Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Friday, January 8th, 2021

    A prehistoric pair of fossilised Irish Elk antlers come up as Lot 1 at Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale online until January 14. They are estimated at £25,000-£40,000. The Irish Elk or giant deer is thought to have originally colonised Siberia before migrating westwards in response to a deteriorating climate. The species became extinct 11,000 years ago. The largest concentration of its remains have been found in Irish bogland and many featured in Irish bnaqueting halls. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £44,100


    Thursday, January 7th, 2021

    With three auctions planned for the first quarter of 2021 Whyte’s has reported that sales in 2020 reached €7 million. This compares to €8.5 million in 2019. Increased demand for art and collectibles offset the worst of the effects of the pandemic. Demand was driven by savings made from not travelling abroad, not eating out, not drinking in pubs, not commuting and not buying clothes for work. The imposition of negative interest rates on bank deposits has encouraged cash rich individuals to purchase tangible assets such as art and collectibles.

    Whyte’s anticipate that 2021 will be another challenging year with the continuance of pandemic restrictions and Brexit. This will cause problems for trading in art between the EU and the UK. Individual collectors will have to pay 13.5% VAT on importation of art, and 21% on importation of collectibles from the UK. UK collectors and businesses will only pay 5% VAT on imports of art and most collectibles from Ireland. Irish VAT registered businesses will account for the importation VAT in their returns to Revenue. Customs clearance charges will add an extra 1% to the cost of importing art and collectibles. Thus a painting bought in the UK for €10,000 could cost an extra €1,450 to import to Ireland, and a €1,000 collectible will be charged €220 on arrival.

     Whytes will hold sales of Irish & International Art on March 1, The Eclectic Collector on March 27 and a Spring Art Sale on April 13-19. 

    This 1916 Procalamation of the Irish Republic sold for €190,000 in July


    Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

    A selection of costume jewellery made for the Chanel runway comes up at an online sale at Christie’s, New York from January 14-29. Spanning over 100 intricate creations the jewels provide a glimpse into the golden era of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. They are featured as part of the landmark sale series from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue. Susan Gutfreund shared a close friendship with Karl Lagerfeld. Many of the pieces are prototypes never before offered for sale and they provide a window into the world of haute couture in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    (See post on for December 20, 2020)



    Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

    A selection of exceptional works from the property of heirs of Franz Koenigs will come up in a series of sales at Christie’s in 2021. Categories will include Old Master Paintings and Old Master Drawings, Impressionist and Modern Art, Prints and Applied Arts. There are more than 2,800 works of art, ranging from the 15th to the early 20th Century. German by birth, Franz Koenigs  (1881-1941) was a businessman and banker who settled in the Netherlands in 1922. Because of the political developments in his home country he obtained Dutch nationality in 1939. Among the highlights are a number of exceptional landscapes by the leading exponents from the Dutch Golden Age, led by Jacob van Ruisdael’s iconic Tower of Kostverloren on the Amstel (£500,000-800,000), and  A wooded river landscape with a punt, Deventer in the distance by Meindert Hobbema (£500,000-800,000). 

    Meindert Hobbema – A wooded river landscape with a punt, Deventer in the distance 


    Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

    Knight, Death and the Devil an etching produced by Albrecht Dürer in 1513 comes up at Phillips in London on January 21. It is the first time that the firm will offer a work from the 16th century in London. This is one of three large prints that form Dürer’s Master Engravings produced between 1513 and 1514.  Knight, Death and the Devil, accompanied by Melancholia I and Saint Jerome in His Study, are considered to correspond to the three kinds of medieval scholarly virtue – theological, intellectual, and moral. The engraving is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

    The 272 lots in the sale offer examples of Pop, Modern and Contemporary editions as well as pieces from key periods of art history. Among them are Roy Lichtenstein’s Reverie from 1965 and two screenprints in colour by Andy Warhol: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, from Reigning Queens (Royal Edition), 1985 and Mickey Mouse, from Myths, 1981.

    Albrecht Dürer
    Knight, Death and the Devil


    Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

    From the Westport House table to the Leinster House cabinets there is much of Irish interest in a sale for furniture specialists at Christie’s in London on January 19.  Apter-Fredericks: 75 Years of Important English Furniture encompasses some spectacular Irish pieces as it marks the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. Internationally renowned for the superlative quality, condition and provenance of their pieces, Apter-Fredericks remains an industry byword for the very finest furniture and works of art, a reputation which has been built by three generations of the family over the last 75 years. The firm is giving up their Fulham Road, London showroom in order to spend more time in pursuit of masterpieces and visiting clients.

