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  • Archive for April, 2024

    A CHURCHILL PORTRAIT SURVIVOR AT SOTHEBY’S

    Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

    Graham Sutherland – Surviving study for a portrait of Churchill commissioned by Parliament

    One of the best surviving portraits of Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland – an 80th birthday present commissioned by parliament – comes up at Sotheby’s in London on June 6. The Houses
    of Parliament commissioned the portrait thus setting up a new chapter in Churchill’s life story which ended with the painting being burned in an episode immortalised in popular culture by The Crown. On offer is an intimate painted study created in preparation for the final work.
    Winston Churchill was one of the most reproduced characters, described by curators of the National Portrait Gallery in London as “the most famous face of the 20th century”. The legacy that he left rests in no small part on the extraordinary care he took to cultivate his public image: from the ‘V for Victory’ to his cigars and bowler hats. Over the course of his life, he was painted by William Orpen, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, William Nicholson and Oswald Birley, among others.
    Churchill was extraordinarily concerned by how he was represented, and often gave withering
    assessments to those who dared portray him. The portrait painted by Graham Sutherland in 1954
    proved to be the most objectionable. Sutherland was at the very forefront of modern British art at the time, eclipsing Francis Bacon with whom he shared a gallery. It was Churchill’s intention to be painted in his Garter robes but Sutherland insisted that he was to be painted in the clothes which Parliament and the public knew him. Sutherland did ultimately produce a painting of him in his garter robes, now in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton. Churchill was keen to inspect the portrait as the project went along, but Sutherland insisted that he
    mustn’t. It was Clementine who first viewed the work at Sutherland’s studio once it was complete, and
    she was so pleased with it that she cried tears of joy and took a photograph home with her. Sadly, this
    celebration was short lived. On seeing the work, Churchill wrote to his personal doctor Lord Moran describing the work as “filthy and malignant”, followed by a letter to Sutherland and his wife that it was not suitable as a presentation from the Houses of Parliament and so he did not want to be part of the ceremony. In the end, Churchill attended the ceremony but uncharitably derided the work as a
    “striking example of Modern art”, to a peal of laughter from the audience. The press were in the large part unforgiving, the Telegraph and the Daily Express calling for the work
    to be thrown away or even burnt. The Spectator went against the pack and described the work as “by
    far the best record of the Prime Minister which we shall bequeath to posterity”. However, this vision
    was not to be realised. Within two years, such was the rancour with which the painting was viewed at Chartwell, that Churchill’s loyal secretary Grace Hamblin employed her brother to take it away and burn it (a move that received Clementine’s approval, who despite her original enthusiasm had gradually turned against it too, feeling betrayed).

    A SEA MYSTERY RECALLED AT LYNES AND LYNES

    Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

    William John Huggins (British 1781-1845) – Madagascar

    This c1837 portrat of the Madagascar with the white cliffs of Dover in the background recalls a sea mystery. Built in 1837 it disappeared on a voyage from Melbourne in Australia and was one of the great maritime mysteries of the 19th century. The 1837 oil on canvas is estimated at €4,000-€6,000 when it comes up at the Lynes and Lynes sale in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on April 20. After leaving Melbourne on August 12, 1853 with around 110 passengers, a crew of 40 and a cargo of wool, rice and two tonnes of Gold Rush gold the Blackwall Frigate Madagascar was never seen again. The sale of 478 lots will include lots from the estate of Roma Peare (nee Knox) of Kinsale and Tipperary as well as residual lots from Cuskinny House, Cobh and from individual clients of this auction house. There is  a good selection of furniture, silver, paintings and collectibles including an old dolls house with farmhouse and accessories (€40-€60).

    A dolls house, farmhouse and accessories 

    LOTS TO LET THE IMAGINATION SOAR AT VICTOR MEE

    Monday, April 15th, 2024

    A 19th century French oak pantry cupboard

    For those hell bent on upscaling an interior and adding a touch of real individuality the sort of lots that can set the imagination soaring can be found in plenty at Victor Mee’s decorative interiors sale on April 24 and 25.

