Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for May, 2021


    Sunday, May 9th, 2021

    Imagine a material that is strong and non-toxic, highly versatile, that improves with age and is easy to recycle and that grows from the ground. Wood is all of these things so it is no surprise to find that a piece of antique furniture has a carbon footprint that is 16 times lower than something newly manufactured. A chair or a table built in 1760 or 1830 or 1900 has already provided long years of service.  It might be in need of restoration but it can be made beautiful again and carry on for many years to come.   If your aim is to reduce, re-use, re-cycle or re-purpose the auction room is filled with objects that can readily achieve all these essential goals. Without the dreadful necessity of trawling through hard to read labels in an attempt to find out what is eligible for the recycle bin.

    Regency mahogany teapoy at Woodwards

    There is a very wide selection of restored and unrestored pieces on offer online in Ireland right now.  The auction calendar for the coming week is particularly busy.  Hegarty’s in Bandon is on today; in Galway Dolan’s timed sale of art and antiques runs until Monday;  on Tuesday James Adam will conduct a Mid Century Modern sale in Dublin and Gormley’s will offer Irish art online from Belfast;  next Saturday there is a sale by Woodwards  in Cork next and Sean Eacrett will conduct an appetising house contents auction in Ballybrittas, Co. Laois.  Over next weekend there will be two day online sales of contents from a Killarney residence at O’Donovan’s, Newcastlewest and of contents from Dublin nightclubs by Victor Mee. So you can choose to buy anything from the Brunswick bar that used to adorn Dublin’s Cafe-en-Seine on Dawson St. and an historic Augsburg silver chalice to a Georgian inlaid serving table at Hegartys to a pair of Georgian brass bound plate buckets at Sean Eacrett.

    The Earl of Cork from an album of railway photographs at Dolans

    Or how about the Earl of Cork?   That is the steam locomotive built in 1903. An image of this engine is one of a collection of about 70 railway photographs in an album coming up at Dolan’s timed online sale. This sale of 360 lots includes everything from a bronze bull sculpture by John Behan to paintings by John Shinnors, Sean Keating, Arthur Maderson, Kenneth Webb, Jack Donovan and Susan Cronin. At Adams the focus is on 20th century design and contemporary art.  That means artists like Mark Francis, Stephen McKenna, William McKeown, Mark Garry and Dorothy Cross, Italian and Danish design furniture and some highly collectible accessories such as a 1950 triennale floor lamp by Angelo Lelli. On offer at Woodwards is a set of Cork 11 bar chairs, a Regency teapoy, a Georgian walnut cellarette, a cylinder front desk, a Louis XV style bonheur du jour, a Georgian secretaire and a Georgian walnut bureau.  All have provided years of service and will continue to do so in the future.

    Triennale floor lamp by Angelo Lelli at James Adam


    Saturday, May 8th, 2021

    A letter from Kevin Barry to Kathleen Carney just hours before he was executed is the most expensively estimated lot at Whyte’s annual Eclectic Collector sale next weekend. There are historical artefacts, manuscripts, books, maps, militaria, coins, banknotes, tribal objects and rare whiskies on offer. The auction kicks off with a Bronze Age sword found in Co. Fermanagh 70 years ago and estimated at €4,500-€5,500. At around 3000 years old it is the oldest object on offer. A copy of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 signed by many of the negotiators (€5,000-€7,000) is in sharp contrast in terms of age. The letter Kevin Barry wrote to his friend Kathleen Carney, who would have been about 20 at the time, is estimated at €60.000-€80,000.  In the hours leading up to his hanging the 18 year old medical student mentions visits from two Sisters of Charity, the chaplain Fr. Albert, two Bon Secours Sisters  and finishes … “say a little prayer for me when I cash in, your pal, Kevin”.  Because Kevin Barry died at such a young age his signature is much prized by collectors. The sale includes four of his schoolbooks, including his French book signed K. Barry, Loyalist.A  collection of memorabilia relating to Count John McCormack and his family, including his portable altar and Papal Count uniforms, will arouse much interest. This is a timed online sale with the first session starting at noon on May and the second getting underway at noon on May 16. The online catalogue lists 655 lots.


    Saturday, May 8th, 2021

    Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of a Bear will highlight the Exceptional Sale Christie’s in London on July 8.  This penetrating study of a bear’s head is one of less than eight surviving drawings by Leonardo in private hands outside the British Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth. Measuring 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches (7 x 7 cm) it is executed in silverpoint on a pale pink-beige prepared paper, a technique which Leonardo was taught by his master Andrea del Verrocchio. The drawing will be on public exhibition at Christie’s in Rockefeller Centre in New York from May 8 and at Christie’s Hong Kong from May 20 – 25. It will be on view in London June from 1 – 6. It is expected to sell for £8,000,000-12,000,000.

