Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Friday, November 27th, 2020

    The illuminated Hannibal Lecter mask from the film Hannibal sold for a hammer price of €85,000 at Sheppards online sale of residual contents from Castlehyde House, Fermoy.  From the collection of MIchael Flatley, who is planning a refurbishment of the Co. Cork home he bought in 2001, the mask is signed by actors Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. It was at  €80,000-€100,000 the most expensively estimated lot of the sale. 

    On his retirement the man known globally as The Lord of the Dance took up art as an outlet for his creative force. One of his works, an acrylic on vinyl entitled The Finishing Line, made €37,000 at hammer against an estimate of €40,000-€60,000.  A Maitland Smith bar sold for €8,200, a pair of large gilt bronze figures of nymphs each holding a torch made €4,600 as did a championship sized snooker table. Other hammer prices included: a black marble and ormolu Medici lion clock (€2,800); a pair of hide upholstered library settees (€3,600); a portrait of James Joyce wearing a white suit (€4,000);  an extensive hunting scene (€5,200);  an 18th century walnut armoire (€1,450); a pair of carved parcel gilt settees (€1,700); a pair of bronzed sculptures of centaurs (€2,200); a hide upholstered chesterfield settee (€1,400); a set of ten 19th century dining chairs (€2,800);  a rococo carved giltwood coffee table €2,600); a library terrestrial globe (€2,600);  a full suit of armour made €3,400 one sold for €1,700 and another for €1,100; a pair of painted Gainsborough chairs sold for €1,800. The sale of nearly 700 surplus to requirements pieces mostly collected over the past 20 years will continue today when another 236 lots will come under the hammer online at Sheppards.


    Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

    An outstanding Louis XIV period cabinet by André-Charles Boulle was the top lot at Christie’s Exceptional sale in Paris with a video link with the auction room in London today. From the collection of Sadruddin Aga Khan it made €716,000. The sale realised a total of €2,842,250. Earlier today The Collector: Le Goût français auction made €1,947,625 and attracted bidders from 21 countries. A pair of Louis XV style Chinese biscuit parrots made €47,500 a top estimate of €20,000.

    André-Charles Boulle Cabinet sur piètement d’époque Louis XIV made €716,000


    Saturday, November 21st, 2020

    Farmhouse and cabin furniture from all over Ireland is highlighted in an authoritative new book by Claudia Kinmonth just published by Cork University Press. Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 illuminates a way of life lived by our not so distant ancestors that has almost vanished in Ireland.Lavishly illustrated, it illuminates the furniture and furnishings of rural Ireland. A chapter on chairs and stools, for example,  explains how the “creepie stool” had staked legs wedged into a thick seat. This allowed for easy replacement at a time when things we built to last for many generations. The chapter on small furnishings and utensils discusses work of crafts people like basket makers, potters, tin smiths and wood turners. From the smallest cabins to the largest farmhouses people owned and made things that reflected their needs and lifestyle, occupations and cultural history at a time when re-cycling applied to everything and many objects were re-purposed.  The book costs €39.

    Pine butter boxes in original form for packing 56lbs of butter, then recycled into a stool, an upholstered seat, and a sewing box/seat. Photo courtesy The Butter Museum, Cork.


    Saturday, November 7th, 2020

    A stunning array of Irish pictures from the 18th to the 20th centuries as well as Georgian and Regency furniture and decorative arts will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on November 10. If there is a certain sense of deja vu about the auction of contents from 44 Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin it is because this sale was first scheduled to take place in London last March.  The first lockdown landed and it was re-scheduled to November just in time for lockdown number two to take off. Things are different this time round, the auction world has adjusted spectacularly well to the online model and there is a zoom boom. 

    Irish art has fared very well in times of pandemic and this sale offers an exceptional William Scott and five works by Yeats. The paintings by Yeats include The Showground Revisited, painted in 1950 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000) and Young Men, painted in 1929 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000).  The Scott, entitled Deep Blues,  has an estimate of £300,000-500,000 / €339,000-565,000.There is  art by Daniel Maclise, George Barret, Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor, George Mullins,  James Arthur O’Connor, John Butts, james Humbert Craig, Jeremiah Hoad, Louis le Brocquy, Erskine Nichol, William Sadler, William Ashford, Douglas Alexander, Nathaniel Hone, Harry Kernoff and others including a set of 25 Views of Dublin by James Malton.
    These were all shown in Dublin a year ago as a curtain raiser to the November 2019 Irish art sale at Sotheby’s. Serious punters who viewed them then will have no trouble vividly remembering them now.  
    The elegant Dublin townhouse, home to the late property developer Paddy Kelly, was a wonderful setting for these paintings and antique furniture pieces like a pair of Irish mirrors and a pair of demi lune side cabinets in the manner of the Dublin maker William Moore. On offer too is a c1820 Irish Regency serving table, a set of four Irish hall chairs c1815 and a matched pair of table globes by Cary. A Victorian silver gilt replica of the Ardagh Chalice has an estimate of £3,000-£5,000.  An avid collector, Patrick Kelly (1942-2011) recognised the tradition of Irish painting from the eighteenth century through to the twentieth, complemented with fine Georgian and Regency furniture, silver and decorative arts, amassed from auctions and dealers over three decades. 

