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    Friday, March 20th, 2020

    Tonight Bonhams announced the postponement and rescheduling of all auctions until April 21. This is effective immediately. UK salerooms at New Bond St. and Knightsbridge in London, Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong are all closed.

    Bonhams remains open via its website and specialists, who are working remotely, are happy to assist with queries. The Digital Consignment Hub – Sell with Bonhams – is available on the website for any consignments to future sales. The situation is being monitored re auctions after April 21 and updates will be issued.


    Thursday, March 19th, 2020

    A number of sales are to be held behind closed doors at Bonhams, which will temporarily close their offices to the general public on March 20. Among the sales going ahead in the near future in Knightsbridge in London are British and European Art on March 24, Modern British and Irish art on March 25 and Decorative Art and Design on April 1. There is to be a Home and Interiors sale in Edinburgh on April 1.

    The following sales due to be held at New Bond Street and New York will be rescheduled: Impressionist and Modern Art, Islamic and Indian Art,The Greek Sale and Photographs. Bonhams remains open for business remotely via its Digital Consignment Hub for consigners, and for clients wishing to register for sales.

    Summer Storm by William Crozier (1930-2011) (£5,00-7,000) at the Modern British and Irish Art sale on March 25.


    Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

    A rare first edition of one of the most popular books ever written, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone inscribed by author J. K. Rowling “to Bryony… the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter” sold for £118,000 in Bonhams Fine Books, Atlases, Manuscripts & Photographs sale in London today. It had an estimate of £70,000-90,000.

    Bryony Evens was the office manager for the literary agent Christopher Little, when in 1996, she picked up a three-chapter submission from the slush pile and started reading. Instantly hooked, Bryony asked Little to request that the author send the rest of the book. They soon received the full manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by the then unknown J.K. Rowling, and the rest is history.

    Head of Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts Department, Matthew Haley, commented: “This unique copy of the highly desirable rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone really was a little piece of Harry Potter history. I’m not surprised that it attracted such interest and achieved such an impressive price”.


    Monday, February 24th, 2020

    The Bitch Pack of the Meath Foxhounds by the Victorian painter John Emms (1843-1912) is a highlight at Bonhams sale of 19th Century and British Impressionist Art sale in London on April 8. Hunting with hounds is a tradition in Ireland that goes back to ancient times and features strongly in Celtic literature and legend. There is a pack recorded in the Meath area as early as 1723, although the Meath Hunt itself dates from 1817. The Bitch Pack of the Meath Foxhounds was painted in 1896 when John Watson was Master. It is estimated at £180,000-250,000.

    Bonhams Head of Victorian Paintings, Charles O’Brien explains: “Emms had the rare ability to give real life to his subject and was at his very best when painting dogs. In this unusually large work – it’s 40 x 60 inches – his confident use of fluid brush strokes gives weight and solidity to the different physical characteristics of the dogs as well as their individual temperaments.”

    The Bitch Pack of the Meath Foxhounds by John Emms


    Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

    Rare images from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed Antartic Expedition come up at Bonhams Travel and Exploration sale in London on February 26. The Antarctic explorer, born in Kilkea Co. Kildare, led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 is remembered for one of the great feats of human daring and valour. Attempting to sail across the Weddell Sea, the expedition ship Endurance became trapped in pack ice, eventually disintegrating in October 1915. The dramatic escape of the crew is the stuff of legend. The expedition’s official photographer, Australian Frank Hurley, captured life on board the stricken vessel and the ship’s final hours.  A newly discovered presentation album of Hurley’s Photographs of Scenes and Incidents in Connection with the Happenings to the Weddell Sea Party  consigned by a private owner in the UK is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

    Frank Hurley joined the Shackleton expedition as the official photographer in 1914, having gained experience with Douglas Mawson’s 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The decision to abandon Endurance presented Hurley with an unenviable task. With a long march ahead into an uncertain future, weight was at a premium and he was forced to destroy 400 plates to lessen the load.

    Bonhams Head of Books, Manuscripts and Photographs, Matthew Haley said: “The fate of Endurance and the crew’s astonishing and tortuous journey back against all the odds is rightly seen as a testament to the human spirit under extreme pressure.  Hurley’s images convey the terrible situation in which the men found themselves, and have come to define  the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration as it drew to a close.” 


