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    When Hope and History Rhyme by Rowan Gillespie sold for a record of £161,000

    When Hope and History Rhyme by Rowan Gillespie sold for a record of £161,000

    There was a new world record for sculptor Rowan Gillespie at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London today.  When Hope and History Rhyme, a 2015 bronze, sold for £161,000 over a top estimate of £30,000. The eleven foot tall sculpture is a tribute to Seamus Heaney.  It was bought by a private collector.

    The top lot was Japanese Switzerland by Sir John Lavery which made £509,000, just over the top estimate of £500,000.  It too went to a private collector. The Talkers by Yeats made a within estimate £209,000 and The Trotter by the same artist made £100,000.  Both prices were comfortably within estimate.  In the West of Ireland by Paul Henry made £63,750 and Hastings Railway Station by Walter Osborne sold for £62,500.

    The sale realized over £1.8 million, but 26 of the 71 lots on offer failed to sell, including Orpen’s Nude Girl Reading.

    Grant Ford, Head of Irish Art, Sotheby’s, said: “We had a fantastic response to our exhibitions in Dublin and London, and today we saw strong results, for both established and emerging names. The top lot, Lavery’s beautiful Japanese Switzerland, made over £500,000, an extraordinary price, more than three times what it made in 1996. The Rowan Gillespie sculpture sparked a bidding war, reaching £161,000, a record for the artist at auction. There was great interest in the contemporary artworks, particularly Elizabeth Magill’s Heartland, which doubled pre-sale expectations to achieve an auction record. The appeal of these artists is truly global and we saw bidders not only from the UK and Ireland, but also the US and further afield, with several works purchased by buyers new to Sotheby’s. Today’s results are very encouraging for the Irish Art market and we are now looking forward to our next major Irish sale in 2016.”  The Magill sold for £40,000.

    (See posts on for October 13 and June 23, 2015)

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