform and enrich sculptural practice.

    The super rich on whom this fair relies are less affected by harsh financial reality than the rest of us. Challenges remain nevertheless.  It will be interesting to see whether Brexit will have an adverse impact on a selling event that is, in fact, global.  Russians are absent and Covid is present.  Possible good news is that Masterpiece is not immune to the pent up demand released everywhere by the ending of lockdown.In the face of all the adversities of 2022 Masterpiece – with 128 exhibitors including 27 from overseas – is a welcoming place that offers a visitor experience that is pretty much unrivalled.  From Roman statues to contemporary jewellery, Andy Warhol to a panelled Georgian Tavern settle, Tutankhamum (the centenary of the discovery of his tomb is being marked with a 21st century virtual display) to Rodin and Matisse, to jewellery, silver and furniture from across the ages this fabulous fair is a place for curators, collectors, the curious and those who want to learn.

     Irish oval mirror in a carved giltwood leaf frame at Rory Rogers Ltd.

    BARBARA KRUGER AT DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK

    July 2nd, 2022
    BARBARA KRUGER – Installation view, David Zwirner, New York, Courtesy David Zwirner.

    The artist Barbara Kruger powerfully engages directly with viewers through her distinctive visual language. Kruger utilises images, text, and technology as tools of communication to reveal and question established power structures and social constructs. An exhibition of recent works runs at David Zwirner, New York until August 12. It features nine large-scale video works and installations, as well as sound installations and vinyl wallpaper, that not only reaffirm the cultural prominence of Kruger’s iconic visual language but also reveal the radical inventiveness and lasting relevance of her incisive work with pictures and words.

    ‘Untitled (Our people are better than your people)’ – first shown as part of the ‘World Morality’ show at Kunsthalle Basel – uses language to thematise the powerful influence exercised upon human identity by the media and politics.

    IRISH SILVER EPERGNE MAKES €60,480 AT CHRISTIE’S IN PARIS

    July 1st, 2022
    IRISH GEORGE II SILVER FOUR-BRANCH EPERGNE, MARK OF ROBERT CALDERWOOD, DUBLIN, CIRCA 1750

    This Georgian Irish silver epergne sold for €60,480 at Christie’s in Paris. It was once in the Cork collection of the Newenham family. Brigadier General Henry Edward Berkeley Newenham (1866-1934) was the son of William Henry Newenham, of Maryborough Park, co. Cork, a branch of the Newenhams of Coolmore. He was educated at Haileybury and served in the Royal Fusiliers, fighting in the Boer War and the First World War. He commanded the first landing of men at Galliopoli where he was wounded, losing a leg. In retirement he served as mayor of Lymington, Hampshire. His sale in 1902 was formed from a collection of Irish and English silver. The family house Maryborough Park was sold by his father in 1889 and is now a hotel.

    It was of the sale of the collection “Le Grand Style: An apartment on the Quai d’Orsay designed by Alberto Pinto” .

    MARVELLOUS MASTERPIECE NOW UNDERWAY IN LONDON

    June 30th, 2022
    Important Irish George II mahogany silver table at Rory Rogers Ltd. priced at £115,000

    Sales were brisk at the preview day at Masterpiece, the UK’s leading art fair which opens to the public today and runs until July 6.  The fair, which is normally a fixture on the summer calendar in London, is on again after three years and most people seem delighted to be back. Visitors can view and buy the finest works of art, design, furniture, and jewellery – from antiquity to the present day – secure in the knowlege that everything on display has been vetted.

    This is a slightly slimmed down and possibly less international than usual version, with 127 stands as opposed to 150 in 2019.  There are various reasons for this, TEFAF Maastricht – normally on in March –  is ending today adding to a  busy time of year in the international season.  Brexit has added layers of bureaucracy to the work of most dealers. The London market, post Covid and post Brexit, is coming from behind.  London remains a major global location but there is a sense about the fair that feels more local this year.

    Masterpiece is a marvellous fair. Sandwiched between a 60 million year old Triceratops dinosaur skull, two Ferrari’s and luxury boats you will find antiquities, Old Masters, contemporary art, jewellery, a  three volume first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma inscribed by the author to her friend Anna Sharpe (£375,000 at Peter Harrington), jewellery, silver and design of a very high order. Expect a degree of security, no heavier than usual, but on alert after the jewellery heist at Maastricht earlier in the week.

    ARMED JEWELLERY ROBBERY AT TEFAF MAASTRICHT

    June 29th, 2022

    THERE were dramatic scenes at TEFAF in Maastricht as four men with a sledgehammer broke into a jewellery display and escaped with an unknown quantity of jewellery. No one was hurt but the fair was closed for an hour in consequence. At least one of the raiders is thought to have been armed with a gun. It was one blot on an otherwise unblemished TEFAF fair, which had reported strong sales. TEFAF is normally held in March but was postponed for three months as lockdowns gradually ended. The theft occurred at the stand of upscale London luxury jewellers Symbolic and Chase of Old Bond St. TEFAF runs until June 30.

    Here is a video of the robbery:

    SYMBOLIC AND CHASE

    A €360,000 LACQUERED SCREEN AT ADAMS ASIAN SALE

    June 29th, 2022
    LÊ QU?C L?C (VIETNAM, 1918-1987) – A Mekong river landscape with a village

    Described as rare and important this six fold Mekong river scene by Le Quoc Loc made a hammer price of €360,000 at the James Adam sale of Asian art in Dublin today. This screen is typical of the artist’s work, in the sense that the predominant tones are red and dark brown combined with gilt. It depicts a bird’s eye-view animated landscape, as seen from the top of a hill, crossed by Mekong river arms. The in-depth perspective is created by a succession of grounds. In the first two the artist used a gilt lacquer to depict trees, including palm trees. In the middle on the left, is a traditional thatched houses hamlet. Then come Mekong river arms. The composition may roughly be described as being divided into two parts by a diagonal going from the upper left corner to the lower right corner – thereby creating two triangular shapes – and playing with empty and full. The estimate for the screen was €200,000-€400,000.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for June 25,2022)

    A £10 MILLION GIFT FOR UKRAINE AT CHRISTIE’S SALE

    June 28th, 2022
    Jeff Koons, Balloon Monkey (Magenta) (2006-13, Price Realised: £10,136,500)
     

    Jeff Koons’ seminal sculpture Balloon Monkey (Magenta) (2006-13) sold for £10,136,500 at Christie’s today, raising vital funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Presented for sale by Victor and Olena Pinchuk, proceeds from the sale will be used to assist soldiers and civilians gravely wounded by war who urgently require prosthetics, medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover as much quality of life as possible.

    Representing childhood innocence and joy for both children and adults alike, Balloon Monkey (Magenta) stands as a monumental symbol of hope and solidarity with those men, women and children living in war-torn Ukraine who have suffered terrible loss.