Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for November, 2010


    Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

    This rare pink diamond sold for 33.7 million euro at Sotheby's in Geneva. (click on image to enlarge)

    A rare pink diamond broke auction records when it made 33.7 million euro at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 16.  The buyer was London diamond dealer Laurence Graff.

    Sotheby’s had said in advance that the market for coloured diamonds is extremely strong.  They are the most sought after gemstones in the world’s auction rooms today.

    This one is an exceptionally rare 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond of the purest hue.  It had been purchased directly from Mr. Harry Winston 60 years ago and has not been on the open market since.

    Sotheby’s had estimated the stone at $27-38 million Swiss Francs or about 20-25 million euro.  Demand for rare gems as wealth that is portable has pushed up prices.

    See post on for October 4

    George Stubbs’s portrait of Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog

    Friday, November 12th, 2010

    George Stubbs’s portrait of Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog

    George Stubbs Portrait of a white dog, the property of Lord Gormanston and later owned by Lord Beaverbrook. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE £361,250

    is a feature lot at Sotheby’s Old Master & British Paintings sale in London on December 8.  The painting was commissioned in 1781 by the 11th Viscount Gormanston of Gormanston Castle, County Meath, one of only two Irish patrons of the artist. Gormanston Castle was the seat of the Preston family – bearers of one of the oldest titles in both Britain and Ireland– until around 1950.

    Stubbs remains arguably the world’s greatest animal portrait painter. His paintings of dogs in particular demonstrate his exceptional ability to portray an owner’s treasured animals, and such portraits rarely appear on the open market. The painting, which was purchased by the 1st Lord Beaverbrook in 1951, is estimated at £300,000-£400,000.
    Sotheby’s will offer important old master paintings, modern British art and other works from the collection of 20th-century press baron and business tycoon Lord Beaverbrook in a series of auctions in both London and New York through January 2011.
    UPDATE:  The Stubbs’ portrait of Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog made a hammer price with buyer’s premium of £361,250. There was a new world record for Stubbs at this sale when his Brood Mares and Foal sold for £10,121,250. This was more than three times the previous record for a Stubbs. The Old Master and British Paintings sale brought in £23,577,600.


    Friday, November 12th, 2010

    Emperor Qianlong’s (1711-1799)  seal made £2,708,000 at Bonhams in London on November 11.  It was sold to a Chinese buyer from Beijing after competitive bidding from three people in the room. The perfect four centimetre square jade seal bearing the inscription `Zi Qiang Bu Xi’, (‘Self-Strengthening Never Ceases’) is closely linked to the Emperor’s 80th birthday celebration which coincided with the 55th year of his reign.

    Meantime a bidding war by Asian buyers resulted in a Qianlong vase (on right) making a record £51.6 million pounds at west London auction rooms Bainbridges on November 11.  It was discovered in an attic during a routine house clearance in the London suburb of Pinner.  The vase was estimated at £800,000-£1.2 million.

    Fabergé Work Box Leads Christie’s Russian Sale

    Thursday, November 11th, 2010

    A Fabergé work box is the highlight of the Christie’s Russian works of art sale on November 29, 2010.  The jewelled enamelled Imperial presentation snuff-box with the workmaster’s mark of Henrik Wigström was presented to the Turkish diplomat, Turkhan Pasha in December 1913 on behalf of Emperor Nicholas II.

    This was probably to commemorate the end of his five year ambassadorship in St. Petersburg. In 1919 the snuff-box changed hands for the last time, when it was acquired by the family of the present owner. It is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Almost 500 lots of Russian Art, including fine paintings, works of art and unique pieces of neo-Russian furniture  will be included.

    UPDATE:  IT sold for £937,250 in a sale that realised £14.9 million.


    Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

    Sotheby’s November 9 evening sale of Contemporary Art in New York totaled $222,454,500, well ahead of the high estimate of $214 million. There were five new artist records. Highlights were Coca-Cola [4] Large Coca-Cola by Andy Warhol, which made $35,362,500 (estimate $20/25 million), and Mark Rothko’s Untitled from 1955, which made $22,482,500. Six works sold for more than $10 million and almost half the works sold achieved prices in excess of the high estimate. This was a very strong result for the market.


    Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

    Horace Hone's miniature of Mrs. Siddons

    A portrait miniature by the Irish artist Horace Hone of Sarah Siddons the best known tragedienne of the 18th century will be offered by Bonhams in the Fine Portrait Miniature sale taking place in Knightsbridge on November 24. The portrait miniature by Horace Hone (1756-1825) was painted at the height of her career on Drury Lane. A member of the famous Dublin family of artists Horace Hone received his early training from his father Nathaniel Hone the Elder.

    According to Bonhams this miniature can be compared with another portrait by Hone of the previous year now in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. Painted during Siddons’ second visit to Dublin, it is one of the earliest known portraits of the tragic actress and one of the most recognisable, having subsequently been engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi. The Mrs. Siddons portrait is estimated to make £6,000 – 8,000.

    UPDATE:  It sold for £12,600.


    Monday, November 8th, 2010

    ONE of the finest postage stamp collections to appear on the market in the last quarter of a century comes up at Sotheby’s in London over three days from November 24-26.

