Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, January 25th, 2021

    The family collection of Patricia Mountbatten, whose father, son and mother in law were murdered by the IRA, will come up at Sotheby’s in London on March 24.  The 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma was one of seven people aboard Shadow V when it was blown up by the Provisional IRA off Cliffoney, Co. Sligo in August 1979.The party comprised Lord Mountbatten, Lord John Brabourne (Patricia’s husband), their 14 year old twins Timothy and Nicholas, Lord Brabourne’s mother Lady Doreen Brabourne and 15 year old Paul Maxwell from Fermanagh, a friend of the family.  Mountbatten, Nicholas Brabourne and Maxwell were killed immediately. Lady Brabourne died the next day and the others survived serious injuries. In a press release Sotheby’s say that Lady Mountbatten, who died in 2017, dealt with her tragedies with extraordinary courage and grace. More than 350 lots from Newhouse, the Brabourne’s 18th century home, will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s on March 24 with estimates ranging from £80 to £100,000. The sale unveils tales of an important family through the art and objects they lived with. Born in 1924 Patricia Mountbatten was great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, great niece of Russia’s last Tsarina, first cousin to Prince Philip and the daughter of Britain’s last Viceroy of India.  She had an unconventional upbringing, from weekend parties with King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at her parents’ estate in Hampshire to evacuation on the eve of the Blitz to stay with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III in her palatial Fifth Avenue apartment in New York. In 1943 Patricia entered the Women’s Royal Navy Service and met John Knatchbull, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005). They married in 1946. As a Captain in the armed forces, Brabourne had worked for Patricia’s father in India, and later became an Academy-Award nominated film producer, behind titles such as A Passage to India and Agatha Christie adaptations Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express
    When Patricia inherited her father’s peerages, the pair became one of the very few married couples in England each of whom held a peerage in his or her own right and the custodians of two great inheritances. John’s included Mersham le Hatch, an elegant house by Robert Adam in the Kent countryside, where the Knatchbull family had settled in the 15th century. Furnished by the great Thomas Chippendale in the 1770s, it held within it objects with extraordinarily diverse provenances, including the explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks who travelled to Australia on Cook’s first expedition, Jane Austen’s beloved niece Fanny and the Marquesses of Sligo. Patricia inherited precious objects associated with her parents from their Art Deco penthouse on Park Lane – with treasures from Edwina’s maternal grandfather, the great Edwardian financier Sir Ernest Cassel – and their time in India.
    Among the lots to be offered is an Anglo-Indian inlaid bureau on stand supplied by Thomas Chippendale to Sir Edward Knatchbull in 1767.  It is estimated at £40,000-£60,000.  The stand was made by Chippendale for the sum of £4 to house the Indian inlaid miniature bureau. The sale of 350 lots will offer jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculpture, books, silver, ceramics and objets d’art.


    Friday, January 22nd, 2021

    There was a world record for a rare Oliver Cromwell 50 shilling coin, dating from 1656 at Dix Noonan Webb in London on January 21. The gold coin sold for £471,200 over a top estimate of £150,000. There were bidders on the phone and the internet from the Far East, North America and the UK. The piece, struck by Thomas Simon, Cromwell’s chief engraver, went to an American buyer.

    Another highlight was a rare and fine silver Commonwealth Shilling by Irishman David Ramage. Once in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire, the shilling is decorated with a small shield of England and sold for £74,400 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000. It went to a UK Collector. David Ramage was Simon’s competitor and fell out of favour with Cromwell but had the monopoly on the production of 17th trade tokens.

    The Cromwell 50 shilling gold coin, dating from 1656, by Thomas Simon,


    Sunday, January 17th, 2021

    An extremely rare Irish Proof or Pattern Halfpenny  is one of a number of valuable Irish coins coming up at Dix Noonan Webb in London.  Bought for the equivalent of $2 many years ago it will be offered at a live/online auction of Coins and Historical Medals on on February 2.   It is from the collection of the late Eric Newman,  an important numismatist from the US. The George III halfpenny dates to 1774.  Complete with a portrait of the long haired king and with a harp on the reverse it is estimated at £2,400-3,000. An Irish George III pattern mule penny from 1813, one of only three specimens known, is estimated at £6,000-8,000.

