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    DONEGAL CARPET IN REMARKABLE CONDITION SELLS AT SOTHEBY’S

    Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

    This early 20th century Donegal carpet in remarkably fine condition sold for 5,292 GBP at Sotheby’s in London today. It came up at a sale of Art of the Islamic World including fine rugs and carpets and had been estimated at 4,000-6,000. Made in Killybegs in the early 20th century the carpet, with the label of Maple and Co. London and Smyrna, was discovered about 40 years ago in a sealed room by an antique restorer working on some library panels. It was thought then to have been stored for at least 50 years. The father of the present owner bought it, but found it too big for his home and passed it on to son, who also found it to be too big. So it has been stored ever since. It measures 368 cm x 265 cm approximately.

    THE LARGEST WHITE DIAMOND EVER AT AUCTION

    Friday, March 25th, 2022
    Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewellery, with The Rock. UPDATE: THIS MADE CHF21,681,000 / $21,894,082 / €20,722,133

    The Rock, the largest white diamond ever to appear at auction, will come up at Christie’s in Geneva on May 11. Mined and polished in South Africa over two decades ago the 228.31 carat pear-shaped diamond is estimated at $20-30 million. Graded by the Gemmological Institute of America as G colour, VS1 clarity, The Rock is accompanied by a letter from the GIA stating that it is the largest existing D-Z colour pear-shaped diamond ever graded by the laboratory. The previous auction record for the largest white diamond was a 163.41 carat gem, which sold at Christie’s Geneva in November 2017 for US$ 33,701,000.

    Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewellery said: “The Rock will join the very best of legendary gemstones which have passed through Christie’s global salerooms since 1766. The market for diamonds is particularly vibrant and we are confident that this sensational gemstone will capture the attention of collectors across the globe this Spring season.”

    BRIAN KENNEDY: ART HISTORIAN AND ULSTER MUSEUM CURATOR

    Friday, March 11th, 2022
    Brian Kennedy

    The art historian Brian Kennedy, who died in February, was curator of 20th century art and later Keeper of Art at the Ulster Museum, for which he acquired many important contemporary works. As an academic he was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge. He produced the catalogue raisonne on Paul Henry and his PhD under Anne Crookshank at Trinity College Dublin formed the basis of a ground-breaking book, Irish Art and Modernism, 1880-1950. Those who love Irish art owe him a debt of gratitude for his very accessible work and contribution to the promotion of Irish art and artists. Brian Kennedy was 79.

    THE ENIGMA BLACK DIAMOND SOLD FOR £3.16 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

    Thursday, February 10th, 2022
    The Enigma

    The Enigma black diamond, weighing in at 555.55 carats, sold at Sotheby’s for £3.16 million. The buyer paid in cryptocurrency. The origins of the billion year old carbonado stone are shrouded in mystery and one theory is that it was carried to earth by an asteroid.

    Sotheby’s did not identify the purchaser but after the auction cryptocurrency entrepreneur Richard Heart took to social media to claim that he was the buyer of The Enigma. He told his more than 180,000 Twitter followers that “as soon as the payment’s gone through and possession’s been taken” the gem would be renamed the “HEX.com diamond”, in reference to the blockchain platform he founded.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for January 18, 2022)

    BONHAMS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BUKOWSKIS

    Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

    Bonhams has announced the acquisition of Bukowskis, the leading auction house in the Nordic region. Established in 1870 and with its flagship saleroom in Stockholm, Bukowskis is renowned throughout Scandinavia. During recent years they have transformed themselves from a much-loved, traditional, and respected brand into an innovative digital presence that attracts more than one million users every month. Last year, Bukowskis sold 11 out of the 15 most valuable artworks in the Swedish market. The acquisition is part of Bonhams strategy to further the development of Bonhams into a digital leader and a truly global player with a balanced presence across the US, Europe and Asia.

