Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for March, 2022


    Friday, March 18th, 2022
    George III Irish provincial silver marrow scoop – Thomas John Burke, Limerick, 1784 – 1800. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £573.75

    A rare Limerick silver marrow scoop comes up at Bonhams Home and Interiors sale in London on March 29-30. Made by Thomas Burke it is estimated at £800-£1,000. The sale features a number of items of Irish silver from the Peter Ticher collection which includes a pair of George II Irish cast silver candlesticks by Matthew Walker, Dublin, 1730–1731. Estimates range from £100-£4,000. Highlights include An 18th century Irish silver cream jug with no maker’s mark, only crowned harp and Hibernia, circa 1750 (£500-£600); a collection of Irish silver bright-engraved flatware, varying makers (£400-£600) and eleven Irish provincial silver teaspoons by Carden Terry & Jane Williams, Cork, stamped with maker’s mark CT over IW, and stamped Sterling, circa 1810 (£300-£400).


    Friday, March 18th, 2022
    Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757-1822 Venice) – Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene) marble, 1819-1822. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Antonio Canova’s (1757-1822) Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene) 1819-1822, the Italian titan’s lost masterpiece completed shortly before his death, will be a highlight at Christie’s during Classic Week in London this summer. The sculpture of Mary Magdalene in a state of ecstasy was commissioned by the Prime Minister of the day, Lord Liverpool (1812-1827). Scholars have searched for the work for decades. In November 1819 Thomas Moore, the Irish poet and lyricist, recorded that Canova: “took me to see his last Magdalen, which is divine: she is lying recumbent in all the abandonment of grief; and the expression on her face and the beauty of her figure … are perfection”. The sculpture passed to Lord Liverpool’s brother and after his death it came up at Christie’s in 1852. It was acquired by Lord Ward whose son sold it at a moment of personal tragedy to the carpet manufacturer Sir Herbert Smith. The attribution to Canova seems to have been lost at this stage. It changed hands as a “classical figure” in 1938 and was purchased by Violet van der Elst, a campaigner who was instrumental in bringing about the abolition of the death penalty in England. It was in the garden in her house at Addison Road, Kensington and was sold with the house several times. In 2002 it was sold in a garden statuary sale and the attribution to Canova has only been established recently. It is now estimated at £5,000,000-8,000,000.  The earliest known photograph of the marble was taken in 1857 at the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition which was opened by Prince Albert.


    Thursday, March 17th, 2022

    THE harp that once is commemorated in this bog oak piece which comes up as lot 63 at Sheppards Irish Vernacular sale on March 29. Unrivalled symbols of Ireland the harp and the shamrock are deeply associated with celebrations marking St. Patrick’s Day. The ballad by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) symbolises an Ireland that was still under British domination and begins:

    The harp that once through Tara’s halls
    The soul of music shed
    Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
    As if the soul were fled

    A 1930 version sung by Count John McCormack is available on You Tube. Sheppards sale offers 403 lots. The catalogue is online and the bog oak harp is estimated at 200-300. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.


    Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

    Still winning after all these years the brothers Edward (1827?-1887) and John Burke (1829-1892) have done it again. A framed E and J Burke Dublin Chicago and New York Baseball players advertisement made a hammer price of 19,000 as Victor Mee’s three day sale of HCR chemists memorabilia, pub memorabilia and decorative advertising began to draw to a conclusion this evening. It was lot number 1447 in the sale. In March 2020 a similar advertisement made 17,500 at Sheppards.

    The brothers were Irish distillers, brewers, bottlers and importers, cousins of Benjamin Lee Guinness and grandsons of the first Arthur Guinness. The company they founded in 1847 was in business in New York City from 1874 to 1953. A six story brick warehouse at 616 W 46th St. served as headquarters and storage from 1913-1922.

    (See post on for March 3, 2020)


    Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
    William Bartlett: Returning from the Fair. UPDATE: THIS MADE £35,250

    In the 19th century, life for tenanted farmers on the islands off the west coast of Ireland was tough. Their small holdings were barely sufficient to support livestock, and they faced the additional challenge of transporting back home the animals they had bought at fairs on the mainland. Since their boats were too small to accommodate the cattle, the farmers and their wives had no option but to tow the beasts across the treacherous sounds. The drama of this perilous journey is depicted in William Bartlett’s Returning from the Fair at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings sale in London on  March 30. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

    William Bartlett (1858 -1932) was only 20 when in 1878 he first became captivated by the west of Ireland during a summer visit made with the American painter, Howard Helmick. It was not until 1886, however, after many years of artistic training – mostly in Paris where he absorbed the innovative naturalism of Jules Bastien-Lepage – that he returned to the area. The Connemara light and the hardships experienced by the people inspired some of Bartlett most powerful works and proved a life-long inspiration. In a note on Returning from the Fair, painted in 1888, he wrote, ‘To the periodical Markets, held on the mainland, the inhabitants of the outlying islands are often obliged (owing to the smallness of the boats) to tow their cattle after them.’


    Tuesday, March 15th, 2022
    Deep Sea Divers Helmet  UPDATE: THIS MADE 190 AT HAMMER

    You never know what you might come across at an auction of house contents. Which is why they are brimful of interest. This copper deep sea divers helmet with the insignia of the US Navy Mark V full size is one of the more unusual collectibles at Matthews sale of contents of Rath House, Dundalk on March 20. There are 1,117 lots including antiques, art, silver and collectibles. The helmet is lot 47 and is estimated at just 120-180.


