Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for April, 2020


    Thursday, April 30th, 2020

    The fifth largest piece of the moon known on earth – larger than any returned by the Apollo Programme – is on offer for private sale at Christie’s. Found in the Sahara Desert two years ago NWA 12691 is valued in the region of £2 million. Weighing over 13.5 kg the specimen is available for immediate purchase via Christie’s Private Sales.

    Lunar meteorites arrived on Earth after having been blasted off the lunar surface by the collision with an asteroid or comet. All of the Moon’s large craters were created by such  impacts. This particular meteorite was part of a large meteorite shower straddling the Western Saharan, Algerian and Mauritanian borders, responsible for nearly half of all known lunar meteorites. Approximately 30 different meteorites were  collected, analysed, classified and assigned different NWA numbers in the belief they might be from different events and represent different lunar samples; but it has been determined that they all originate from the same lunar impact.

    Christie’s will also offer for private sale a group of 13 aesthetic iron meteorites. Shaped by forces terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, this group of natural sculptures forms one of the most important collections of aesthetic iron meteorites in private hands. The collection, estimated in the region of £1.4 million, is available now.

    NWA 12691 — The Fifth Largest Piece Of The Moon On Earth, Lunar Feldspathic Breccia, 13.535kg, Sahara Desert, Western Sahara


    Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

    THIS c1774 map of Kinsale Harbour is among the lots at Hegarty’s of Bandon timed online auction on April 30. The framed chart is by Capt. Grenville Collins and sculpted by J. Harris. The estimate is 100-200. There are 165 lots in this online sale at The Saleroom which runs to 6 p.m. on the day. UPDATE: THE CHART SOLD FOR 360 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

    An Irish bible from 1690 comes up at an online sale of English literature, Children’s Books and illustrations running at Sotheby’s London from May 5-12. The pocket edition was published at the expense of the Hon. Robert Boyle and others in Roman letter expressly for the use of the Gaelic-speaking Highlanders of Scotland. The transliteration from Irish letter was made by Robert Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle and author of the metrical Psalter in Gaelic of 1684. It is estimated at £1,000-1,500.


    Monday, April 27th, 2020

    Sotheby’s and Google are coming together virtually to raise much-needed funds for the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) work to help mitigate and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities. An online auction of unique experiences to be enjoyed virtually via Google Meet video calls will run from May 1-8. From intimate conversations and ‘virtual’ drinks to lessons and tutorials all will be offered without reserve. The list of experiences continues to grow, but already includes commitments from leading names in music, film, public affairs, art and design and science.

    There is a chance to record a song with Sting, coffee with Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Shakespearian acting lesson from Sir Patrick Stewart, a conversation with actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, coffee or tea with Madeleine Albright, a conversation about music will all five members of The Strokes, a virtual art work creation with Marc Quinn, a virtual visit to Highclere Castle with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes and actors Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern and a conversation with David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary and current President of the IRC.

    From distributing meals in New York City to translating public health guidance into numerous languages for refugee and migrant communities across Europe, the IRC response is built on years of experience in supporting people affected by conflict, crisis, and disaster in over 40 countries around the globe. Learn more at 


    Monday, April 27th, 2020

    Hegarty’s, the Bandon auctioneers, had a large March auction in the pipeline when Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. They reduced the catalogue and held their first live online only sale instead. Bidders logged in from all over Ireland, the UK, across Europe and from as far away as Australia and the USA on the night.  Working from home with built up catalogued stock they have since put together a small timed online auction of 159 lots of furniture, art, jewellery and collectibles, with free storage available on all items. The auction is now live on The Saleroom and it runs until April 30.

    A marble topped console table at Hegarty’s sale (1,000-1,200). UPDATE: THIS MADE 950 AT HAMMER


    Monday, April 27th, 2020

    THIS Tiffany design table lamp, around 18 and a half inches tall, is among the lots at the online sale by Purcell Auctioneers of Birr, Co. Offaly on April 29. It is estimated at 100-180. There are 412 lots in this single owner collection sale of militaria, jewellery, collectibles, porcelain, silver, advertising and musical instruments. The sale is online at Easy Live auctions.