    TREASURE TROVE OF ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH LITERATURE SAVED FOR UK

    Thursday, December 16th, 2021
    Robert Burns First Commonplace Book

    The most important Brontë material to come to light in a generation and two of the greatest Scottish manuscripts in private hands are among a treasure trove of English and Scottish literature at the Honresfield Library saved for the nation in the UK. The Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) has just announced that it has successfully raised over £15 million to acquire the historic manuscripts and books which includes manuscripts by the Brontës, Jane Austen, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. FNL will donate every manuscript and printed book to libraries and writers’ houses across the UK so that they are accessible to everyone.

    Earlier this year Sotheby’s announced that the manuscripts, first editions, letters and bindings that make up the legendary Honresfield Library – assembled with passion by self-made Victorian industrialists William and Alfred Law at the turn of the 20th century – were to be offered at auction in a series of three sales starting in July 2021. Working together with the UK charity FNL Sotheby’s agreed to postpone the commencement of the auctions to allow for negotiations for the entirety of the library to be acquired by a consortium of institutions for the nation.

    Following the appeal to public and private donors over the course of the past few months, FNL has successfully raised over £15 million to purchase the library for the nation.

    (See posts on antiquesandartireland.com for May 25 and June 17, 2021)

    A LITTLE BIT OF CHRISTMAS CHEER AT JAMES ADAMS

    Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

    Fresh from the success of an At Home sale today Adams will spread a bit of Christmas cheer with their final sale of the year tomorrow. Their auction of 251 lots of fine wines and spirits gets underway online from 2 pm. On offer is an appetising selection of Christmas bonhomie – the right tonic to help you enjoy yet another Covid Christmas. The sale kicks off with one bottle of 1959 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac which is estimated at 1,500-2,500. A case of Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape from 1995 has an estimate of 900-1,100 and there is no shortage of choices to browse online.

    Nine bottles of MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA, Chardonnay, 1997, Limari Valley, Chile (550-750)

    TOP LOTS AT THE JAMES ADAM FINE JEWELLERY AUCTION

    Friday, December 10th, 2021
    Diamond single stone ring makes 40,000 at hammer

    This diamond single stone ring with central asscher-cut diamond weighing 5.20cts within a four-claw setting and baguette-cut diamond shoulders made a hammer price of 40,000 at the James Adam sale of fine jewellery and watches this week. It was the top selling lot in an auction where a four hoop diamond bangle and c2005 diamond necklace by Stephen Webster each made 24,000.

    GRAFTON ARCHITECTS WIN STIRLING PRIZE

    Saturday, October 16th, 2021
    Artistic or what? Grafton Architect’s Town House at Kingston University

    The student town house by Grafton Architects at Kingston University near London has been awarded the Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The judges said it expertly captured  the spirit of learning and the value of community cohesion. Set back from the street, the project extends the public realm, generously blurring its boundary with the pavement and inviting everyone in – students, locals and visitors alike. There are no barriers. A 200m long six-storey, deep colonnade offers shadow and shelter, with terraces and gardens above creating shelves of connected public space. The facades are permeable: open and transparent at the lower levels. Speaking on behalf of the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize jury, Lord Norman Foster, said: “Kingston University Town House is a theatre for life – a warehouse of ideas. It seamlessly brings together student and town communities, creating a progressive new model for higher education, well deserving of international acclaim and attention.

    The Dublin architecture firm is no stranger to big awards. It took the inaugural prize for the World Building of the Year in 2008 with the Luigi Bocconi University Building in Milan. Last year Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, received the 2020 Pritzker Prize. The first women to be jointly recognised for the award also received the Royal Gold Medal 2020 from RIBA.

    SNOW WHITE WON’T BE CHEAP AT SOTHEBY’S FILM POSTERS SALE

    Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

    The 1937 poster for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the most expensively estimated lot at Sotheby’s online auction of original film posters. This was Walt Disney’s first feature film so it is a prized piece for any collector. It features the full cast with the dreamy castle in the background and is estimated at £12,000-18,000. The sale runs online from August 27 to September 7. The lots on offer demonstrate over 100 years of cinematic history from across the globe. There is promotional materials including posters, lobby cards, production stills and original artworks used to herald some of the world’s most iconic films with estimates from £300 upwards.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £32,760