    Irish Proof or Pattern Halfpenny 


    Thursday, January 14th, 2021

    The catalogue for Dolan’s first timed online art auction is now online. There is art by John Shinnors, Maggie Morrisson, Harry Kernoff, Mark O’Neill, Charles Harper and others together with antique and collectibles, rugs and books. The auction runs until January 25.

    Mark O’Neill – Marshmallow


    Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

    FROM jewellery to artwork there promises to be a diverse selection on offer at the virtual art fair which Hibernian Antique Fairs will run on January 16-17. A link to access the fair will be made available on the Hibernian Antiques Fairs facebook page on January 16. Dealers taking part will show photographs of what is on offer plus contact and delivery details. Among those taking part are Treasures Irish Art of Athlone. They will show a number of works by the self taught London born Irish painter Ken Moroney (1949-2018). He specialised in Impressionist painting and romantic Edwardian style subjects.

    Ken Moroney oil on board 7 x 9 inches ‘Beach Study, Biarritz’ 


    Sunday, January 10th, 2021

    The James Adam timed online sale of contents from the Wellington Road, Dublin home of former restaurateur Peter White, who is downsizing, draws to a conclusion on January 11.  Louis le Brocquy’s Red Roses For Me, a 1946 watercolour inspired by O’Casey’s play about a Dublin Protestant family against the background of the 1913 Lockout, is the top lot of 284. It comes with an estimate of €8,000-€12,000. There are no less than 31 works  landscapes and cityscapes by the Dublin born Italian Irish painter Niccolo Caracciolo RHA, who died in a car crash near Siena in 1989. The sale offers a selection of  furniture, silver, china, glassware, Persian rugs and household effects. 

    Rowan Gillespie Recumbent Nude, bronze on an oval base (€3,000-€5,000). UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,800 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, January 9th, 2021

    It isn’t great but it isn’t all bad either.  Pandemic closures are horrible but there is much to explore online.  If, for instance, you thought you might never get to visit the Mayfair Antiques Fair in London or the New York Winter Show, you were wrong.  In 2021 they are available at the touch of a button on your computer.This is part of an ongoing shift online.  All the data so far available from 2020 strongly suggests that large numbers of people who might never go to an auction viewing are buying online.  At Christie’s, for instance, preliminary figures suggest that 36% of all buyers last year were new to the auction house.   This experience is repeated everywhere else as the pandemic delivers new customers.Another statistic from Christie’s showed that 32% of all new online buyers were millennials (23 to 38 years old). In case you are wondering they are the ones who come after Generation X and before Generation Z.  So the pandemic is leading large numbers of buyers straight to auction, spawning a new generation of young collectors and opening up specialist fairs to people everywhere. Anything positive in the midst of this lockdown is to be warmly welcomed and this bit of positivity is likely to have a long term impact.

    A Chinese export reverse painted mirror in a Chippendale frame at the Mayfair Antiques Fair.

    The Mayfair Antiques Fair usually takes place at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.  This year it is in a new online guise. It opened on Thursday and continues today and tomorrow at There are 43 stands with a diverse mix of art and antiques dealers, mainly members of the British Antique Dealers Association or LAPADA, The Association of Art and Antique Dealers.There is much to choose from including a monumental first period Emile Galle vase enamelled with exotic flowers, a Chinese export reverse painted mirror plate in a Chippendale period frame, a pair of George III tea caddies made in London by William Frisbee in 1793, fine jewellery, art, antique furniture and collectibles.In New York the new virtual Winter Show runs from January 22-31 with preview access from January 19. It will bring together 60 leading international dealers with fine and decorative arts from ancient times to the present day.  Visitors can taken in visual presentations and view close ups.  All objects on view are vetted for authenticity, date and condition.There are leading dealers from New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Chicago, Zurich and a variety of other locations. Among them are Ronald Phillips from London, Aronson, Amsterdam, A La Vielle Russie, New York, Apter-Fredericks, London, Elle Shusan, Philadelphia, Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York and Les Enluminures of Chicago.

    Masterworks of Modern Japanese porcelain will be displayed by Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. in New York


    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)