    An interior view of 44 Fitzwilliam Square


    Friday, November 6th, 2020

    Michael Flatley’s clearout of Castlehyde near Fermoy to prepare for a refurbishment offers something for collectors across the board – even those who might be into a spot of cannibalism. Pride of place in the sale, to be held online at Sheppards in Durrow on November 26-27, is the mask worn by Anthony Hopkins when he played Hannibal Lecter, the fictional forensic psychiatrist who liked to eat his victims. Signed by Hopkins and co-star Julianne Moore it is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.



    Not the usual stuff of country house sales, but the Lord of the Dance, who has poured millions into the restoration of the Palladian mansion on the banks of the River Blackwater, is in the realm of collectors who are more extraordinary than ordinary.  He is planning a major overhaul of the interior so these pieces are surplus to requirements.More than 700 items collected during the past 20 years will come under the hammer.  Period pieces include a pair of 19th century French marble console tables (€8,000-€12,000),  a pair of large gilt bronze figures of nymphs each holding a torch (€5,000-€8,000), a Victorian console table and mirror (€5,000-€8,000) and a pair of Edwardian satinwood wing armchair (€1,400-€1,800).  There are medieval style suits of armour (€500-€800 each) which are reproduction.  So are the Graeco Roman busts displayed in the dining room (from €500-€1,200).  There is a Louis XVI desk (€4,000-€6,000),  a full size billiard table (€3,000-€5,000), a hide covered Chesterfield (€1,000-€1,500) and some French Rococo style sofas.When he retired from dancing Michael Flatley took to art.  One of his pieces, entitled Finishing Line, is at €40,000-€60,000, the second most expensively estimated item in the auction. UPDATE: THE FINISHING LINE ARTWORK MADE 37,000 AT HAMMER

    19th century billiard table. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, November 5th, 2020

    Andy Warhol’s Mao comes up at Christie’s in New York on December 3. It is from the collection of Barbara Allen de Kwiatkowski, which will be offered across eight sales, beginning in New York this December with Post-War & Contemporary Art (December 3), Impressionist and Modern Art (December 4), Magnificent Jewels (December 8), Jewels Online (November 18 to December 1), Design (December 11), Old Master Paintings Online (November 13 to December 4) followed by the April 2021 sales of The Collector (April 8) and Prints & Multiples (April 21).

    Muse and close friend to Andy Warhol, she was part owner, cover star, and contributor to his Interview magazine. She and Warhol were famous at Studio 54 and shared a deep friendship. Highlights among more than 60 lots at Christie’s comprise works by Warhol including a silkscreen of Mao executed in 1973 ($1,000,000-1,500,000), an extremely rare portrait sketch of Barbara Allen drawn circa 1976 ($30,000-40,000), and a silkscreen titled VIP Ticket – Studio 54 executed in 1978 ($120,000-180,000). These will be offered alongside photographs by Peter Beard, another close friend. Also featured are important pieces of 20th century design including furniture by Diego Giacometti and vases by Jean Dunand and iconic jewels spanning designs by Belperron, Harry Winston, JAR, and Verdura.


    Monday, November 2nd, 2020

    This George II carved giltwood wall mirror from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit is at Sotheby’s Style, Private Collections sale which runs online until November 13. Sotheby’s describe the mid 18th century piece as probably Irish. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.


    Sunday, November 1st, 2020

    Props from MGM’s The Vikings, which was filmed in Ireland and ran for six seasons, will come up at an online auction by Sean Eacrett of Ballybrittas, Co. Laois on November 7. The first 279 items in this sale over over 1,000 lots are from Vikings, there are items from various other tv programmes as well as antiques and fine art from three period properties. There are timber thrones and cabinets, gilt candlesticks, painted timber shelves and furniture from various castles in the series, moulded heads of wolves, magic lanterns and viking accoutrements like brass and terracotta pots. The catalogue is online at Easy Live Auctions.

    Painted Cabinet of large Proportion. UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, October 29th, 2020

    Sotheby’s scored a white glove live streamed Impressionist and Modern Art auction from New York last night. Specialists in New York, London and Hong Kong took bids and interacted with auctioneer Oliver Barker. All lots were sold and the evenings auctions realised $284 million.

    The Impressionist and Modern sale totalled $141.1 million and was led by Giacometti’s Femme Leon which sold for $25.9 million. There was a new auction record for Giorgio de Chirico when Ariadne’s Afternoon made $15.8 million.

    The Contemporary Art sale brought in $142.8 million. A trio of Alfa Romeo concept cars led the sale and sold for $14.8 million. This was first in Contemporary evening art auction history. Italian architect and designer Carlo Mollino’s dining table caused a three-continent bidding battle. It eventually sold for $6.2 million, a record for any work of Italian design. It was from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.



    Monday, October 26th, 2020

    The Palace Collection is the title of a two day online only sale by the Co. Cavan auctioneer Victor Mee on October 28 and 29.   Lot 642 is a 17th century North Italian coffer on stand from Waterford Castle, lot 330 is a French giltwood and gesso side table with marble top. There is a collection of books by John Millington Synge from the Synge family home and an Irish mahogany coffer once owned by the Synge family.  Lot 772 is a 19th century revenue officials probing tool in a leather case. This was designed to find illicit poitin in haystacks.

    North Italian coffer. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,300 AT HAMMER