    Frank Hurley – Endurance in her death throes


    Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

    A newly discovered letter from Constance Markievicz is one of the highlights of Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on March 11. It is in reply to Eva Cumming, a hitherto unknown cousin in Australia, who had written to introduce herself after seeing Markievicz’s name in the Australian press.  Although Cumming’s letter is now lost, it must have expressed sympathy for the Republican cause because Markievicz writes that she is pleased, “to find that I have a cousin who is sympathetic & feels the same intense love for our country that I do”.

    The undated letter seems to be been written around September 25-26 1920. In it she refers to two attacks on September 23 by the newly formed ‘Black and Tans’ – auxiliary policemen in the Royal Irish Constabulary noted for their indiscriminate brutality.  Markievicz was on the run from the British authorities at the time.  She had played a significant role in the Easter Rising of 1916 and escaped the firing squad only because she was a woman. She spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Irish Republican cause, and in 1918 became the first woman ever to be elected to the UK Parliament although like all Sinn Fein MPs then and since she did not take up her seat.  It is estimated at £4,000-6,000.


    Thursday, November 21st, 2019

    A small private Irish collection to be sold at Bonhams fine wine sale in London on November 28 comes with an interesting history. The 23 bottles, with a combined upper estimate of £40,000, are the remains of an entire drinks cellar purchased in a private sale in 1955 for £500 – equivalent in buying power to £12,500 today. From the 1945 vintage there are bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc as well as a case of Château Latour 1948 (£6,000-8,000) and five bottles of Cheval Blanc 1948 (£4,000-5,000). Most of these wines are all that remain from a cellar purchased by the vendor’s father from his cousin, based on a valuation by Berry Bros. & Rudd, who had originally suppled many of them.

    The auction will be led by wines from a Paris cellar, with an emphasis on Burgundies from top Domaines, Coche-Dury and Jacky Truchot.

    UPDATE: Irish cellar sold for a total of £78,400 including buyer’s premium

    A case of Chateau Latour 1948


    Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

    Bacchus by Rowan Gillespie made an above estimate £45,000 at Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London today. Conceived in 1984 and cast in 1985 the top estimate for the 51″ tall polished bronze piece was £25,000. It was a good day for Irish art at Bonhams. Still Life with Fish by William Scott sold for £81,000, Bog Pool by Paul Henry made £63,000, Achill Cottage, Lough Corrib and Turf Stacks with Mountains both by Paul Henry sold for £35,000 and £19,000.

    Two Forms by William Scott made £16,000; Ardglass by Colin Middleton made £15,000 and The Smooth Red Rock by Daniel O’Neill made £10,000.

    Rowan Gillespie – Bacchus


    Saturday, November 16th, 2019

    A gold Cork freedom box comes up at Bonhams Important Design sale in London on November 27.  The oval George III box inscribed with the arms of Cork surrounded by foliage and bright cut engravings was made by William Reynolds circa 1780.  There is a further gold freedom box by Reynolds, whose premises was at North Main Street in Cork, at the National Maritime Museum in London.  Bonhams estimate this one at £20,000-30,000.



    Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

    Paul Henry, whose painting Bog Pool is to be offered at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art in London on November 20, sometimes took a dim view of the world.  In a letter to the work’s owner he wrote ‘Personally I have often thought what is the good of painting little pictures of beautiful things when the world seems so full of ugly thoughts and deeds.” He did, however, concede: “but if these little pictures have brought any beauty and sweetness into some people’s lives their existence has been justified.”

    Bog Pool, estimated at £60,000-80,000 has remained in the same private collection for more than 100 years since its acquisition from the artist in around 1917. The family supported Paul Henry in his early career and a collection of six letters from Paul Henry to them with more observations on his work is included with this work.

    Among the other Irish highlights in the auction are Still Life with Fish, by William Scott (£70,000-100,000). Bacchus by Rowan Gillespie (£15,000-25,000), Nude by Basil Blackshaw (£10,000-15,000), The Smooth Red Rock, by Daniel O’Neill (£8,000-12,000) and Summer Storm by William Crozier (£7,000-10,000).

    Paul Henry R.H.A. (Irish, 1876-1958) Bog Pool. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £62,520