    Among an eclectic selection of items are an early 19th century French oak pantry cupboard (€1,500-€3,000), a pair of Ralph Lauren brass wall sconces (€600-€1,200), a 19th century French copper bath (€600-€1,200), a life sized stuffed brown bear (€4,000-€8,000) and a Grecian urn (€450-€850).

    Or how about a now rare early 20th century bronze luggage and coat rack complete with mirror  (€200-€400). These were a familiar sight on all trains once so this one should jog memories.

    The Grand Tour plaster cast Grecian urn on pedestal might stimulate an irresistible urge to try to compose like the Romantic poet John Keats.  His famous Ode to a Grecian Urn concludes with the words: 

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all 

    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”.

    A 19th century life size taxidermy brown bear 

    ARRAY OF CHOICES AT IRISH VERNACULAR SALE AT JAMES ADAM

    Monday, April 15th, 2024

    A 19th century painted pine settle bed. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    There is scope for a unique and special Irish look at the Vernacular auction James Adam on April 16 at 11 am.  On offer is a selection of settle beds, pine dressers, kitchen and farmhouse tables, cauldrons, deer antlers, dowry chests, rush lights, a folk model diorama of a three masted barque, hedge and sugan chairs, food cupboards, meal bins, chests and turf buckets, all more than reminiscent of the way we lived in Ireland long ago.

    The term vernacular covers a multitude and this auction of 254 lots offers an interesting and collectible selection of art with work by, among others, James Dixon, Frank McKelvey, Markey Robinson, Ellen Connolly, Maurice Wilks and Charles Henry Cook. A c1800 Kilkenny black marble fireplace (€5,000-€8,000), silver dish or potatoe rings, Celtic Revival silver bowls and even a replica of the Ardagh Chalice enhance the Irish feel of this specialist sale. Among a selection of settle beds is a 19th century painted pine version with a moulded top (€800-€1,200) and a 19th century settle used as a prop in the film The Banshees of Inisherin.

    CORK’S CRAWFORD GALLERY LOANS 14 PAINTINGS TO HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE

    Friday, April 12th, 2024
    John Luke – The Lock at Edenderry, 1935. Collection Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

    In what is the largest ever loan from a national cultural institution in Ireland the Crawford Gallery in Cork has loaned 14 artworks to Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. They are part of a collection of 33 new works of Irish art on display at the State Drawing Room at Hillsborough Castle until January 2027. Crawford paintings include  landscapes by painters Paul and Grace Henry, Moonlight Ballyholme by Belfast-born Colin Middleton and The Locks at Edenderry by Belfast artist John Luke.

    David Orr, Castle and Collections Manager at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens said: “The Drawing Room at Hillsborough Castle is a haven of Irish art, a celebration of our magnificent land and seascapes right through to incredible royal portraits by Irish artists. We are hugely proud of this new collection, and excited to work with a significant range of lenders, including our largest ever from the Republic of Ireland from Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.”

    Additional lenders include NI Civil Service, Down County Museum, Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Co-Operation Ireland, Northern Ireland Office and King Charles III of the UK. Historic Royal Palaces is also delighted to announce the acquisition of a Thomas Lawrence portrait of Lord Marcus Hill and 51 miniature portraits of the Hill and Sandys families – known as the Ombersley Miniatures – generously gifted by the Sandys Trust.

    ARDAGH CHALICE REPLICA AT ADAMS IRISH VERNACULAR SALE

    Friday, April 12th, 2024

    A FINE IRISH SILVER REPLICA OF THE ARDAGH CHALICE. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    This Irish silver replica of the Ardagh Chalice comes up as lot 40 at the Irish Vernacular sale by James Adam in Dublin on April 16. Viewing for the auction gets underway today. The replica – of traditional design with applied Celtic decoration – was made in Dublin around 1915 by Sharman D Neill and is estimated at €6,000-€8,000. The Ardagh Chalice dates to the 8th century and is one of the greatest treasures of the early Irish church. In the collection of the National Museum it is part of a hoard found in the 19th century by a young man digging for potatoes near Ardagh, Co. Limerick. The catalogue for the sale is online.

