Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, June 8th, 2024

    Confidential notes on IRA activities in the period from 1941-47 are included Purcell Auctioneers sale of the Library of the late Dr. Garret FitzGerald (1926-2011) and another private library in Birr on June 26. The proceeds from the auction of the library of the former Taoiseach will be donated to Focus Ireland, the homeless and housing charity. A total of 656 lots will come under the hammer and the catalogue is online.

    Confidential IRA notes were prepared in the office of the Minister for Justice. This copy No. 26 was issued to Colonel Dan Bryan, the renowned Military Intelligence officer. It contains detailed information mostly unavailable elsewhere on activities of the IRA in Ireland and Britain during the Second World War, Stephen Hayes’ kidnapping, government executions, and other incidents plus biographies of those involved. According to one researcher the documentation relied on intelligence from the Special Branch. Nevertheless they are an exhaustive record of the years following the establishment of the state. Relatively few copies of these handbooks were produced and they were not given to every cabinet minister. Six copies of the ‘Notes on events 1931-1941’ were distributed, while ‘Notes on IRA activities’ had also a very limited circulation. This copy is estimated at 750-1,200. UPDATE: THIS MADE 440 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

    This 19th century band stand originally from the St. Louis Convent in Co. Monaghan made 5,000 at hammer

    A rare 19th century bandstand from the St. Louis Convent in Co. Monaghan made a hammer price of €5,000 on day of Victor Mee’s two day summer garden sale today. It comes complete with cast iron Corinthian columns, timber frame and zinc roof. The guttering, not in the photograph, is included. A good quality wrought iron French greenhouse in the Victorian style made 6,200. A pair of bronze statues of foals and a bronze of a bellowing stag each made 4,000 and a decorated moulded sandstone fountain made €3,900. A set of entrance gates with cast iron gates posts made 3,200 and a pair of 19th century cast recumbent lions made 2,950.


    Friday, May 17th, 2024

    Murray Arbeid Diamante Star Gown

    Princess Diana’s elegance and a Royal Collection – the largest curated collection of Princess Diana’s items since her historic 1997 auction – will come up at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles on June 27. Before that sale highlights will be on view at the Museum of Style Icons and Newbridge, Co. Kildare from June 11 – 27. Fifteen spectacular lots from this dazzling collection will be showcased at an exclusive private exhibition at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York–the collection’s only North American preview–before the auction. A breathtaking constellation of Princess Diana’s highly glamorous gowns, dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories used in her most photographed appearances and most iconic style moments will be featured at her favourite hotel in New York. Diana was often photographed here and became part of the hotel’s storied history in the now legendary Carlyle elevator ride shared by Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs when she sang “Beat It.”

    On offer are Diana’s most iconic fashion statements such as a Murray Arbeid midnight blue strapless tulle Diamante Star gown with a fitted bodice worn twice in 1986, at the Phantom of the Opera premiere, at a dinner at Claridge’s for King Constantine of Greece and photographed by Lord Snowdon wearing the gown in 1997 for her charity auction ($200,000-$400,000); Diana’s off-the-shoulder Spanish flamenco-style magenta silk and lace evening dress designed by Victor Edelstein worn in London and in Hamburg in 1987 ($200,000-$400,000); ensembles designed by Diana’s favourite designer Catherine Walker including a pink floral shirt dress designed by Walker for her clothing label The Chelsea Design Company ($100,000-$200,000), a Victorian revival evening gown not worn in public ($100,000-$200,000), and Walker’s two-piece yellow and navy skirt suit Diana was photographed wearing in 1989 in Hong Kong during a visit to Tamar, a British Forces shore base and when Diana gave a speech and awarded the Gopaul family the award for Family of the Year in London in 1990 ($30,000-$50,000).

    Catherine Walker Hong Kong outfit.


    Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

    This 202 carat Yellow Rose diamond sold for CHF6,095,000 /US$6,710,595, the second highest price ever paid for a yellow stone above 200cts at Christie’s.

