Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

    This Chinese lacquered palace folding screen with 12 gilded panels comes up at Sheppards four day sale of contents from Pouldrew House, Co. Waterford and other clients in Durrow from May 9-12. Decorated with exotic birds among blossums Lot 25 is estimated at 3,000-5,000. It is from the collection of the late Dr. Jan Mohamed. Around 2000 lots are to be offered, with 500 coming under the hammer on each day. The catalogue is online. Viewing in Durrow gets underway on May 6 and the catalogue is online. UPDATE: THIS MADE €2,900 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
    Freddy Mercury’s favourite waistcoat

    Stage Costumes, handwritten lyrics, fine and decorative arts, Japanese art, precious objects and a trove of Freddy Mercury’s personal belongings will be sold by Sotheby’s this summer. While Mercury captivated audiences across the globe, it was at his beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, West London – where he fashioned his own private world, assembling a collection that reflected and fired his expansive imagination.

    For some 30 years, Garden Lodge has remained almost entirely as Mercury left it, complete with the many works of art that spoke to him so deeply: from Victorian paintings and striking works on paper by the greatest artists of the 20th century, to the finest examples of the glass maker’s art (a medium he loved beyond measure) and other beautiful objects; and from the exceptional fabrics and fine works he would seek out on trips to Japan, to the smaller, more personal items that were such an important part of his daily life. All complemented by defining objects from his more public life: a number of never-before-seen drafts of the immortal song lyrics, along with some of the riotous costumes that were the hallmark of Mercury’s signature style.

    Freddy Mercury’s Martin D35 acoustic guitar

    This summer, the contents of Garden Lodge, all lovingly cherished and cared for over the last three decades, will be revealed to the public for the first time in a dedicated month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s in London, which will see every inch of the company’s 16,000 square foot gallery space dedicated to celebrating Mercury’s rich and multi-faceted life and passions, culminating in six dedicated sales in September, each one devoted to a different aspect of his life, both public and private.

    Pablo Picasso, Jaqueline au Chapeau Noir (1962

    Mary Austin, one of Mercury’s closest and most trusted friends, has treasured and cared for his home and everything in it for the last thirty years.

    The month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s this summer will see all 1,500 or so items from Garden Lodge displayed in a sequence of specially designed immersive galleries, each one devoted to a different aspect of Mercury’s rich and varied life. The exhibition will open on August 4, and close on what would have been his 77th birthday, September 5. Prior to the exhibition highlights from will tour to New York, London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.

    The six dedicated auctions which follow will kick off with a live evening sale on September 6 with a cross-section of the most significant items.


    Sunday, April 23rd, 2023
    Barges on a canal attributed to Dutch artist Jacob Maris UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,000 AT HAMMER

    A work believed to be by one of the most influential Dutch landscape painters of the last quarter of the 19th century will highlight Woodwards special sale of Irish and English silver and paintings in Cork on April 29.  The characteristic oil of sailing barges on a canal attributed to Jacob Maris (1837-1899) has been in the collection of a Cork family for three generations.   Details of its acquisition have been lost.  Maris, with his brothers Willem and Matthijs, belonged to The Hague School of painters and Woodwards reckon this work might sell for around €20,000.

    Prime examples of Irish Provincial silver include a c1780 cream jug by Samuel Reilly, Cork (€1,500-€2,000), a c1748 Limerick tablespoon by George Moore (€500-€600) and a set of five George III tablespoons by Joseph Gibson, Cork c1790 (€500-€600). There is a c1830 Irish silver dish ring by the Dublin maker Edmond Johnson (€1,800-€2,200).  A dish ring by this maker is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Among the other Irish pieces are a sugar basket by Joseph Jackson (€800-€1,200), a George III teapot by Edward Power (€500-€700) and a bright cut soup ladle by Michael Keating (€800-€1,200).


    Saturday, April 22nd, 2023
    Pair of Regency wingback armchairs. UPDATE: THESE MADE 4,800 AT HAMMER

    Cicero wrote that if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need. Many readers will find the words penned by the Roman statesman and philosopher as apposite today as when they were first written more than 2000 years ago. The concept of a sale devoted to furniture and collectibles associated with the libraries of grand houses in Ireland is seductive. Some pleasing and unique  treasures that lie hidden within will emerge at the James Adam library sale next Wednesday April 26. 
    Even if in 2023 many of us choose to do so online we must recognise that in our contemporary world no substitute exists for the quiet, understated comfort and tranquil atmosphere of the library of old.  Rooms like that cannot be realistically recreated in most modern homes but a quiet corner can be set up, a space for contemplation where ideas and actions can be formulated and advanced and the imagination can soar. There is quite literally no limit to the areas of interest that can be pursued in a library. A really good chair is essential.  It is a mystery to me why anybody would manufacture, let alone buy, a chair that is uncomfortable to sit in or difficult to get out of.  Adams has a fine example of a pair of Regency hide covered wingback armchairs. The estimate of €5,000-€7,000 is steep enough but they are pretty much guaranteed to be a comfortable and stylish investment.  Other chairs like a Georgian style wingback armchair together with a Victorian lady’s armchair in olive green leather are, at €600-€800, more affordable. An oak library armchair attributed to Strahan in the 19th century Mannerist style has an estimate of €1,500-2,000 and there is plenty of other examples to choose from.