    The sale of the Great Britain Philatelic Collections of Lady Mairi Bury will afford serious collectors the opportunity to acquire sought-after stamps from a renowned collection. Associated throughout her life with Mount Stewart, her ancestral home in Country Down, Northern Ireland, she was the doyenne of female collectors in the Royal Philatelic Society. Lady Mairi Bury died in 2009 aged 88. Comprising 2185 lots, the auction is estimated to bring in excess of £2.6 million.

    UPDATE: THE sale brought in £3,045,924. The top lot was ‘The Balance of Lady Mairi’s collection of King Edward VII’ stamps, mounted on 91 pages to the highest exhibition standard and housed in two exhibition boxes. Comprising an exceptional comprehensive collection arranged by order of value from ½d. to £1, this lot more than tripled the pre-sale low estimate to sell for £66,000. An exceptional unused 1840 Two Pence Blue, Plate 1, sold for £43,200.  A complete sheet of 120 2d. blue stamps, unique in this configuration made £30,000. The Penny Black which achieved the highest price was an Imprimatur from the Second Registration Sheet, known as the ‘VR’ Official Penny Black; it made £36,000. This stamp was prepared for Official use in April 1840 but remained unissued. A Plate 1 Two Shillings Brown, the very finest of the few known pairs, and exceptionally rare, brought £36,000.


    Saturday, November 6th, 2010

    A work by Mark O'Neill from the Treasures Irish Art stand at the Limerick Fair.

    The Limerick Antique Fair takes place at the South Court Hotel on Sunday November 14.  There will be over 60 quality stands with dealers
    from around the country. The largest fair organised by Hibernian Antique Fairs is taking place in a very definite buyers market, with depressed prices at levels
    undreamt of a few years ago.
    Hibernian has been running fairs in almost every county in Ireland for the past 21 years.  The Limerick fair, which takes place on home turf,
    is their most popular annual event.
    Furniture dealers present will include Greenes Antiques Galleries from
    Co. Leitrim, Hector Thompson, Belfast, Tom Linehan, Cork, Roberta
    Cobb, Belfast, Norman Alison of Co. Wicklow, Christine Deene from Co.
    Down and Kerry Mulally from Co. Kilkenny.
    Among the jewellery and silver dealers are Janet Greeves of Belfast,
    Marie Curran, Dublin, Sandra Hogan, Cork, Ignatius Buckley, Cork,
    Chris and Karen Southgate, Cork, Patricia Doyle, Dublin. John
    O’Reilly, Dublin and David Jones from the UK.
    China and porcelain dealers include Kevin McCreesh of Antrim, John
    Vanweensveer of Co. Mayo, Kat Connaire of Co. Tipperary, Anne Hawkins,
    Dublin, Jan Mannerings of Co. Offaly, Sharon O’Keeffe of Co. Cork and
    Joe Sheehan of Limerick.
    Art dealers are Treasures Irish Art, Athlone, Gallery Zozimus, Dublin
    and Paul McGonigle Walsh, Cork.  Coins and banknote dealers are form
    Clare, Kerry, Laois and Cork. Michael Kinnane of Galway will show
    clocks  and book dealers include Gerard Feehan of Cork and the Celtic
    Bookshop, Limerick.
    The fair will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


    Saturday, November 6th, 2010

    An 1867 Fenian flag from the Galtee Mountain area of East Limerick and North Cork is the feature lot at Whytes History, Literature and Collectibles auction in Dublin on Saturday, November 13 at 1 p.m. It is estimated to make 30,000-50,000.

    Commissioned and used by Willie Condon (1840-1908) from Anglesboro near Mitchelstown it was a feature at skirmishes, raids, meetings and demonstrations from the 1860s right through the Land League campaigns of the 1880s.

    The sale (see post for November 3) includes 571 lots of historic and literary manuscripts, documents, rare books, maps, prints, photographs, flags, medals, militaria, sporting and entertainment memorabilia, stamps, coins and banknotes. A collection of Daniel O’Connell memorabilia and documents includes resolutions from 1828, written in his own hand, estimated at 800 to 1,000. A letter from Charles Stewart Parnell urgently trying to charter a special train to Castlerea for £25 to prevent a riot at Balla is estimated at 300-500. The auction will be broadcast live around the globe, with audio and video feeds from the auction room, on

    UPDATE:   The flag sold for 52,000.  The handwritten letter from Charles Stewart Parnell made 650 and ten lots relating to Daniel O’Connell sold for various prices from 160 for a book of his life and speeches to 850 for his 1828 handwritten resolutions passed after he was elected to Parliament but could not take his seat because he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy.


    Thursday, November 4th, 2010

    Matisse’s monumental bronze sculpture of a woman’s back made $48.8 million at Christie’s in New York on November 3 well above its $35 million high estimate.  This was a new record for the artist.

    It was bought by dealer Larry Gagosian for a client he did not name.

    The sale, strongest for quality items, brought $231.4 million against an estimate of $199 million to $287 million. Of the 84 works on offer, 67 sold.

    A 1913 Cublist painting by Juan Gris, “Violin and Guitar.” made $28.6 million, a record auction price.

    See posts on for October 5 and November 1.