Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for May, 2023


    Monday, May 22nd, 2023
    This c1820 sideboard at Lynes and Lynes was at Midleton College and originated at one of the great houses of East Cork.

    With everything from a 12′ long c1820 sideboard once at Midleton College, a carved oak pulpit, the Journals of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society and an old Hornby train collection the sale by Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on May 27 has much to interest all sorts of collectors. Included in the auction is the collection of the late Craig and Mary McKechnie, removed from Lynwood, their residence overlooking Cork Harbour at Rushbrooke. There is a large 19th century mahogany server by Maple and Co. (€600-€1,000), a set of Cork 11-bar dining chairs (€2,500-€3,500) and a selection of Cork furniture including side tables and chests of drawers.

     A chemist shop display cabinet 

      An attractive Regency inlaid linen press (€400-€600)  and a pair of Georgian demi-lune side tables with satinwood crossbanding (€600-€800) will generate much interest. A large collection of 19th century lithographs of Egypt and the Holy Land by David Roberts RA (1796-1864) is to be sold in lots of two with estimates from €100-€300. Lot 59 is a large model of a sailing boat on stand which sat on a marble topped table in the drawing room (€200-€300). Books include Journals of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, an old 1895 Cork Almanack including an advertisement for R. & J. McKechnie, books of Cork interest together with a collection of yachting and gardening books.  A silver cream jug and sugar bowl by William Egan dates from 1921-22.
    The large sideboard from Midleton College would originally have been in one of the great houses of East Cork.  The estimate is €1,000-€1,500.  There should also be significant interest in a fine old chemist shop display cabinet (€200-€300). The oak pulpit by Thomas Manning, Bagnalstown, is estimated at €500-€800.  Lot 85 is a collection of First Period Belleek ware (€100-€200).  An old Hornby train collection was last sold by Lynes and Lynes a number of years ago.  This time around the estimate is €500-€800. The catalogue is online and viewing is underway.

    A carved oak pulpit


    Monday, May 22nd, 2023
    Charles II Irish silver porringer, Samuel Marsden, Dublin, 1680. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £4,445

    This very rare Irish silver porringer by Samuel Marsden comes up as lot 77 at Sotheby’s sale of furniture, silver, clocks and ceramics which runs online until tomorrow (May 23) afternoon. Only one other example of Marsden’s work is known: a 1679 communion cup and paten at St. Michan’s church in Dublin. He was a warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company of Dublin from 1677-1680 and master in 1681. The estimate for the piece is £4,000-£6,000.

    Among other lots of Irish interest are a set of four Irish George III silver meat dishes with Sheffield plate covers with the arms of Moore, Earls of Drogheda for Charles Moore (29 June 1730 – 22 December 1822), 6th Earl of Drogheda, who in July 1791 was created Marquess of Drogheda. The estimate here is £12,000-£18,000. There is a silver salver by Joseph Johns of Limerick and a soup ladle by George Moore of Limerick, Irish silver goblets, coasters, basting spoons and sauce boats. UPDATE: The Earl of Drogheda silver sold for £13,970


    Sunday, May 21st, 2023
    Fender Stratocaster electric guitar smashed by Kurt Cobain

    A lefty black Fender Stratocaster electric guitar smashed by Kurt Cobain, during Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind era made an astounding $595,000 – nearly ten times its original estimate of $60,000 – at Julien’s Music Icons sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York. The reassembled but unplayable guitar signed by all three members of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl, with additional inscriptions to Mark Lanegan (of Screaming Trees) by Cobain that read: “Hell-o Mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar” as well as the inscription Boddah Lives engraved to the neck plate (referring to Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend) is housed in a black hard case with “Abort Christ” written on the top in white block letters and includes a white Ernie Ball guitar strap.

    Bono’s 2002 Gretsch Irish Falcon electric guitar made $238,125. The guitar signed by all four members of U2 was donated by Bono when he was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2003. A devotee of the Gretsch 6196 Country Club, Bono commissioned ten Irish Falcon electric guitars from Gretsch in 2000. Over 1,200 pieces of music history from rock royalty owned and used by stars like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Lifeson, Freddie Mercury, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, KISS, Mötley Crüe, Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, and more with special collections from Amy Winehouse, Bill Wyman, Bette Midler and Julian Lennon, sold in front of a live audience and online with thousands of bidders, fans and collectors from around the world participating at The three-day sale will close on today (May 21) with property from Janet Jackson.

