Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

    The Harrington Commode made a new world record for a piece of English furniture at auction. (click to enlarge)

    THE Harrington Commode, dating to circa 1770, made a new record for a piece of English furniture at auction at Sotheby’s in London on December 8.  It sold for £3,793,250 over an estimate of £600,000-£1 million. The serpentine commode was almost certainly crafted by Thomas Chippendale.

    It exceeded the previous world record for any piece of English furniture at auction by over £1 million.  Sotheby’s said it set an exciting new benchmark for English furniture.  The George III commode, previously housed at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire, was sold by order of the Trustees of the 10th Earl of Harrington’s Will Trust. Lord Harrington had extensive Irish estates.  His son, the 11th Earl, who died in 2009, was an Irish citizen and successful horse breeder who maintained studs in Ireland.  He had links to the Royal Family through the marriage of his grand-daughter, Serena Stanhope to the furniture maker Viscount Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
    The Harrington Commode was part of an Important Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Silver & Vertu sale which made £6,216,750. Henry House, Head of English Furniture at Sotheby’s, commented: “This remarkable commode which is outstandingly beautiful in both form and condition, was keenly contested by five bidders, the final price demonstrating true demand in the market for items of real quality, and I feel is justly deserved for an item that has been an honour to sell.”
    The previous world record for a piece of English furniture at auction belonged to a George II Parcel-Gilt Padouk Cabinet-on-Stand attributed to Thomas Chippendale, 1755-1760, which sold for £2,729,250 at Christies in June 2008.


    Monday, December 6th, 2010

    The Holy Office, a broadside from James Joyce, at Mealy's book auction. (click to enlarge and read) UPDATE: IT MADE 22,000

    A rare James Joyce broadside heads Mealy’s December sale of  books, literature, manuscripts, and maps on December 14 at the D-4 Hotel in Dublin.  Only a handful of copies of a caustic attack entitled “The Holy Office” are known.  It was distributed privately to friends. This one belonged to Thomas Keohler, poet and friend of Joyce. It is estimated at 15,000-20,000.

    A collection of four letters between Joyce and Keohler is estimated at 6,000-8,000 and a copy of the original recordings by Joyce of part of Finnegan’s Wake is estimated at 2,000-3,000.
    The 950 lot sale includes a first limited edition of Ulysses (7,000-9,000) and an original Cuala Press Visitor’s Book with 1,900 signatures. The most remarkable is an entry where W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne signed together on October 18, 1908. The poet and his muse were lovers for a brief time following the break up of her marriage to John MacBride. It is estimated at 8,000-12,000.  There is a collection of previously unrecorded letters by Sean O’Casey and first, signed, and limited editions by Oscar Wilde (The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and The Picture of Dorian Gray), Patrick Kavanagh, (The Green Fool, and Collected Poems), and Flann O’Brien (An Beal Bocht, At Swim Two Birds).
    UPDATE:  IN a highly successful sale the Joyce broadside sold for 22,000. It was bought by a private collector. A series of letters between Myles na gCopaleen (Brian O’Nolan) and his publishers and agents from the 1960’s also made 22,000.  The Cuala Press visitors book sold for 17,000 and the Sean O’Casey letters made 10,000.


    Monday, December 6th, 2010

    SHEPPARDS of Durrow, Co. Laois have again postponed their three day sale of 1,528 lots until December 14, 15 and 16.  Lots 1-595 will be sold on Tuesday, December 14 from 2 p.m., lots 601 to 1,248 come under the hammer on Wednesday, December 15 from 2 p.m. and lots 1,250-1,528 are to be sold on Thursday, December 16 from 2 p.m.   The continuing bad weather with historically low temperatures has forced the cancellation.

    In Cork the Woodwards auction has been put back to Wednesday, December 15.  In Waterford the sale at R.J. Keighery will now take place on Monday, December 13.  Marshs postponed Cork sale is on Saturday, December 11 as is the de Veres sale at Tinode House, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.