Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

    A Swiss made gold pocket watch with historic British connections comes up at O’Donovan’s auction in Newcastlewest Co. Limerick on July 4. It was presented by Stanley Owen Buckmaster, who served as Lord Chancellor in the Asquith coalition government of 1915-16 during the First World War, to an old friend in memory of his father John Charles Buckmaster who died in 1908. John Charles Buckmaster was the founder of Teddington Library near Twickenham in London in 1904. The auction is online at Easy Live Auction and the watch is estimated at 300-400.

    The inscribed pocket watch


    Saturday, June 27th, 2020

    A total of 132 lots of art and design will come under the hammer at deVeres next Tuesday evening at 6 pm.  There is everything from smoked glass console tables to a set of nine 1970’s French dining chairs, Italian chrome and gilt open shelves to a Danish leather sofa. There are sideboards, low tables, Barcelona chairs, hanging lights, Art Deco dining chairs, Italian coffee tables, adjustable French floor lamps, low tables and mirrors. A selection of art to complement this design includes work by Charles Tyrrell, James O’Connor, Louis le Brocquy, Willie Evesson, Sean McSweeney, Eilis O’Connell and other artists.  This auction is online at The Saleroom.

    Italian leather L shaped Habart sofa by Max Divani. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 2,600


    Thursday, June 25th, 2020

    Antique furniture, mirrors, rugs, jewellery, silver, paintings, porcelain and collectibles will come under the hammer at a two day sale by Matthews in Kells, Co. Meath on June 27 and 28. Estimates are reasonable and the auction offers good value. There are 1,113 lots with various bidding options, including Easy Live Auctions.

    Lot 603 is this pair of Regency cast iron planters each 32 inches wide (500-800). UPDATE: THESE MADE 540 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

    A painting by Sean McSweeney acquired by the noted art collector Sir Basil Goulding comes up as lot 231 at the Lynes and Lynes online sale in Carrigtwohill on June 27. The Wicklow landscape, in need of considerable  restoration, was once in the boardroom at Gouldings Fertilisers on The Marina in Cork and is estimated at €500-€1,000.  In 1962 Sir Basil Goulding  was the founding chairperson of the Contemporary Irish Art Society along with Gordon Lambert, Cecil King, Stanley Mosse, James White and Michael Scott. The society aimed to encourage greater patronage of living Irish artists. Gouldings Fertilisers has been in Cork since 1856 when the company was formed.

    Among the other artworks on offer are Fishing Boats at Carraroe Pier by Charles Vincent Lamb and an Achill Island view by James Humbert Craig.  Each of these works carry an estimate of €1,000-€2,000. Collectors might find interest in a selection of English Victorian music hall and circus posters together as one lot (€300-€500). The sale features a number of writing boxes and an old metal documents box which belonged to Major J. Grove White, who compiled information about houses in North Cork. Among other lots is an Eileen Gray Bibendum armchair (€400-600) and a set of seven antique elm Windsor chairs (€700-€1,000) and an 18th century porcelain vase with the mark of the Emperor Yongzheng.



    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

    The most comprehensive collection of Steve Martin’s iconic costumes and memorabilia will come under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on July 18. The live and online sale will celebrate the career of the legendary American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician, and composer. There are awards, posters, musical instruments, magic props and personal items including his trademark white suit, the arrow through the head piece, 1976 Gibson Flying V “Toot Uncommons” Electric Guitar, Props and Costumes from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Little Shop of Horrors  and more.

    All proceeds will be donated to The Motion Picture Home in honor of Roddy McDowall, the late legendary stage, film and television actor and philanthropist for the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Country House and Hospital. MPTF supports working and retired members of the entertainment community.

    Steve Martin’s trademark white suit. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $22,400


    Sunday, June 21st, 2020

    Antiques month in London in June is off the menu this year.  The good news is that the Kensington Church Street Art and Antique Dealers Association is running a virtual summer showcase online at with items from ancient to contemporary available until June 30. It must be admitted that the theme of the showcase, Fit for Royalty, is not quite as up to the minute as Black Lives Matter but Kensington is a Royal borough with a long tradition of welcoming everyone. When it comes to the promotion of BAME art and artefacts the trade has never been backward.  There is no shortage of Asian art specialists on the street and tribal art has long been admired and promoted. Items on display include a Meiji period Japanese okimono of a hawk and snake, a selection of antique Chinese stands in different exotic woods, works of art and scholars items such as a late Ming bronze paperweight.  There are Chinese, Japanese and Korean ceramics and paintings from the 11th to the 21st century, Indian art including a mother of pearl hand washing basin and Chinese armorial porcelain for the west as well as exhibitions on the Georgian and Regency eras.  In keeping with the theme is a gothic revival oak centre table designed by A.W.N Pugin for Morel & Seddon, commissioned by King George IV for Windsor Castle.  In our new virtual world these are available to everyone without having to travel further than their own computer.

    Meanwhile Masterpiece Online runs from June 22-28. There  will be 138 exhibitors exhibiting online with digital presentations plus an online viewing room hosted by Artsy.

    An exceptional pair of William III japanned and lacquered armchairs from Reindeer Antiques  from the Kensington Church St. showcase.


