Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Friday, February 21st, 2020

    A total of 530 lots of silver, furniture, jewellery, porcelain and collectibles will come under the hammer at the At Home sale at James Adam in Dublin on February 23. There are silver brooches by Georg Jensen, some Irish provincial silver, artworks including some Art Deco chrome plated figures, mirrors, antique furniture including sets of chairs, Oriental bronzes and Donegal carpets. The catalogue is online.

    A large Donegal wool carpet in the Neo-classical taste.


    Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

    Rare images from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed Antartic Expedition come up at Bonhams Travel and Exploration sale in London on February 26. The Antarctic explorer, born in Kilkea Co. Kildare, led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 is remembered for one of the great feats of human daring and valour. Attempting to sail across the Weddell Sea, the expedition ship Endurance became trapped in pack ice, eventually disintegrating in October 1915. The dramatic escape of the crew is the stuff of legend. The expedition’s official photographer, Australian Frank Hurley, captured life on board the stricken vessel and the ship’s final hours.  A newly discovered presentation album of Hurley’s Photographs of Scenes and Incidents in Connection with the Happenings to the Weddell Sea Party  consigned by a private owner in the UK is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

    Frank Hurley joined the Shackleton expedition as the official photographer in 1914, having gained experience with Douglas Mawson’s 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The decision to abandon Endurance presented Hurley with an unenviable task. With a long march ahead into an uncertain future, weight was at a premium and he was forced to destroy 400 plates to lessen the load.

    Bonhams Head of Books, Manuscripts and Photographs, Matthew Haley said: “The fate of Endurance and the crew’s astonishing and tortuous journey back against all the odds is rightly seen as a testament to the human spirit under extreme pressure.  Hurley’s images convey the terrible situation in which the men found themselves, and have come to define  the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration as it drew to a close.” 

    Frank Hurley – Endurance in her death throes


    Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

    A newly discovered letter from Constance Markievicz is one of the highlights of Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on March 11. It is in reply to Eva Cumming, a hitherto unknown cousin in Australia, who had written to introduce herself after seeing Markievicz’s name in the Australian press.  Although Cumming’s letter is now lost, it must have expressed sympathy for the Republican cause because Markievicz writes that she is pleased, “to find that I have a cousin who is sympathetic & feels the same intense love for our country that I do”.

    The undated letter seems to be been written around September 25-26 1920. In it she refers to two attacks on September 23 by the newly formed ‘Black and Tans’ – auxiliary policemen in the Royal Irish Constabulary noted for their indiscriminate brutality.  Markievicz was on the run from the British authorities at the time.  She had played a significant role in the Easter Rising of 1916 and escaped the firing squad only because she was a woman. She spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Irish Republican cause, and in 1918 became the first woman ever to be elected to the UK Parliament although like all Sinn Fein MPs then and since she did not take up her seat.  It is estimated at £4,000-6,000.


    Monday, February 17th, 2020

    A total of 144 lots of Asian Art from a private collection in Wicklow will come under the hammer at Sheppards in Durrow on February 20.  The selection is broad and encompasses everything from tiny foo dogs to brush washers, monochrome and polychrome porcelain, cloisonne vases, jade pendants, bowls, censers, jardinieres and a couple of lots of Chinese  lacquered furniture. Oriental art and porcelain has become a growing sustainer of auction houses in Ireland and it is probably not unfair to remark that in this context Sheppards leads the field. 

    Chinese wucai enamelled sleeve vase


    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    With everything from longcase clocks, a Russian icons and a Killarney wood bookstand the Making Room Sale by Fonsie Mealy on February 19 offers much of interest.  The sale at The Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer is by way of being a clearout.  This no reserve auction will be of interest to bargain hunters, collectors, interior decorators and home owners. Lot 323 is a 19th century Killarney wood bookstand typically decorated and inlaid with shamrocks, harp and ruins and estimated at just €100-150. There are Crown Derby urns, Victorian button back sofas, barometers, a selection of clocks and all sorts of collectibles including lot 83, a 19th century Russian School icon on panel with an estimate of €700-1,000. 

