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


    Saturday, December 31st, 2022
    This Georgian mahogany card table sold for €100 at Woodwards

    It has been a very good year in 2022 for the art and collectibles market in Ireland. Generally prices were strong and the auction houses had a busy time.  Yet it is abundantly clear that one particular New Year Resolution for 2023 – to buy antique furniture – would be highly rewarding.  No matter what the future holds for us there is enormous value to be had right now. In this furniture buyers market a few examples from Cork city sales earlier this month – a situation repeated up and down the country –  make the point.  At Marshs a Victorian toilet mirror on barley twist uprights sold for €50 at hammer, a pair of Georgian brass firedogs made €30, an Irish Georgian side table on pad feet made €190, an Edwardian two tier centre table made €45, a Victorian hall table on turned legs made €60 and an inlaid Edwardian centre table made €50.  At Woodwards a pair of Edwardian wine tables made €20, a carved ships wheel with brass mounts made €90, a Georgian bureau bookcase made €130, an Edwardian Pembroke table made €25, a serpentine fronted hall table with shaped drawer made €100 as did a Georgian mahogany card table, a circular Victorian occasional table made €40 and a Victorian two tier sewing table made €70.  Not everything was at a giveaway price and many other lots made more.  Nevertheless there are rich pickings for those of us who love old furniture.

    This Victorian mirror sold for €50 at Marshs.


    Friday, December 30th, 2022
    Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn

    That was the year that was. With more than €16 billion worth of sales at the worlds three biggest auction houses – Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips – 2022 broke all sorts of records. Consolidated sales at Sotheby’s are projected to reach $8 billion, the highest in its 278 year history. One single owner sale at Christie’s made $1.5 billion and millions of people all around the world tuned in to livestreamed auctions to see paintings like Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn sell for $195 million at Christie’s in May to become the most expensive 20th Century artwork ever sold at auction. The market was driven by fresh to market single owner collections like that of Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen whose collection – not yet entirely sold – has already made $1.5 billion. Phillips’s total sales reached $1.3 billion. Its highest-valued lot was an untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat of a horned devil which sold in New York for $85 million in November.

    It is an exciting time for the market as the year turns. The burning question is: What will 2023 bring?


    Thursday, December 29th, 2022

    This early 19th century mahogany four poster bed comes up as lot 134 at Sean Eacrett’s timed online auction from Ballybrittas, Co. Laois on December 30. The contents of Donnybrook House, Ballymackey, Nenagh are offer in a sale of 410 lots which includes art, furniture, rugs, lighting and collectibles. The four poster is estimated at €1,200-1,500. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 4,000 AT HAMMER.


    Wednesday, December 28th, 2022

    This rare Irish silver memorial lamp with the makers mark J.S. Dublin 1891 sold for $25,200 at Sotheby’s sale of the Halpern Judaica Collection in New York this month. It recalls a largely forgottenn 17th century Jewish population in Dublin which disintegrated in 1791. After the community in London this was the second oldest in Ireland and Britain. In the second half of the seventeenth century, a Jewish community established itself in Dublin. A small synagogue in Crane Lane gave way to larger premises in Marlborough Green in the mid-eighteenth century, but, due to a variety of causes, the congregation disintegrated about 1791, and its furnishings and Torah scrolls were moved to other sites. In 1822, following the arrival of a group of Ashkenazic immigrants, a new congregation formed in Stafford Street that, with time, would come to be called the Dublin Hebrew Congregation. As immigration from Eastern Europe increased later in the century, a number of smaller synagogues sprang up in the South Circular Road-Clanbrassil Street area of Dublin, which became known as “Little Jerusalem.” One of these existed from 1891 to 1895 in Heytesbury Street. It may be this synagogue to which the present Eternal Lamp belonged.

    The lamp is engraved around the rim in Hebrew: “In eternal memory of the members of our community here in Dublin, may its Rock and Redeemer protect it, for from the year [5]552 [1791], when the synagogue was closed, nothing was done for their souls, and now, after the passage of one hundred years, the members of the community donated money to light the memorial lamp in their memory. May their souls be bound up in the Bond of Life. The eve of Rosh Hashanah [5]652 [1891].” The names of the Twelve Tribes are in the medallions.