    Bono’s 2002 Gretsch Irish Falcon electric guitar 


    Saturday, May 20th, 2023
    A c1845 oil of a merchant frigate moored in Cork Harbour by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson. UPDATE: THIS MADE 25,000 AT HAMMER

    From George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson to Hughie O’Donoghue, Charles Tyrrell to Nano Reid the art online sale by Morgan O’Driscoll which runs until 6.30 pm next Monday covers a broad range of Irish art.  There will be particular local interest in an Atkinson showing Cork Harbour almost two centuries ago.  It is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  The sale will be on view in Skibbereen next Monday and the catalogue is online.  Work by Sean McSweeney, Tony O’Malley, Norah McGuinness, Basil Blackshaw and many other artists is included.


    Saturday, May 20th, 2023
    A set of six tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen. UPDATE: THESE MADE 3,000 AT HAMMER

    Design furniture, lighting and contemporary art will come under the hammer at a timed online auction by de Veres which runs until the evening of May 23.  Classic pieces include a set of six Tulip chairs by renowned Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen and Egg (€3,000-€5,000) and Swan (€600-€900) chairs by Arne Jacobsen, one of the most significant figures in Danish design history. The 150 lot sale features a large selection of carefully chosen art by Charlie Tyrrell, Chung Eon-Mo, Cecil King, le Corbusier, Andy Warhol, William Scott, Mark Francis and many other Irish and international artists whose work will fit easily into a Modernist setting.  There are Danish and Italian pieces from the 1960’s, ’70’s and ’80’s along with contemporary labels like Roche Bobois and Ligne Roset.  The auction is on view at de Veres from today and the catalogue is online.

    Abstract by Chung Eun-Mo. UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,600 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, May 18th, 2023

    Summer Breeze marries two important components in Tony O’Malley’s oeuvre, the influence of his native Callan in County Kilkenny and the light and palette of the Bahamas where he visited with his wife Jane O’Malley from the mid-1970’s. The oil on board evokes a strong sense of flowing water. It comes up as lot 55 at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on May 29 with an estimate of €15,000-20,000. In 1960 O’Malley s settled at the artist’s hub St Ives in Cornwall, where he had first visited in 1955, in the company of fellow abstract artists Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Bryan Wynter. It was here he met his future wife the Canadian artist Jane Harris. The auction of 122 lots will be held at Freemasons Hall on Molesworth St. in Dublin and online. Viewing gets underway on May 22 at Whyte’s Galleries. The catalogue is online now


    Thursday, May 18th, 2023
    Christopher Wool – Untitled sold for $10,070,000.

    Records were broken for women artists and for artists of colour, continuing a trend of the past several seasons at Christie’s sale of the Gerald Fineberg Collection in New York last night. The evening achieved $153,053,300, bringing the total for the Spring Marquee Week to $878,066,496, with a final sale remaining. Christopher Wool’s Untitled made $10,070,000 and was the top lot of the evening. There were notable results for Gerhard Richter’s Badende which made $9,610,000; Pablo Picasso’s Buste d’homme lauré which mde $8,460,000 and a Joan Mitchell abstraction Untitled which made $6,584,000. 


    Tuesday, May 16th, 2023
    First Ever All-Ireland Football Medal, 1887 Won by Limerick Commercials. UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER

     A very rare 9ct gold Medal issued to commemorate the first ever All-Ireland football Championship, 1887, is the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Rare Book & Collectors’ Sale in Dublin on May 30 and 31. The medal is hall marked and with the name of the retailer A Duffner, Tipperary, was won by Jeremiah Kennedy of Limerick Commercials. They beat Young Irelands of Louth, on a score line of 1-4 to 0-3 at a match played in Clonskeagh in April 1888. The sale, which will be held at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, will include a selection from the library at Birr Castle; The Andrew Sharkey Fishing Collection; a private American Collection of Seamus Heaney material and lots from important libraries and collections.