    Monday, March 14th, 2022

    This 1904 portrait of James Hugh Smith-Barry by Sir William Orpen comes up as lot 123 at Fonsie Mealy’s sale of Irish and international art on March 23.  Closely associated with Barryscourt Castle and the Fota estate in Cork the Barry family were prominent from Anglo-Norman times.  With the death in 1823 of the 8th Earl of Barrymore the title became extinct.  It was revived in 1902 when Arthur Hugh Smith-Barry was created Baron Barrymore.  He commissioned Orpen to paint a posthumous portrait of his father to be hung at Fota with the Barry ancestors. It was based on a pastel sketch made in 1854 by James Rannie Swinton. The estimate is €20,000-€30,000. UPDATE: THIS MADE 19,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, March 13th, 2022
    Hughie O’Donoghue – The Bethrothed Aoife © Hughie O’ Donoghue
    Photo © Anthony Hobbs

    Original Sins by Hughie O’Donoghue at the National Gallery of Ireland until June 19 addresses memory, history and questions of identity. The series of six large paintings depicts six historical figures drawn from ancient history, modern history, and the contemporary world and paired together. Best known to many as a central figure in Daniel Maclise’s The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, princess Aoife is paired with William the Conqueror. Represented very differently from the way in which she appears in the famous Irish work, the painting will hang alongside the others in this installation under the gaze of Maclise’s monumental masterpiece in the Gallery’s Shaw Room. 

    Dr Brendan Rooney, Head Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland, commented“The Gallery is delighted to be collaborating with Hughie as part of its contribution to the Decade of Centenaries. It is very exciting to see Daniel Maclise’s monumental The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife subjected to the scrutiny of an artist for whom history and memory are so important. The installation of Hughie’s six new paintings in the Shaw Room represents an unprecedented repurposing of the Gallery’s most famous display space, and casts Maclise’s picture, which inspired them, in a new light.”

    The National Gallery marks the conclusion of the Decade of Centenaries with three special displays in 2022. Two exhibitions will open later in the year. Keating’s Allegories of Change (from August 20) centres around Seán Keating’s 1924 painting An Allegory, which addresses the divisive nature of the conflict of the Irish Civil War. Estella Solomons: Still Moments (from September 3) features a number of portraits by Solomons of leading revolutionary and cultural figures of the time. 


    Saturday, March 12th, 2022
    Mahogany pharmacy shop back with 84 labelled drawers. UPDATE: THIS MADE 13,200 AT HAMMER

    The clearance sale of contents from the chain of Hayes Conyngham Robinson chemist shops at Victor Mee next week is just the tonic for collectors with an interest in  Ireland’s retail history.  An entire era of shop fittings went into long term storage when the business was taken over by Boots in 1998.  Historic items like beautiful old cash registers and the kind of medicine bottles your grandmother would have been familiar with will come under the hammer at a three day live and online sale from Belturbet, Co. Cavan, which will include pub and advertising memorabilia, starting on Monday.

    Founded in 1897 HCR operated for over 100 years, ending up with 30 locations across Ireland. All proceeds from the HCR lots are to be donated to Bernardo’s.  Chemist jars with black and gold labels and early 20th century amber glass chemist bottles are redolent of an era that many older readers will fondly remember, a time when no visit by a child with an adult to a chemist shop  would be complete without a twisted orange coloured barley sugar stick. The ingenuity of collectors is legendary and the thought of new life and new uses for venerable items like an early 20th century mahogany chemist counter back is heartening.  This one, complete with centre glazed door and gilded PRESCRIPTIONS pediment, is estimated at €1,500-€2,500.  There is an estimate of €1,000-€2,000 on a mahogany chemist counter and a shop counter with a bank of 50 drawers is estimated at €1,500-€3,000.

    Collection of eight Bristol blue chemist bottles. UPDATE: THESE MADE 200 AT HAMMER

    There are various collections of chemists poison bottles, amber bottles and glass jars at estimates of from €50 to €250. There are wall cabinets, wooden advertising boxes, floor cabinets with adjustable shelving, shop display cabinets and even an animatronic chemists advertising machine.A Kirker and Green advertising mirow from the Connswater Distillery in Belfast, which closed in 1929, is a leading lot in the pub memorabilia section.  There is a highly collectible Mitchell’s Whiskey mirror, Capstan and Players cigarette machines and some bottles of rare Irish whiskey.  The catalogue is online and Victor Mee is hosting actual viewings for the first time in two years.  Auctions are at 5 pm on March 14, 15 and 16.

    A messenger bike from Roches pub grocery shop on Inishbofin. UPDATE: THIS MADE 550 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, March 12th, 2022
    Whiskey barrel with a stainless steel top. UPDATE: THIS MADE 120 AT HAMMER

    Aidan Foley will offer the contents of the Ardhu Bar, Ennis Road, Limerick at an online auction due to begin at noon on March 13.  Included is a long bespoke mahogany bar counter, outdoor benches, whiskey barrels, parasols, bar furniture and sound systems.  There is viewing at the bar today from noon to 4 pm.