    19th century Russian School icon . UPDATE: THIS MADE 420 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    THE most important collection of Rolling Stones history and memorabilia is to be offered at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on at the end of May – and it will be on view in Ireland in March. Property from Bill Wyman and his Rolling Stones Archive, courtesy of Ripple Productions, will include bass guitars, amps, wardrobes and memorabilia.

    Highlights include his 1962 VIX AC30 Normal model amplifier and Wyman’s guitar collection used on career defining performances, his 1969 Fender Mustang Bass Competition Orange, his 1978 Travis Bean custom short scale bass, 1974 Dan Armstrong prototype base, 1891 Steinberger Custom Short Svale XL series bass and more. The sale, from May 29-31, will feature more than 1,000 lots.

    “Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and
    will undoubtedly be one of my legacies,” said Bill Wyman. “It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world. I hope people will get as
    much joy from my collections as I have.” A portion of the proceeds of will benefit The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute).

    There will be a public exhibition of the lots at the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge, Co. Kildare from March 10 to April 20 and at the Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square, New York from May 4 to May 10.

    1969 Fender Mustang Bass with a Competition Orange finish designed by Leo Fender


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    There will be a chance to nab a bargain at no reserves store room sale by Fonsie Mealy which takes place at the Avalon Hotel, Castlecomer on February 19. The auctioneers say that Making Room will be of considerable interest to collectors and interior decorators. The catalogue, which lists 469 lots, is online.

    A 19th Century French Boulle Mantle Clock, by
    Jean Godde, Paris. UPDATE: THIS MADE 520 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, February 9th, 2020

    The UK’s Arts Minister Helen Whately has stopped the export from Britain of a sledge and flag taken on Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 – 1909 British Antarctic Expedition. The two, valued at £227,500 plus £8,750 VAT, had been sold to an overseas buyer. Now a UK buyer needs to be found and a decision on the export licence has been deferred to May 6.The Nimrod expedition was led by Shackleton, who headed three expeditions to the Antarctic in the early twentieth century. This one set out in a failed attempt to be first to reach the South Pole. The sledge and the flag were hauled, first by pony and then by the men, to within 97.5 miles of their objective before famously turning back to Discovery Point in 1909. They belonged to Dr Eric Marshall (1879 – 1963), surgeon, polar explorer and one of the group chosen to accompany Shackleton.

    Sir Ernest Shackleton’s (1874-1922) first experience of Polar expeditions was as third officer on Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition of 1901-04.

    The Flag from the Nimrod Expedition.


    Friday, January 24th, 2020

    This New York pier table dates to 1815 and will be on display at the Winter Show which opens at the Park Avenue Armory in New York today. The table is attributed to Duncan Phyfe and will be exhibited by Bernard and S Dean Levy. Objects from antiquity to the present will be on display at the leading art, antiques and design fair in the US. The 66th edition of this prestigious show brings together 72 of the world’s leading experts in fine and decorative arts. It runs until February 2.


    Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

    A total of 21 Claddagh rings from the collection of the Hon Garech Browne, founder of Claddagh Records, sold for a total of £75,759 at Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale in London today. They made various prices from £625 to £9,375 for a c1700 ring made by Thomas Meade of Kinsale or Galway. Most went over estimate and one lot, a c1820 ring estimated at £2,500-3,500 remained unsold. The top lot of the sale was an Anglo Indian ivory inlaid writing table, Vizagapatam, which made 471,000 over a top estimate of £180,000. A c1815 Irish Regency seven pedestal dining table once at Carton House with an estimate of £80,000-120,000 failed to sell. A set of eight Irish George III hall chairs from Killadoon House in Co. Kildare sold for £47,500 over a top estimate of £25,000. A caricature from Killadoon after Sir Joshua Reynolds depicting Thomas Brudenell Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, the Hon. John Ward, Joseph Leeson, later 2nd Earl of Milltown and Joseph Henry of Straffan made £87,500 over a top estimate of £6,000.

    (See posts on for January 12, 2020, December 31, 2019 and December 20, 2019)

    This caricature from Killadoon House after Sir Joshue Reynolds shows Thomas Brudenell Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, the Hon John Ward, Joseph Leeson, later 2nd Earl of Milltown and Joseph Henry of Straffan.