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  • Archive for May, 2021

    LIBRARY OF BRITISH LITERATURE EMERGES AFTER DECADES

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

    The most important Brontë material to come to light in a generation and two of the greatest Scottish manuscripts in private hands are to come under the hammer at Sotheby’s. Thought lost for almost a century the Honresfield Library was assembled with passion by self-made Victorian industrialists Alfred and William Law at the turn of the 20th century and has since been maintained with care by generations of the Law family. A unique treasury replete with cornerstones of British culture, its re-emergence after almost 100 years in obscurity marks a defining moment for bibliophiles in what is set to be the one of the great library sales of recent years.

    Emily and Anne Brontë autograph manuscripts

    Among the library’s holdings is the most important material by the Brontë sisters to come to light in a generation – unrivalled in importance by any other private collection. The rare pieces open a window onto the short but amazing lives of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and even Branwell Brontë.

    Treasures include an extremely rare handwritten copy of Emily’s poems, with revisions from Charlotte (£800,000-1,200,000) and the well-loved Brontë family copy of Bewick’s History of British Birds, the book made famous in the opening pages of Jane Eyre (£30,000-50,000), brimming with entertaining annotations from their father Patrick. Little-seen letters to and from fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, Hartley Coleridge (son of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), George Smith, publisher and vital champion of ‘The Bells’ (The Brontës’ secretive pseudonym), and many more, abound.

    Sir Walter Scott autograph manuscript

    Scottish literature is also at the heart of the collection, which includes the most important manuscript by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, in private hands. A compendium of poems, notes and ideas put together by Burns as an unknown twenty-four year old, First Commonplace Book offers a unique insight into the bard’s mind. It was last sold at Sotheby’s in 1879, for £10. The collection includes individual handwritten manuscripts of Burns’s poems and original letters to friends, family, patrons and lovers which build a picture of his colourful life.

    Robert Burns First Commonplace Book

    Romantic writer Sir Walter Scott – the second-most quoted writer in the Oxford English Dictionary after Shakespeare – is also represented, most notably by the complete manuscript for Rob Roy, one of the last remaining manuscripts of a great 19th century novel that is not now in an institution. There are Jane Austen first editions, including EmmaNorthanger AbbeyPersuasionPride and Prejudice, a copy of Don Quixote printed in 1620 for Edward Blounte, the publisher for the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, and an annotated copy of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poems with pages showing author’s changes from proof printing in his hand. Homer, Ovid, the Grimm Brothers, Montaigne, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft are among those making an appearance.More than 500 historic manuscripts, exceptional first editions, intimate letters and beautiful bindings will be offered across three auctions at Sotheby’s. The first auctions open for bidding from July 2-13 next. Exhibitions of highlights are to take place in London, Edinburgh and New York.

    IRISH ART ONLINE AT MORGAN O’DRISCOLL SALE

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

    A total of 443 lots will come under the hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of affordable Irish art on May 31. Among them is Black Brolly, Blue Brolly by Simeon Stafford. Lot 31 is estimated at €1,000-€1,500.

    SIMEON STAFFORD – BLACK BROLLY, BLUE BROLLY. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,100 AT HAMMER

    ASIAN ART APPOINTMENT AT JAMES ADAM IN DUBLIN

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

    Thibault Duval has been appointed head of the newly formed Asian Art department at James Adam in Dublin. Educated in Paris at Ecole du Louvre he is a member of the Société des Amis du Musée Guimet, Paris and of the London Oriental Ceramic Society. M. Duval holds a BA in Law from the Sorbonne and has trained at leading museums and auction houses. He launched an Asian art department at a North American auction house, returning to Paris in 2013. Latterly he has been head of the Asian Art department at Drouot in Paris. He has travelled extensively in Asia and practices Chinese calligraphy. There will be an Asian art sale with 500 lots at Adams on June 29.

    SALE DEDICATED ENTIRELY TO WOMEN ARTISTS AT SOTHEBY’S

    Monday, May 24th, 2021
    UNTITLED BY HELEN FRANKENTHALER (1928-2011). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £176,400

    THIS work by the American Abstract Expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler features at Sotheby’s online sale of Women Artists which runs until May 27. The artist was a major contributed to American painting in the post war years. It is estimated at £90,000-£120,000. The sale, dedicated to female artists across the centuries, spans 400 years. Among the artists represented, many of whom have been marginalised over time, are Lavinia Fontana, Rachel Ruysch, Dame Laura Knight, Berthe Morisot, Dorothea Tanning, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Cindy Sherman, Dame Magdalene Odundo and Helen Frankenthaler.