    FIRST EDITION SIGNED BY CORMAC MCCARTHY AT FONSIE MEALY AUCTION

    Thursday, April 11th, 2024

    CORMAC MCCARTHY – CITIES OF THE PLAIN

    A signed first edition of Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy is one of the leading lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring Rare Book and Collectors sale. The timed online auction gets underway today and will run until April 24 with over 700 lots of offer. Cities of the Plain is lot 477 and comes complete with an uncorrected proof and uncorrected advance reading copies, both signed by the author, and an audio book with two cassettes, read by Brad Pitt. The estimate is €800-€1,000.

    AN ONLINE SALE OF AFFORDABLE IRISH ART

    Thursday, April 11th, 2024

    Crow Feathers by Tony O’Malley (1913-2003). UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,500 at hammer

    This 1983 work by Tony O’Malley comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current off the wall online art sale which runs until April 15. The gouache on card is estimated at €1,200-€1,800. The catalogue for the sale is online and it features a wide variety of art and artists among more than 450 lots from Maurice Wilks to Mark O’Neill, Basil Blackshaw to Louis le Brocquy, John Behan and Oisin Kelly.

    STUNNING DONATIONS SHOW OPENS TODAY AT HUGH LANE GALLERY IN DUBLIN

    Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

    ‘Wall Landline Moor’, Collection & image © Hugh Lane Gallery. Donated by the artist, 2024 © Sean Scully

    An exhibition featuring significant gifts to Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery opens today. Sacred trust: Donations and their Legacy features significant gifts from 1908 to 2024. Highlighting recent additions to the gallery’s collection is “Wall Landline Moor” by Sean Scully, generously donated by the artist. It joins the impressive installation of “Untitled” by Richard Gorman, a series of largescale works on handmade Koso Washi Japanese paper donated by Neil Jordan and Robert Maharry. The show brings together two previously unseen works  on paper by Alexander Calder “To Bambi” and “Lo Oscuro Invade” donated by Madeleine McGahern, a monumental painting “Victory” by Lawrence Carroll donated by Lucy Jones Carroll  and the spectacular posthumous portrait of the first female Lord Mayor of Dublin,  “Kathleen Clarke” by Brian Maguire.

    Barbara Dawson, Director of Hugh Lane Gallery said: “Since its foundation in 1908, Hugh Lane Gallery has been fortunate in receiving significant donations that add to the wealth and depth of this national collection of modern and contemporary art. In Sacred trust: Donations and their Legacy, we celebrate that legacy with a new generation of supporters whose gifts align with our strategic vision in the 21st century. These artworks will be conserved and enjoyed for generations to come”.

    ‘Kathleen Clarke’, Collection & image © Hugh Lane Gallery. Donated, 2023. © Brian Maguire

    A €125,000 COMPOSITION BY EVIE HONE AT MORGAN O’DRISCOLL

    Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

    EVIE HONE (1894-1955) – COMPOSITION

    Composition by Evie Hone made a hammer price of €125,000 over a top estimate of €70,000 at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish and International Art sale on April 9. It was the top lot at the sale. At the centre of Hone’s richly-coloured composition, framed within arcs and segments of yellow, green, light brown and red, is an intricately juxtaposed colour pattern that suggests a Madonna and Child.  Villas near the Sea (Cassis) by Roderic O’Conor made €70,000, Dock St., Belfast by L.S, Lowry made €46,000, Master of Money and Mirrors by Conor Harrington made €40,000, Estuary Forms by John Shinnors and Portrait of Mrs. Jessie Wertheimer by Sir William Orpen each made €32,000 at hammer, The Final Furlong by Liam O’Neill made €30,000 and Portrait of a Lady by Genieve Figgis and Union Hall, West Cork by Donald Teskey each made €29,000.

    See posts on antiquesandartireland.com for April 5, March 30 and March 29, 2024