     A portrait of Henry Boyle by Robert West. UPDATE: THIS MADE 9,500 AT HAMMER

    The auction is strong in fine antique furniture and there is no shortage of stimulating pieces from silverware, books, porcelain, maps, paintings, prints,  and collectibles like a small brass signal cannon or a brass binnacle with compass.  There are wine coolers and cellarettes, canterburys and music stands, benches and metamorphic library steps, a hide covered chesterfield sofa and an early 19th century folio or map stand.A chalk on grisaille portrait of leading Irish politician of his day Henry Boyle (1682-1764)  by Robert West (1710-1770) is estimated at €6,000-€10,000.  The Knight of Glin and Professor Anne Crookshank posited that this is the only known work by West whose Drawing Academy led to the creation of the  Dublin School.  Boyle, whose estates were centred at Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, was Earl of Shannon and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. A portrait of an unknown young lady by Garret Morphy (1655-1715), one of Ireland’s finest Georgian portraitists, is estimated at €8,000-€10,000.

    A c1780 side table attributed to William Moore UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,000 AT HAMMER

    A collection of 16th and 17th century seal spoons, used to seal letters and important documents and a map of Ireland by Abraham Ortelius was published in 1579 will interest collectors.  A c1780 Irish inlaid side table, attributed to William Moore, is estimated at €10,000-€15,000.  Mirrors, desks, oil lamps, Oriental rugs, Donegal carpets and a collection of African, Australasian, Pacific Islands, Inuit and other ceremonial masks and figures put together by Paddy McEntee S.C. all figure. The most expensively estimated piece out of a total of 444 lots is a set of Great Irish deer antlers and skull (€25,000-€35,000).  Lot 172 is a death mask of Patrick Kavanagh by Seamus Murphy, signed and dated 1967.  The poet and sculptor were contemporaries and first met in Cork in 1943. It is one of only three casts known to exist, with one at the Kavanagh Centre in Co. Monaghan, the other in the Dublin Writen’s Museum.  The estimate is €3,000-€5,000


    Saturday, April 15th, 2023
    Late 19th century Irish elm brass bound military chest UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,400 AT HAMMER

    An 18th century lacquered two door Chinoiserie cabinet on stand, a still life attributed to Dutch animal painter Melchior d”Hondecoeter (1636-1695) and an oval Louis XVI table by Jean Pierre Dusautoy (1719-1800) are among the main lots at Fonsie Mealy’s country house contents sale at Borleagh Manor near Gorey on Tuesday April 18. The sale, with 556 lots, offers a large selection of antique furniture, paintings, prints and collectibles.  It is being conducted on behalf of the executors of the late Malachy McDaniel Stone and other important clients. Viewing is at Borleagh Manor tomorrow and Monday and the sale will be at the Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey.  The catalogue is online.

    Borleagh Manor has a fascinating history.  It was acquired in 1771 by Henry Quin, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  Generations of his family lived there for nearly 200 years. Hollywood actor Richard Green, immortalised for playing Robin Hood in the long running tv series, bought it in 1963 and entertained many famous guests including Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant and Richard Burton.  Greene became a noted horse breeder and Master of the Wicklow Hunt,  In the 1980’s Malachy McDaniel Stone bought it and bred sport horses including a number of RDS winners. He sold it to UK racehorse trainer Sue Bramall in 1998, bought it back from her in 2004 and lived there until his death in 2016.  Borleagh has now been sold to Tara Studios and will become a film and TV production facility, with a number of studios to be built on the land.


    Wednesday, April 12th, 2023
    Air Jordan XIIIs worn by Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA Final

    Meet the priciest sneakers in the world. Michael Jordan’s signed Air trainers made $2.2 million at Sotheby’s to become the most expensive shoes ever sold. Jordan, considered the greatest athlete of all time, has become the most valuable athlete at auctions of sportswear memorabilia. Last year a jersey he wore at the 1998 NBA finals made $10.1 million. Jordan had the size-13 shoes on when he scored 37 points in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals series, carrying the Bulls to a 93-88 victory over the Utah Jazz.