    It is a great pity that at home and abroad the new world that beckons makes little room for fine antique shops like this in expensive downtown locations.  Antique furniture is  as green as you can get. So it is more than a little perverse that in a world with growing awareness of the urgent need to tackle climate change there is little room for shops selling the ultimate recyclable.

     A c1750 Irish side table. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £30,000

    Christie’s wlll offer 140 lots including work by the foremost craftspeople and designers of the 18th and 19th centuries like Chippendale, Ince and Mayhew, Linnell, Gomm, Lock, Bullock and Gillows, as well as some Chinese works of art. The Westport House dining table (£50,000-£80,000), capable of extending beyond 30 feet, is attributed to Gillows. It was purchased by Howe Peter Browne (1788-1845), the 2nd Marquess of Sligo.  As governor of Jamaica he supported the emancipation of slaves. It is possible that the mahogany for the table came from Jamaica.The Leinster House cabinets (£40,000-£60,000), are thought to have been commissioned by the 2nd Duke of Leinster in 1777-78 and have been in the possession of the FitzGerald family ever since. Another highlight is a c1750 Irish side table. The carved pierced apron with foliage, shells and a central cartouche with a bird, is a good example of the Irish style. It came from a private collection in the US.A c1740 side table is described as English or possibly Irish. Apter-Frederick say the quirky nature of the overall proportion suggests a provincial or Irish origin.  There is an Irish bottle stand and an Irish George III giltwood and verre eglomise mirror. Verre egomise is a process where there is both a design and gilding on glass to produce a mirror finish.  This one, dated 1798, is by Josias Phillips, Wards Hill, Dublin.

    (See post on for December 3, 2020)

     Irish George III giltwood mirror. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £18,750


    Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

    AS this strange, unsettling year draws to a close auction houses are looking back with relief and forward with optimism. Twelve months ago when 2020 dawned there was little inkling of the pandemic that has since engulfed the globe causing at least 1.8 million deaths and 82 million cases so far. In the art and antiques market online sales and private sales did much to alleviate the pressure caused by the lack of live sales nationally and internationally. Preliminary figures from Christie’s suggest that sales were down 25% to $4.4 billion. Demand remained strong and online sales (up 262% in 2020) and digital innovation are seen as major drivers of future growth. Private sales achieved a record total projected at $1.3 billion. No less than 36% of all buyers were new to Christie’s and 32% of new online only buyers were millennials (23-38 years old).

    CEO Guillaume Cerutti commented: “In 2020, the global pandemic deeply impacted the art market, as it did for almost all industries. We are now looking forward to 2021 with optimism, for two major reasons: global demand for art and objects remains strong with an impressive influx of new clients, especially millennials; and Christie’s has introduced digital innovations that significantly strengthened our business model, providing clients with greater flexibility to transact with us through our live auction, online-only, and private sales platforms.”

    In Ireland lockdowns caused four months of closure in 2020 and a new lockdown for the month of January 2021 has just been announced. At James Adam they reckon that business overall was about two thirds of what would normally have occurred in sectors like Irish Art and jewellery. The level of sales, 16 in categories like vintage wine and spirits, period and mid century furniture, jewellery, watches, art and decorative arts and the Country House Collections sale at Townley Hall, helped to make up some of the shortfall. James O’Halloran reports that sell through rates at Adams were higher in every category with some auctions recording 90% plus. There is a readiness to drive on from this in 2021.

    The Kildare House giltwood chairs made 18,000 at James Adam


    Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

    This George IV inlaid sideboard with brass gallery comes up with an estimate of 3,000-5,000 at the James Adam auction of contents from Number 1, Wellington Road, Dubin. The former restaurateur Peter White is downsizing and his lifetime collection is on offer at a timed online sale which runs to January 11. The collection of four silver plated domed dish covers under the sideboard is estimated at 600-1,000. UPDATE: THE SIDEBOARD MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER. THE DOMED DISH COVERS SOLD FOR 420


    Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

    This early 19th century Irish silver wine ewer comes up at Hegarty’s timed New Year online auction. The sale opens in Bandon today and runs until January 5. The selection of lots includes jewellery, art and Persian rugs. The ewer was made in Dublin in 1834 by Robert W Smith and is estimated at 3,200-3,400. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Monday, December 28th, 2020

    This group of Beatrix Potter figures by Royal Albert and Beswick is included in Sean Eacrett’s timed New Year auction of antiques, collectibles and film props which runs until January 3. One of a number of lots of Beatrix Potter figures they are estimated at 80-120. There are 785 lots in the sale.