    Wednesday, December 28th, 2022
    Steve Burgess (b.1960) – Winter’s Jewel (2022) UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,000 AT HAMMER

    Winter’s Jewel, an oil on board by the Canadian wildlife artist Steve Burgess, comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current Off the Wall online art auction. The catalogue goes online today and the auction runs until January 9. There will be viewing in Skibbereen on January 5, 6 and 9. Among the artists featured are William Crozier, John Shinnors, Cecil Maguire, Robert Chailloux and Charles McAuley.


    Tuesday, December 27th, 2022
    Diamond Set Platinum Cluster Ring  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 3,400

    This diamond cluster ring mounted on a 14 carat yellow gold band comes up as lot 134 at Matthews annual two day holiday auction online on December 30 and January 1. With an estimate of €3,500-5,500 it is among the most expensively estimated items in this auction totalling 1615 lots. The catalogue is online. The sale on December 30 is of lots 1-757 and comprises jewellery, gold, silver and collectibles. The sale on January 1 covers antique, modern and designer furniture, part house clearances and collectibles. The sale is on view in Kells from noon to 5 pm on December 28 and 29 and from 11 am to 2 pm on December 30.


    Saturday, December 24th, 2022
    Adoration of the Magi – Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    We wish all our readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas.


    Friday, December 23rd, 2022

    This vintage French tapestry measuring 40 inches across by 22 inches high comes up at Hegarty’s timed online auction of antiques and interiors which runs until January 5. The estimate for this outdoor Rococo scene is €80-€120. The auction offers more than 200 lots of furniture, art, silver, jewellery and collectibles.

    1920’s pendant worn by Princess Diana at Sotheby’s

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

    The Attallah Cross, a unique 1920s pendant by Garrard worn on several occasions by Princess Diana comes up at Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale in January with an estimate of £80,000-£120,000. “Jewellery owned or worn by the late Princess Diana very rarely comes on to the market, especially a piece such as the Attallah cross, which is so colourful, bold and distinctive” according to Kristian Spofforth, Head of Jewellery, Sotheby’s London. “To some extent, this unusual pendant is symbolic of the Princess’s growing self-assurance in her sartorial and jewellery choices, at that particular moment in her life. We are confident that this unique 1920s piece of jewellery by Garrard, with such an exceptional provenance and only ever worn by the Princess herself, will attract the attention of a wide variety of bidders, including royal and noble jewellery collectors, as well as fans of the Princess keen to share part of her history.” The Royal and Noble sale runs from January 6-18.

    The Attallah cross was owned by the former group chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, the late Naim Attallah CBE. “Princess Diana and my father were friends and I remember that she often came to see him at the historic Garrard store on Regent Street, where his office was, and she would ask to borrow the pendant on several occasions – she really loved the piece” said Ramsay Attallah, current owner of the cross.

    The Princess most famously wore it in October 1987, paired with a Catherine Walker dress, to a charity gala in support of Birthright, a charity working towards the protection of human rights during pregnancy and childbirth.

    Diana, Princess Of Wales, Arriving At A Charity Gala Evening On Behalf Of Birthright At Garrard. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)


    Wednesday, December 21st, 2022
    An association copy, number 41 of only 100 numbered copies signed by Joyce

    An association copy of Ulysses, the most important and influential novel of the twentieth century, sold for $189,000 at Sotheby’s sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts in New York. It was number 41 of only 100 numbered copies signed by Joyce and printed on Dutch handmade paper. The estimate was $150,000-250,000.

    The total first edition of Ulysses was limited to 1,000 copies. Following the signed and numbered copies on Dutch handmade paper was an issue of 150 copies on vergé d’Arches paper, and an issue of 750 copies on handmade paper. The official date of publication was Joyce’s birthday, February 2, 1922, but difficulties with the cover meant that in fact only two copies, both from the 1/750 issue, were actually ready that day. No further copies of any issue of Ulysses appeared from the printer until February 9 (when a further batch of the 1/750 arrived), followed by the first of the 1/100 on February 13, and the 1/150 series on March 4. It is now thought that this reflects the order in which Ulysses was actually printed.