    Monday, April 10th, 2023
    Irish blue limestone fire surround. UPDATE: THIS MADE 15,000 AT HAMMER

    An Irish blue limestone fireplace with a frieze pediment, carved shamrocks and a Sile na Gig will lead the James Adam Irish vernacular sale in Dublin on April 12.  This category is new to the Adams calendar and reflects the changing tastes and eclectic collecting habits of Irish auction goers.  This is an auction with something for collectors seeking treasures from a broad range of sources from film buffs to architectural historians to Irish country life enthusiasts.

    An early 19th century dresser from the set of The Banshees of Inisherin. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    There is a focus on traditional country made furniture, pottery, metalwork, treen and collectibles like an early 18th century Irish Penal Cross carved from yew wood (€5,000-€7,000).  The sale will feature original furniture from the sets of the Oscar nominated film The Banshees of Inisherin, as well as paintings by Irish artists with traditional interiors and objects.  Wonderful Irish craftsmanship is demonstrated in both glassware and silverware. An early 19th century painted pine dresser with a moulded cornice, three shelves and a fiddle front base is at €3,000-€4,000 the most expensively estimated piece from the film set.  Among other lots from the film are a 19th century painted pine knife box, a wooden salt box, a settle bed and an early 19th century settle press, a compact painted pine cupboard, a pine rack, a set of merchant/library steps, a dowry chest, a low stool, a pair of naive landscapes, a marriage dresser, spongeware potato bowls, a kitchen seat and a cupboard. Many are painted in strong tones of blue, brown, red and green.

     Irish Claddagh shawl. UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,000 AT HAMMER

    Craft design is showcased by textiles like woollen blankets and tweed.  A magnificent Claddagh shawl is featured as lot 90. In Derek Hill’s Still Life Study with Artist’s Materials on a Chair a painted pine Irish kitchen chair is depicted  against a creamy background with artist’s brushes and paraphernalia on the seat. Hill is most associated with the Tory Island group of painters.  Giant Muldoon at the West End Village, Tory Island by James Dixon is the catalogue cover lot for the auction.  Other artists include Markey Robinson, Cecil Maguire, Maurice Wilks, Marjorie Henry and an evocative 1889 work by Tom Mitchell titled “The Eviction” in which a seated elderly man awaits the arrival of the bailiffs with a shotgun in his hand. There is a Tara brooch, Irish dish rings, triple neck ring glass decanters from the 17th and 18th century, a c1785 Irish silver sugar bowl by John Warner of Cork, a spinning wheel, milk crocks, Carrigaline Pottery, a bog oak carved brooch of Blarney Castle and advertising material like old enamel signs. 


    Sunday, April 9th, 2023
    A pair of Meissen urns, each over four feet tall. UPDATE: THESE MADE 2,500 AT HAMMER.

    More than 750 lots of jewellery including antique diamond rings, a fine pair of Meissen urns and a gentleman’s Rolex watch are among the lots at Matthews sale in Kells, Co. Meath on April 15 and 16.  On offer is the collection of Anne Gormley, a well known huntswoman who ran a successful jewellery and antique business in Granard, Co. Longford.   Mrs. Gormley has recently retired, having reached the age of 90.  On offer are contents of the shop and her private collection, totalling more than 1,600 lots with estimates from €10 to €10,000. Jewellery and silver will come under the hammer next Saturday with antiques and collectibles on April 16.  Viewing gets underway in Kells next Thursday. 


    Saturday, April 8th, 2023

    A vintage lake boat formerly owned by Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara is among the lots at Hegarty’s online sale in Bandon on Wednesday April 12. Painted red and blue it was the private boat at her Glengarriff estate and is complete with a Mercury motor.  It is estimated at €3,500-€4,500.  Among the other lots are an Art Deco diamond ring, a fall front bureau, a pair of 19th century bronze ewers, mustard spoons by James Salter, Cork, 1823 and six George IV silver teaspoons by  John Seymour, Cork c1820.


    Friday, April 7th, 2023
    Irish penal cross- UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    This rare early Irish penal cross carved in yew wood dates to 1716. During a period of economic, social, and religious oppression of catholics in Ireland, known as the Penal Laws, Catholics found solace in portable, tangible relics of worship. Among these devotional artifacts were the Penal Crosses, simple wooden crosses with a figure of Christ carved in high relief at the center, and symbols representing the Passion of Christ around the central figure. Today, Penal Crosses serve as important cultural and historical artifacts, reminding us of the hardships faced by Irish Catholics during the Penal Laws, and their devotion to their faith during a time of great persecution. This one comes up as lot 10 at the James Adam Irish Vernacular sale on April 12 with an estimate of €5,000-€7,000. Viewing gets underway at St. Stephen’s Green today.