    ONLINE IRISH ART AUCTION BY MORGAN O’DRISCOLL

    Monday, May 24th, 2021

    The Old Mill by Norah McGuinness (1901-1980) comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online Irish art sale which ends this evening. It is estimated at 2,500-3,500. The sale has aroused considerable interest and large numbers have already placed bids. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,000 AT HAMMER

    JEWELLERY AND WATCHES AT JAMES ADAM, DUBLIN

    Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

    THIS c1960 gem set and diamond bracelet by Boucheron comes up as Lot 58 at the timed online Fine Jewellery and Watches sale at James Adam in Dublin. The auction will begin to close at 5 pm on Tuesday May 25. The bracelet illustrated here is composed of fluted foliate links, highlighted with circular cabochon sapphires, emeralds and rubies, each accented by a trio of brilliant-cut diamonds, with rope twist detailing and mounted in 18 carat gold. It is estimated at 5,000-6,000. UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER

    MULDOON AND THE RATTLESNAKE BY YEATS AT WHYTE’S

    Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

    THIS painting by Jack B  Yeats with the intriguing title Muldoon and Rattlesnake, Drumcliffe Strand, Co. Sligo, 1928 comes up at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on May 31. Drumcliffe farmer Mike Muldoon was a famous amateur jockey and athlete in Sligo in the late 19th century. His successes at the strand races caught the imagination of many local people and the artist.  He and his horse Rattlesnake were the subject of two other works by Yeats and his prowess as an athlete inspired an 1899 watercolour titled In the Foot Race there are many to Compete now in the collection of Ireland’s National Gallery.  The races on the strand were a favourite theme of many early works by Yeats and Hilary Pyle speculates that Muldoon may have been the inspiration for one of the jockeys in Before the Start at the National Gallery.  Memories of the strand races, the crowds and the excitement obviously resonated deeply with Yeats as this painting was made at least 30 years after he had seen Muldoon in action. It is estimated at €100,000-€150,000. UPDATE: THIS MADE 160,000 AT HAMMER

    SALES AT MATTHEWS GET UNDERWAY TODAY

    Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

    Something about house contents auctions brings on the urge to rummage. Drawn from no less than four house clearances the catalogue for Matthews auctions in Kells, Co. Meath on May 22 and 23 offers plenty of scope for rummaging among everything from an antique dinner gong to gilded mirrors, garden fountains, silver mounted mirrors and brushes, an Edwardian cake stand, boxes of books, porcelain and antique furniture. The past year has demonstrated that much of what we do in real time can be done virtually and an online rummage through a catalogue with 1,000 lots might prove fruitful. Matthews will follow this sale with an auction of gold, silver, jewellery and collectibles on the evening of May 25.

    Carved tribal face UPDATE: THIS MADE 20 AT HAMMER

    RARE IRISH £100 NOTE AT LONDON AUCTION

    Thursday, May 20th, 2021

    A rare Irish £100 note from 1928 comes up at Dix Noonan Webb in London on May 27. Among a strong selection of Irish notes in the auction of British, Irish and World banknotes is this £100 note from the Irish Free State, dated 10 September 1928 and estimated at £12,000-16,000. A £50 note from the same date carries an estimate of £8,000-10,000. (Update – the £100 note sold for £14,880, the £50 note went for £9,920).

    Andrew Pattison, Head of Department at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “These two notes are some of the first issued by the independent Ireland in 1928, and are also the first to feature the iconic image of Lady Lavery leaning on harp.  There are now thought to be less than ten of each of these denominations still in existence from this early date.” 

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £14,880 TO A COLLECTOR IN IRELAND

    HISTORIC SIDE CHAIR SELLS FOR €10,000

    Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

    THIS gilt side chair by John Trotter made a hammer price of €10,000 at Fonsie Mealy’s Killoughter House sale today. The chair was part of a set supplied to Leinster House in 1759 and was moved to Carton House in 1815. Originally from Berwickshire, John Trotter was cabinet maker to George II. His firm at Frith St. in Soho, London is recorded in directories and the Royal Accounts.

    UPDATE: The sale realised just under 500,000 on the hammer. The top lot was Travellers on a Woodland Path by James Arthur O’Connor which made 12,000. Caernarfon Bay by Kyffin Williams and Wooded Landscape by Gerrit van Hees each sold for 9,500. An Irish Georgian silver bullet teapot made 9,000 and a large Louis Vuitton travelling wardrobe trunk made 6,400.