    There is a unique collection of volumes on Astronomy, rare photographs of the Moon; fine coloured plate books on Natural History, Birds, Animals, Plants; a good collection of fishing books; a large collection of worldwide travel, many by Irish authors; scarce maps and atlases; recently discovered Colonial watercolours and drawings by Sir William Young and a large collection of scarce Irish books. There is a First English Limited Edition of Ulysses, signed by James Joyce as well as books by Yeats and Heaney and 1,100 lots. The catalogue is online and there will be viewing in Stillorgan on May 28 and 29.


    Tuesday, May 16th, 2023
    Jean-Michel Basquiat – El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) made $67,110,000 

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) was the top lot at Christie’s 21st Century evening sale in New York last night. It made $67,110,000 in an auction of 26 lots which brought in $98,802,500, selling 96% by lot and 123% hammer against low estimate. More than one third of lots set artist records; five were set for female artists – Robin F. Williams, Simone Leigh, Danielle McKinney, Rebecca Ackroyd, and Diane Arbus – as well as records for Vojt?ch Kova?ík, El Anatsui, Peter Saul, and William Eggleston (for a single work).

    Combined with the successful sale of the S.I. Newhouse Collection and the 20th Century Evening Sale on May 11 and the series of Day Sales May 12 – 13, this auction brought Christie’s running total for its 20th and 21st Century Spring Marquee Week auctions to $725,013,196.


    Sunday, May 14th, 2023
    This fine Regency mahogany and satinwood bureau, possibly a Cork piece, made a below estimate hammer price of just €650 at the James Adam Library Collection sale

    Who would have guessed that the longer term salvation of the antique furniture market might be in salvage. In a world where fast fashion needs to be reconsidered and sustainability is on the up there is more room than ever before for products that are restored and recycled. An antique piece preserves scarce resources and has a long life cycle. Old furniture was created with hand operated tools, glues and dyes from natural sources using the ultimate green practices.  Contrast this with today where around 90% of furniture comes from countries with not much in the way of regulation about water pollution, air pollution or responsible forest management. In the UK it is estimated that around 1.7 tons of furniture waste, which is not recycled, is generated each year.

    This set of six chairs including two carvers made just €22 at a South Dublin Auctions sale 

    A study by carbon clear compared an antique chest of drawers with a newly made version and concluded that antique furniture is likely to have a carbon footprint 16 times lower than modern furniture.  Many people who buy furniture are completely unaware of this even though the majority of buyers will consider sustainability. There is much competition at auction for the best pieces but the market for ordinary antique furniture has been at rock bottom for years.  It is possible to pick up pieces for next to nothing at many sales. Buyers have been looking the other way for so long that many auctioneers will simply refuse to consider taking old tables, chairs, cupboards, wardrobes, even the beautiful  Georgian linen presses that once graced elegant homes to the market.  Given that the cost of cartage is more than many such pieces will actually make at auction it is not too difficult to see where they are coming from. If the heirs don’t want it – as is so often the case – once treasured objects from house clearances end up in the skip.  In a world of diminishing resources  and massive climate change this is nothing short of madness.

    This Edwardian oak gateleg table sold for just €30 at Sheppards

    Brown furniture is lovely.  It isn’t all new and shiny nor should it be.  There is nothing wrong with  signs of wear and tear on a chair or a table that has already given years of service.  Something that is far gone can be restored or re-purposed imaginatively.  It can be repaired, stained, varnished, painted, stencilled or otherwise upcycled.  Processes like this help the planet.Antique and vintage pieces come from an era when things were made to last and expected to give a lifetime of value.  The abhorrent idea of built in obsolescence, widely practiced now, was unheard of then.  So instead of supporting the sort of greedflation rampant these days you might profitably consider making one small change by opting to buy old rather than new.  The opportunity to do so is available at auctions everywhere.  In the process you will help our earth to survive and almost certainly help your own budget as well.  There is some way to go before salvation of the antique furniture market is achieved and the planet is salvaged. 

    This 19th century Irish pine dresser made a hammer price of €210 at Fonsie Mealy’s sale at Borleagh Manor in April.