    The drawing’s distinguished history can be traced back to Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), the renowned British painter whose collection of old master drawings is considered among the greatest ever assembled. After Lawrence’s death in 1830, the drawing passed to his dealer (and major creditor) Samuel Woodburn, who sold it at Christie’s in 1860 for £2.50. In the first half of the twentieth century, the drawing was in the collection of another great British collector, Captain Norman Robert Colville, who also owned Head of a Muse by Raphael which sold for £29,161,250 at Christie’s in 2009.

    Since its first public exhibition in 1937, it has also been shown at museums around the world including the London National Gallery’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in 2011-12, Louvre Abu Dhabi; Moscow, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum in 2018*.

    The medium connects this sheet to three similar small-scale studies of animals, a study of two cats and a dog in the British Museum, its companion double-sided sheet with studies of a dog’s paws in the National Galleries of Scotland, and a study of a walking bear in the Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The studies can all be dated to the first half of the 1480’s.

    The face of the bear is very close to the ermine in Leonardo’s portrait of Cecilia Gallerani or Lady with an Ermine now in the Krakow Museum.

    Leonardo da Vinci,1452-1519, Head of a Bear


    Friday, May 7th, 2021

    Aria 2 by Mark Francis is lot 5 at the James Adam Mid Century Modern sale online on May 11. The oil on acrylic on canvas laid on board is estimated at €6,000-8,000. The sale of 164 lots offers a collection of furniture, art, paintings and collectibles.


    Thursday, May 6th, 2021

    Here is a video on Killoughter House, Ashford, Co. Wicklow. Fonsie Mealy will conduct an online auction of contents from the house on May 18. The website allows a client to register, view and bid through the company’s own platform.


    Thursday, May 6th, 2021

    This Man of Aran is a self portrait by the artist Sean Keating (1889-1978). The stained glass artist Harry Clarke introduced Sean Keating to the Aran Islands in 1912. They had met at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art the previous year and became firm friends. In the years leading up to Ireland’s Treaty of Independence the Aran Islands became the place of Keating’s artistic and political identity. As early as 1915 Keating began to portray himself on the islands, wearing typical island clothing. This charcoal drawing is a study for a painting, possibly I Fein (Me Myself) exhibited at the RHA in 1924. It comes up as Lot 98 at Dolan’s timed online auction of 360 lots of art and antiques with an estimate of 9,000-12,000. The auction runs to the evening of May 10.


    Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

    This large 19th century French gilt console table at Fonsie Mealy’s Killoughter House online sale on May 18 has a distinctive provenance. The triple breakfront table, measuring 102 inches wide and with white veined marble top, came from the Sir Alfred Chester Beatty estate sale at Clonmannon House near Rathnew in Co. Wicklow in 1968. That sale was conducted by James Adam, Dublin. This time around the table is lot 382 and is estimated at €4,000-€6,000.


    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

    In the Scorsese film The Irishman hitman Frank Sheehan, played by Robert de Niro, says he “paints houses”. This is Mafia slang for killing people. The phrase was also used by the IRA in Ireland’s War of Independence. One of their favourite weapons was a Mauser pistol nicknamed “Peter the Painter”. A fine example of this deadly weapon, now deactivated, comes up at Whyte’s timed online Eclectic Collector sale on May 15 and 16. Bidding is now open. The Mauser at Whyte’s has a history of ownership going back to an IRA Volunteer in Co. Kildare. Lot 168 is estimated at €4,000-€6,000.

    This annual sale, which attracts collectors from around the world, offers a mix of historical artefacts, manuscripts, books, maps, militaria, coins, banknotes, tribal objects and even rare whiskies.

    A Mauser pistol at Whyte’s


    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

    This Queen Anne style walnut chest on stand comes up at Hegarty’s sale in Bandon on May 9. It is estimated at €1,700-2,000. The online auction features a selection of antique furniture, jewellery, ceramics, garden furniture including cast iron seats and planters, a c1760 Irish silver salver by James Warren and a variety of collectible items including an August 1920 handwritten letter to Pauline Henley from a sister of Terence McSwiney who was by then on hunger strike in Brixton Prison.


    Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

    Here is a video on Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park No. 40 from 1971. From the collection of Anne Marion it comes up at Sotheby’s in New York this month.