Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for March, 2020


    Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

    Property from the estate of Doris Day will be sold online by Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on April 4 and 5. Here is a video preview with Martin Nolan from Doris Day’s home in Carmel by the sea. There will be no public exhibition but the sale will be on

    UPDATE: The sale smashed the top estimate of $600,000 and brought in just over $3 million.


    Monday, March 30th, 2020

    A van Gogh painting was stolen in an overnight raid at the Singer Laren museum in Holland. The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” by was taken in the early hours of Monday from the museum which is located about 30 kms from Amsterdam and was closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The institution houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer. The stolen van Gogh was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the northern Dutch city of Groningen.


    Monday, March 30th, 2020

    A private collector in Ireland acquired The Comerford Collection of predominantly Irish Miniatures at Chiswick Auctions in London last week and has offered it for display at a Waterford Museum. The collection of 121 lots achieved a total of £98,000 and attracted strong interest from Irish collectors. It was compiled over forty years by the late John and Pauline Comerford, who descended from the Irish miniaturist John Comerford (c.1770-1832).

    The couple’s love of the art form led them to source works by some of the leading Irish miniaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The entire collection of 121 lots sold, achieving a total of £98,000.

    The collection was studiously added to over many years and demonstrates the evolution of miniature painting in Britain, Ireland and the Continent from the late 16th to the 19th Century. It features the work of some of the greatest exponents of the portrait miniature art form including Christian Friedrich Zincke, Jean Andre Rouquet, Nathaniel Hone, Jeremiah Meyer, Charles Robertson, George Engleheart, Abraham Daniel, William Wood, John Smart and Richard Cosway. It will go to the Waterford Museum House of Treasures and be displayed in the new silver museum. This had been scheduled to open in late May in Waterford and will now open sometime in the autumn. The collection was bought under the guidance of the curator by a private buyer.

    Specialist in charge of the sale Suzanne Zack commented: “We were delighted with the results of this first stand-alone sale of Fine Portrait Miniatures, which included the spectacular Comerford Collection. Good results throughout the sale show that the portrait miniature market is very much alive.”

    Highlights included lot 143, a portrait of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt by Edward Robert Hughes, which sold for £9,375 against a pre-sale estimate of £8,000-12,000. Other high prices were achieved for a fine portrait miniature of a dashing Officer (lot 18), dating from circa 1765/70 by Jeremiah Meyer R.A. (British 1735-1789), which achieved £4,500 and a portrait miniature of an unknown Lady, circa 1790 (lot 36), by Horace Hone A.R.A. (Irish 1754/6-1825), which sold for £4,125.

    The Pre-Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt by Edward Robert Hughes,


    Monday, March 30th, 2020

    Like so many auctioneers de Veres in Dublin postponed their Irish art sale scheduled for April 7. But the catalogue had been published online and the auction house is continuing to receive plenty of inquiries about the works it contains. So they have taken the unusual decision to open the catalogue to offers. These will be relayed to vendors, who will be advised accordingly. No bids below estimate will be considered at this point. And all bids should be made by e-mail to

    UPDATE: The open to offers sale closed with the sale of 60 lots and brought in more than €100,000. The Gerard Dillon below received an offer at the low reserve which was not accepted and it will feature at an auction in the future.

    Lot 79 is The Space Circus by Gerard Dillon (1916-1971) (15,000-20,000)


    Saturday, March 28th, 2020

    The show must go on but not in all circumstances.  At home and abroad many sales are being postponed and rescheduled.  Among the postponements last week was Sotheby’s much vaunted London sale of the Patrick Kelly Collection from 44 Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin. This was a loss and the sense of disappointment was palpable but the auction will no doubt eventually go ahead.The sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam was postponed last week and among the auctions not going ahead in the coming week are sales at Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Mullen’s Collectors Cabinet sale at Laurel Park in Bray and a planned sale of pub memorabilia at Victor Mee’s in Co. Cavan. These auctions are set up and ready to go at a moments notice whenever the all clear is given.  Even where an auction is scheduled to go ahead right now it is advisable to check at the last minute before travelling. All sales at Bonhams are postponed until April 21, there is a revised schedule at Christie’s, Sotheby’s has reduced the schedule, all auctions at James Adam in Dublin are temporarily postponed and Fonsie Mealy is open by appointment only.  Whyte’s offices are closed but business continues behind closed doors and this is the case with many leading auctioneering firms right now.


    Friday, March 27th, 2020

    Salvador Dali’s Rhinocerous dressed in lace from 1981 comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of Irish and International Art on April 14. The signed bronze is number 238 from an edition of 499. Dali’s interest in the rhinoceros stemmed from Durer’s celebrated etching of the animal. Dali claimed a connection between the growth pattern of the rhinoceros’s horn, the pattern sewn in Vermeer’s The Lacemaker and the growth pattern of the sunflower. All of these speculative connections come into play in his sculpture of rhinoceros dressed in lace. It is estimated at 4,000-6,000. The catalogue is online.



    Thursday, March 26th, 2020

    Masterpiece, the leading British antiques fair which was scheduled to take place in London from June 25 until July 1, has been cancelled. A statement issued today said: “We are grateful for the support and hard work of our exhibitors, partners and staff in preparation for this year’s edition of the Fair; however the health of everyone involved in Masterpiece London is our absolute priority during these unprecedented times”.


    Thursday, March 26th, 2020

    Auctioneers Herman and Wilkinson, based in Rathmines in Dublin, will continue with weekly household auctions using their timed online platform.  A fully illustrated catalogue becomes available at 3:00 pm every Wednesday, and bidding commences at that point. Bidding will close at one minute intervals per lot from noon each Thursday. Weekly auction feature entire house contents sold in individual and group lots, including sitting room, dining room and bedroom furnishings, mirrors, works of art, ornaments, collectibles and garden tools. Around 2,000 items in 600 – 800 lots are sold.


    Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

    A profile by Daniel O’Neill sold for a hammer price of 8,500 over a top estimate of 6,000 at Sheppards sale of The O’Mahony Collection in Durrow on March 24. The auction of a diverse range of works from across the globe moved to an online only sale and proved to be highly successful with no shortage of internet bidders. On Tuesday Sheppards repeated the experience of auctioneers Matthews of Oldcastle, Aidan Foley of Doneraile and Hegarty’s of Bandon, all of whom held successful sales over last weekend. All these auctions changed to online only at the eleventh hour.


    Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

    This diamond and sapphire cluster bracelet is Lot 51 at O’Reilly’s March auction of fine jewellery, watches and silver. The Francis St., Dublin auctioneers have changed this a timed only sale and the catalogue is online. It runs from 1 p.m. on March 25 until 1 p.m. on March 27. The bracelet consists of pear shaped sapphires to brilliant cut diamond surrounds and is mounted in 18 carat white gold. The estimated weight of sapphires is 20 carats and diamonds five carats. It is estimated at 8,000-12,000. UPDATE: THE CLOSING HAMMER BID WAS 8,000