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    A signed watercolour by Lin Fengmian will highlight Sheppards sale of Fortlands House, Charleville, Co. Cork – the home of Mary O’Connor – and other clients on May 19 and 20.  Mary O’Connor is well known throughout Ireland as a lady who ran a successful antique business from Fortlands for many years. Lot 572, a watercolour portrait by Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), shows a young girl looking at her hat seated beside a vase of flowers.  The face in this portrait by a pioneering artist known for blending Chinese and western styles recalls the style of Modigliani. While in Germany Lin became interested in the teachings of Schopenhauer, who conceived the notion of philosophical pessimism. Schopenhauer recognised certain similarities in Western and Eastern philosophy and suggested that aesthetic contemplation could be an escape from human suffering. This resonated deeply with Lin whose mother was sold when he was seven years old. He never saw her again.  Back in China he fell foul of the Cultural Revolution and chose to destroy all his paintings to prevent them being used against him.  He was imprisoned for four and a half years.  His paintings are highly valued and very rare.  This one is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.


    The two day sale offers a selection of highly affordable lots from furniture and silver to ceramics and collectibles including swords and shillelaghs.  There is a plentiful selection of jewellery including a diamond line bracelet (€10,000-€15,000) and Chinese and Oriental ceramics and bronzes, an Edwardian vanity set, modern bookshelves and a foxes head brass door knocker (€100-€150).Lot 209 is a 19th century French marquetry writing desk (€800-€1,200) and there is a similar estimate on a circular Regency dining table.  A Victorian mahogany pedestal sideboard is estimated at a mere €300-€500, a Victorian dining table is estimated at €2,500-€3,500 and a Georgian breakfront bookcase at €2,000-€3,000. Given that Sheppards, more than any other Irish auction house, has been successful in selling precious Oriental objects back to collectors in China it seems likely that they will succeed in getting away lot 588 – a Chinese Qing white jade Imperial seal with an estimate of  €80,000-€120,000. Of more local interest is a selection of cast iron garden pieces, staddle stones and benches. There is also some country furniture such as a famine chair, a brass bound noggin, a double fish oil light and a pair of elm benches.  The auction takes place over four online sessions and the final session on Thursday afternoon will be entirely devoted to silver and plate.

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