    The Magnificent Jewels auction at Christie’s in Geneva today totalled CHF49,242,200 / US$54,215,662, with deep bidding from a full saleroom, on the phones and online. Led by the Yellow Rose diamond of 202 carats the auction was 97% sold by lot and 98% sold by value.  Max Fawcett, Head of Jewels Europe commented: “There is nothing better as an auctioneer than a full and engaged sale room, and to achieve such strong results – 97% by lot and 140% of the low estimate – is remarkable. The market for coloured gemstones and signed jewellery is on fire and I could not think of a better way to start the 2024 season. We now look forward to Hong Kong, New York, Paris and London.” 


    Saturday, May 11th, 2024

    The Allnatt, a fancy vivid yellow diamond of 101.29 carats at Sotheby’s, Geneva. UPDATE: THIS WAS NOT SOLD

    Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds and lots and lots of diamonds – what’s not to like?  Traditionally this is the month for sales which bring a global audience of very rich buyers to Geneva for eye watering jewels with all sorts of exotic provenance and stories histories.

    The collections of modern and historic jewellery at sales like these are fascinating. Some lots make millions.  But passion for fine jewellery is not the exclusive preserve of the super rich. There will be plenty of pickings for the rest of us at sales on May 14 at both James Adam in Dublin and Matthews in Kells and O’Reilly’s in Dublin on May 15 with no shortage of choices across all price levels.

    An exceptional pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond ring  at Christie’s.  The 5.03 carat ruby originated in Burma (Myanmar). UPDATE: THIS MADE 1 MILLION CHF AT HAMMER (€1.02 MILLION)

    On the international scene yellow diamonds are the flavour of the month this month. Christie’s will offer The Yellow Rose in Geneva on May 15, an unmounted rare fancy intense yellow pear modified and brilliant cut diamond of 202.18 carats. Like most intense yellow diamonds it is from South Africa where deposits are rich in nitrogen.

    Sotheby’s claim to have one of the world’s most significant fancy vivid yellow diamonds as a highlight of their magnificent jewels sale in Geneva on May 14.  The Allnatt – named for its first recorded owner Major Alfred Allnatt, renowned British racehorse owner, philanthropist and patron of the arts – weighs in at 101.29 carats and is celebrated for its richly saturated gold colour, older cutting style and elegant 1950’s mounting by Cartier.  It too originates in South Africa and the estimate is 5.6 million – 6.5 million Swiss francs (€5.74 million – €6.67 million).

    Both sales are distinguished by one of a kind pieces and historic and modern jewellery from houses like Harry Winston, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, JAR and many others. 

    Turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet at Adams. UPDATE: THIS MADE 19,000 AT HAMMER

    Meantime in Ireland viewing is underway both in Dublin and in Kells for the jewellery sales on May 14 at Adams and Matthews and the regular monthly jewellery and silver sale at O’Reilly’s of Francis St. in Dublin takes place on Wednesday.  Top lots at Adams include a c1960 Serpenti bracelet watch and a ruby and diamond ring both by Bulgari.  Each is estimated at €40,000-€60,000. A rare turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet by Fred, Paris c1960 is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  

    A Trinity bangle by Cartier is estimated at €6,000-€8,000 while a Trinity ring by the same maker (€700-€900) is one of a selection of lots available at under €1,000 in a catalogue with 268 lots in total.

    A vintage diamond and enamel ring by David Morris hallmarked London 1975 is the top lot at O’Reilly’s with an estimate of €58,000-€65,000. It comes with a gold rope link and black enamel surround. A total of 234 lots will come under the hammer.

    A selection of lots from Matthews 

    In Kells the auction at Matthews will offer silver and gold from various executor instructions, pawnbrokers unredeemed pledges and lots from private clients.  The top lot is a Toi et Moi diamond ring (€12,000-€18,000).  There is much to choose from in a wide selection of rings, brooches, bracelets, earrings, pendants and wristwatches.  Happy hunting….


    Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

    John Lennon’s long-lost Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar, used in the recording of The Beatles’ Help! album and film and many other seminal hits from the 1960’s will headline Julien’s Auctions’  Music Icons two-day auction event at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York on May 29 and 30. Considered the most important Beatles guitar ever to come to market it is expected to exceed its estimate of $600,000 – $800,000 and set a new world record for the highest-selling Beatles guitar. The guitar can be heard on “Help!” “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, “It’s Only Love” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face” and more. The Framus Hootenanny 12-string can also be heard on the The Beatles’ recording of “Girl” during the Rubber Soul sessions and on the rhythm track for “Norwegian Wood” played by George Harrison. By the mid to late 60s, the famous Framus was in the possession of Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon, who later gave the Hootenanny 12-string guitar to their road managers. It was recently discovered in an attic in the rural British countryside where it had lain forgotten and unplayed for over 50 years. 


    Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

    A c1960 diamond tiara by Chaumet. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 241,300 CHF (€246,035)

    This elegant diamond tiara was formerly in the collection of Anne Gunning Parker, Lady Nutting (1929-1990). It comes up at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva on May 14. Anne Gunning Parker was a renowned British-Irish fashion model of the 1950’s, born in Southern Rhodesia. In the early 1950’s she became a house model for Irish designer Sybil Connolly and modelled a Connolly ensemble on the cover of Life Magazine in August 1953. She frequently collaborated with photographer Norman Parkinson for Vogue, most notably for a series of fashion photographs shot on location in India.

    In 1961, Anne Gunning married the British diplomat and Member of Parliament Sir Harold Anthony Nutting, third Baronet Tiverton (1920-1999). He had served in the cabinets of Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. The Nutting family furthermore owned estates in Scotland and England. After retiring from politics he became active as an author and lecturer. This elegant diamond tiara was created by Chaumet in 1960. Lady Nutting had modelled a Chaumet tiara of similar design in a photo by Henry Clarke published in the May 1953 edition of Vogue France which focused on the upcoming coronation of Queen Elizabeth II later that year. It is estimated at $120,000-$180,000 (CHF 110,000-160,000).


    Sunday, March 31st, 2024

    This is Raquel Welch’s beaded and rhinestone gown designed by Bob Mackie and worn to a 1979 photoshoot. It comes up at Julien’s online sale in Hollywood on April 12 with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 as part of a sale titled Bombshell: The Raquel Welch Collection. One of Hollywood’s most famous sex symbols Welch, who died in 2023, became a pioneer of the strong female lead character from her roles in Fantastic Voyage, Hannie Caulder, Myra Breckinridge and The Three Musketeers for which she won a Golden Globe award.  There are annotated film scripts, memorabilia like her Screen Actors Guild card, costumes and pieces from her home. Among 500 lots are the earrings worn when she played herself in Season 8, episode 22 of Seinfeld and the iconic fur bikini from One Million Years B.C. which became one of the biggest pin up posters of all time. UPDATE: THIS DRESS SOLD FOR $6,500


    Saturday, March 30th, 2024
    A team of staff and volunteers at the Irish Museum of Time in Waterford are preparing to take shifts to change clocks as they go forward one hour tonight.  More than 600 clocks from Ireland and around the globe, including the oldest clock in the world with an anchor escarpment (the ticking mechanism) made in London by William Clement in 1663, will be adjusted.  Some of them are eight day clocks and have already been adjusted, others have little quirks and moving them forward is an exercise in patience.


    Monday, March 25th, 2024

    Orpens at Farmleigh is the title of exhibitions by Sir William Orpen and Goddard Orpen at the OPW Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin until August 25.  A Family Legacy displays a range of less well known paintings and illustrated letters by Sir William Orpen and members of his family. This runs side by side with an exhibition of photographs by Goddard Orpen (1852-1932) from a recently discovered collection of glass plate negatives documenting life in the home and an the farm.