    Sunday, June 21st, 2020

    The acoustic-electric guitar played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s acclaimed MTV Unplugged performance sold for $6,010,000 million at Julien’s Music Icons sale this weekend. The sale set five new world records for World’s Most Expensive Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Acoustic Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Martin Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Piece of Memorabilia and World’s Most Expensive Nirvana Memorabilia. This makes it one of the rarest and most valuable acoustic guitars in the world. The buyer was Peter Freedman, Founder of RØDE Microphones, who attended the live auction in Beverly Hills and successfully won the guitar in a bidding war among collectors and bidders all across the globe. Conscious that the global arts industry has been shattered by Covid-19 Mr. Freedman plans to display the guitar in a worldwide tour of exhibitions to be held in distinguished galleries and art spaces, with all proceeds (including the guitar) going to the performing arts.

    Over 800 items were sold at the Music Icons event with highlights including: Prince’s recently discovered lost “blue angel” Cloud 2 guitar that sold for $563,000; Elvis Presley’s stage worn ivory macrame belt with accented reflective stones sold for $298,000, nearly thirty times its original estimate of $10,000; Madonna’s ivory satin halter gown worn in her iconic 1990 “Vogue” music video sold for $179,200, almost nine times its original estimate of $20,000; John Lennon’s 1963 handwritten and annotated lyrics to “I’m In Love” sold for $102,400.

    (See posts on for May 18 and May 11, 2020)

    Peter Freedman with Kurt Cobain’s Martin Guitar.


    Saturday, June 20th, 2020

    Life in lockdown afforded many readers an opportunity to deeply reconsider their homes and especially their gardens.  A real opportunity to add antique ornament to a shady nook or a sunny spot arises at Sheppards sale of architectural ornaments and garden sculpture in Durrow on June 23.  Here you will find Neo-Classical urns, Gothic arches, gazebos, outdoor mirrors, sculpture, seating, ornaments and even an enormous bronze fountain with seven basins.  There are fountains, urns, planters, egg carriers, stone finials, staddle stones originally used as supporting bases to keep vermin in granaries at bay, now re-incarnated as garden conversation pieces, and a 19th century cast iron plough. The sale features Coalbrookedale cast iron garden seats in various patterns including fern leaf, a hardwood Lutyens garden bench and a pair of 19th century Dublin cast iron park bench ends. A selection of cast iron and stone figures, models of animals from bears and armorial lions to whippets and birds, moulded jardinieres and a Portland stone arch and an antique bellows all amount to a huge variety of choice.

    An 18th century Irish staddle stone  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,250 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, June 18th, 2020

    A lost masterpiece of Chinese porcelain comes up at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Chinese works of art spring sale series on 11 July. The Harry Garner Reticulated Vase was found in a remote European house almost 60 years since it last came to market. It was rediscovered by Amsterdam-based art consultant Johan Bosch van Rosenthal in the country house of the elderly lady who inherited it, surviving the last 50 years almost unblemished in a lively home surrounded by countless cats and dogs. 

    The magnificent yangcai reticulated vase belonged to two major collectors of Chinese art, Sir Harry M. Garner (1891-1977), a mathematician and celebrated collector of Chinese art, and Henry M. Knight (1903-1970), a Dutch collector who assembled one of the finest collections of porcelain from 1930 up until his death. This masterpiece ranks amongst the most complex and exquisite porcelains from the Qianlong period ever to have emerged on the market.

     The extremely small group of pierced, double-walled vases that were produced for the Qianlong Emperor were a technical tour-de-force that was only attempted under the stewardship of Tang Ying (1682-1756), the eminent kiln supervisor, who produced such pieces in very limited quantities during the seventh and eighth years of the Qianlong reign, 1742 and 1743.  A record for the twelfth day in the eighth month, seventh year of Qianlong (1742) mentions a yangcai red-ground sgraffiato winter-green reticulated flower vase with a Xuande-style inner body which was praised as a masterwork by the emperor. It was to be stored at the Qianqinggong (Palace of Celestial Purity), where the Emperor held audiences and banquets. It is estimated at HK$ 70,000,000 – 90,000,000 / US$ 9,010,000 – 11,580,000 / £7,200,000 – 9,300,000.

    A Magnificent and Highly Important Yangcai Reticulated Vase
    Seal Mark and Period of Qianlong. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR US$9 MILLION


    Saturday, June 13th, 2020

    The daring heist that was Britain’s biggest robbery is recalled in the sale of a rare £1 million Treasury Bill at Dix Noonan Webb in London on June 24  A knifepoint mugging in broad daylight resulted in the theft of a staggering £292 million in treasury bills. Bought by financial institutions at less than face value and sold back to the government on maturity the secretive system of treasury bills enables the British government to manage short term borrowing. Bills collected by messenger from the Bank of England could be cashed in by whoever held them.

    On May 2, 1990 John Goddard, a 58 year-old messenger with money brokers Sheppards, was mugged by a thief who got away with 301 treasury bills and certificates of deposit. Only the $1 billion theft from the Central Bank of Iraq by one of Saddam Hussein’s sons in 2003 has exceeded this robbery.

    City of London Police and the FBI infiltrated the gang involved in laundering the bills and eventually recovered all but two of them. One man was jailed for his part but Patrick Thomas, the petty criminal from south London believed to have carried out the mugging, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head before he could be charged.
    The system is in place today but it is computerised.  The last bills were produced in September 2003 and one of these comes up at the live online auction by Dix Noonan Webb. Effectively a one million pound note it is on watermarked paper bearing the signature of Andrew Turnbull, then Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, and stamped cancelled. It is estimated at £5,000-7,000. The auction will feature 188 Irish banknotes including a rare Munster and Leinster Bank £10 Ploughman’s Note from December 5, 1931 (£2,400-3,000) and a £50 Central Bank of Ireland note from May 1943 (£3,400-4,000).

    UPDATE: THE Treasury Bill sold for £4,400