    Sunday, April 26th, 2020

    Chatsworth House, in the United Kingdom, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It is is renowned for the quality of its art, landscape and hospitality. The Devonshire Collection represents a grand tradition of collecting spanning half a millennium, and is widely celebrated as one of the most significant collections of art and objects in Europe. This video on Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of Leda and the Swan from the Sotheby’s archive relates to an exhibition at Chatsworth last year. Enjoy.


    Saturday, April 25th, 2020

    Is the future of the art and antiques market forever changed or is this just a temporary blip?   The answer probably lies somewhere between each of these positions. When the pandemic lockdown was implemented it appeared everything would revert once it was lifted.  Now it is apparent that this is not so.  Covid-19 has not gone away. We will have to live with sensible precautions like social distancing for some time, even as the restrictions are eased.The auction houses of Ireland and everywhere else are in uncharted waters.  Social distancing is not possible at busy viewings as we knew them, nor in crowded auction rooms. New ways to keep the business afloat must be found. Technology is an obvious answer but it is not for everyone or everything.  Early indications from online sales around the world are that millennials are happier to buy online than the older billionaires who populate the  global contemporary art market.  Whether auction houses are prepared to sell big ticket items online is as yet far from clear.  The number of private sales has been growing in latter years.

    Christie’s and Phillips have consolidated their Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art sales into one 20th century week in New York – to include the London sales – scheduled at this stage for the end of June. Sotheby’s has yet to announce what  is to become of its contemporary marquee sale scheduled for May 13 in New York.  This sale was to be anchored by Francis Bacon’s Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus with an estimate of at least $60 million. Sotheby’s has announced that the week long Spring Hong Kong series will now take place from July 5-11 in Hong Kong.  The auctions cover Chinese ceramics and paintings, modern and contemporary art, jewellery, watches and wine.

    Meantime the full online sales programme by the biggest auction houses is drawing enthusiastic participation from collectors. These sales have been expanded significantly across numerous categories.

    Nude, a lithograph by Henri Matisse, made €3,800 at hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale this week.


    Friday, April 24th, 2020

    Telephone/iPhone from Then and Now by Irish artist Michael Craig Martin is one of the lots at The Blue Auction, an online sale by Bonhams in aid of NHS Charities Covid-19 urgent appeal. The not for profit online auction runs until April 29 with all profits going to the NHS appeal. Leading actors, musicians, artists and sportspeople have all pledged lots. The catalogue is online.

    UPDATE: THE BLUE Auction raised £405,300

    Telephone/iPhone, from ‘Then and Now’. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3,800


    Friday, April 24th, 2020

    The Leonard McGrath GAA medal collection promises to be one of the top lots at Fonsie Mealy’s online Collectors sale which runs from April 27 until Tuesday, May 5. The collection of the Galway dual star includes All-Ireland, Provincial and related materials. A nine carat gold All-Ireland winners medal Celtic Cross with pierced decoration, central harp and Eire across, inscribed “All Ireland Hurling Championship 1923, won by Galway – Leonard McGrath,” is typical of a collection estimated at 15,000-20,000.

    Born in Queensland, Australia Leonard McGrath returned as a young child to Galway, where he was reared. He qualified as a teacher in 1918 and in 1922 was a member of the Galway Senior Hurling XV, winning a Connaught title. He was subsequently chosen and starred at full forward to win Galway’s first Hurling All Ireland. He showed his versatility in sports by also been chosen to represent his adopted county in football and played on the winning 1925 team, which also was the county’s first title in Football. He became the county’s first dual star, and only player to achieve success in both codes. McGrath is a member of an elite group of only 16 players to achieve this accolade, in the G.A.A.’s long history.

    He also played rugby and was a member of the winning Galwegians team beating U.C.G. 3-0 in the 1926-27 Season. This brought with it a caveat, he was duly expelled from the G.A.A. for playing a ‘Foreign Sport’.

    The sale will include literature, first editions, sporting memorabilia, Republican material, pub memorabilia and a wide variety of lots to interest all collectors.

    The Leonard McGrath medal collection. UPDATE: LOT 304 SOLD FOR A HAMMER PRICE OF 28,500 OVER A TOP ESTIMATE OF 20,000.