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    Tuesday, April 26th, 2022
    Sonja Landweer (1933 – 2019) – Lidded pot, 1976. UPDATE: THIS MADE £892.50

    This lidded pot by Sonja Landweer comes up as lot 64 at Bonhams Design sale in London on April 28. It is estimated at £800-£1,200. The sale also includes a vase by Sonja Landweer. The Amsterdam born artist came to Ireland to teach ceramics at the Kilkenny Design Workshops. Her work came to the attention of Irish gallerist David Hendricks, and she held many successful solo exhibitions of her unique ceramics in his Dublin gallery from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Along with Barrie Cooke she founded the Kilkenny Arts Festival (formerly the Kilkenny Arts Week) and hosted many Irish and international writers, poets, and artists, including Seamus Heaney. In 1995 when accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, Heaney read his poem To a Dutch Potter in Ireland, inspired by his friendship with Sonja. Her work is held in many public collections including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Princessehof Ceramics Museum in Leeuwarden, the Hildesheim Städtisches Museum in Germany, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Copenhagen, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Ulster Museum, Belfast. She was awarded the prix artistique at the Biennale Internationale de Ceramique d’Art at Vallauris, France in 1974 and an honorary award from the National College of Art & Design in Dublin in 1992 


    Saturday, March 26th, 2022

    This Chinese Export lacquered work box and writing stand has provenance by repute to the Drogheda born Irish actress Eliza O’Neill, Lady Wrixon-Becher (1791-1872). Regarded as the foremost tragic actress on the London stage and  worthy successor to Sarah Siddons she earned a reputation for meanness, possibly because she had a large family to support. Thackery included this trait  in his portrait of Irish actress Emily Costigan in his novel Pendennis.  At the height of her fame she returned to Ireland in 1819 and concluded her career. Eliza married Sir William Wrixon-Becher (1780-1850), improving landlord, MP for Mallow and an amateur actor.  Mother of three sons and two daughters she spent the greater part of her retirement at her family home at Ballygiblin, Co. Cork.  The workbox comes up at Bonhams Home and Interiors sale in Knightsbridge on March 29-30 with an estimate of £600-£800 (€714-€953). UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Friday, March 18th, 2022
    George III Irish provincial silver marrow scoop – Thomas John Burke, Limerick, 1784 – 1800. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £573.75

    A rare Limerick silver marrow scoop comes up at Bonhams Home and Interiors sale in London on March 29-30. Made by Thomas Burke it is estimated at £800-£1,000. The sale features a number of items of Irish silver from the Peter Ticher collection which includes a pair of George II Irish cast silver candlesticks by Matthew Walker, Dublin, 1730–1731. Estimates range from £100-£4,000. Highlights include An 18th century Irish silver cream jug with no maker’s mark, only crowned harp and Hibernia, circa 1750 (£500-£600); a collection of Irish silver bright-engraved flatware, varying makers (£400-£600) and eleven Irish provincial silver teaspoons by Carden Terry & Jane Williams, Cork, stamped with maker’s mark CT over IW, and stamped Sterling, circa 1810 (£300-£400).


    Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
    William Bartlett: Returning from the Fair. UPDATE: THIS MADE £35,250

    In the 19th century, life for tenanted farmers on the islands off the west coast of Ireland was tough. Their small holdings were barely sufficient to support livestock, and they faced the additional challenge of transporting back home the animals they had bought at fairs on the mainland. Since their boats were too small to accommodate the cattle, the farmers and their wives had no option but to tow the beasts across the treacherous sounds. The drama of this perilous journey is depicted in William Bartlett’s Returning from the Fair at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings sale in London on  March 30. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

    William Bartlett (1858 -1932) was only 20 when in 1878 he first became captivated by the west of Ireland during a summer visit made with the American painter, Howard Helmick. It was not until 1886, however, after many years of artistic training – mostly in Paris where he absorbed the innovative naturalism of Jules Bastien-Lepage – that he returned to the area. The Connemara light and the hardships experienced by the people inspired some of Bartlett most powerful works and proved a life-long inspiration. In a note on Returning from the Fair, painted in 1888, he wrote, ‘To the periodical Markets, held on the mainland, the inhabitants of the outlying islands are often obliged (owing to the smallness of the boats) to tow their cattle after them.’


    Friday, February 11th, 2022
    Iohannes Haughton (probably John Houghton, Irish, fl. 1741-1775): A mid 18th century sculpted white marble bust of Jonathan Swift. UPDATE: THIS MADE £10,500 AT HAMMER – £13,375 WITH PREMIUM

    This sculpted portrait of Jonathan Swift by John Houghton comes up as lot 185 at Bonhams Connoisseur’s library sale at Knightsbridge in London on February 15. There is an interesting provenance to the piece by repute displayed at the Swift ancestral home, Swiftsheath, Kilkenny, Ireland. It came from Robert Swift Esq. (d. 1842), great great grandson of Jonathan Swift’s uncle Godwin Swift, 1627-1695 who raised the writer when his own father died prematurely, and was presented in 1847 to Godwin Swift Esq., cousin of Robert Swift. It passed by descent to
    Godwin Swift Esq., grandfather of the present owner and author of a handwritten family record (one of a several) compiled between 1928 and 1940, whereby the bust is mentioned. It is estimated at £5,000-8,000.


    Thursday, February 3rd, 2022
    George Chinnery – A Tanka boat dwelling with Tanka boatwomen and pigs, Macau, 

    The peripatetic life of the 19th century Irish painter George Chinnery (1774-1852) took him from the Tipperary of his birth to London, then to Serampore in West Bengal via Madras, Calcutta and Dacca. Fleeing his creditors, he arrived in Macau in 1825 and made the island his home until his death in 1852. He became fascinated by the artistic possibilities of Macau’s shoreline and the local tradespeople going about their everyday lives. One of his paintings on this theme, A Tanka boat dwelling with Tanka boatwomen and pigs, Macau highlights Bonhams Travel and Exploration sale in Knightsbridge on March 2. It is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

    Rhyanon Demery, Bonhams senior picture specialist, said: “A Tanka boat dwelling with Tanka boatwomen and pigs, Macau vividly depicts members of the Tanka people – a distinct and ancient ethnic group who lived along the shore of Macau. Often viewed as outcasts by the Chinese authorities Tankas lived on junks, tank being the Cantonese word for boat and ka the word for family. Today they are more usually known as Boat People and, although many have now built lives on dry land, they preserve the unique culture that so captivated George Chinnery nearly 200 years ago.”


    Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

    This Irish Neolithic bog oak dug out canoe made a hammer price of £7,500 at Bonhams in Edinburgh today. It had been estimated at £2,000-£3,000. It was from the Jim Lennon collection of silver, Asian and European works of art.

    (See post on for January 17, 2022)


    Monday, January 17th, 2022
    UPDATE: THIS MADE £7,500 at hammer

    An Irish Neolithic bog oak dug out canoe comes up at Bonhams in Edinburgh on January 26. Estimated at £2,000-£3,000  (€2,398-€3,597) it is among the highlights of the Jim Lennon collection of silver, Asian and European works of art. One day in the 1970s, a Church of Ireland clergyman the Reverend Con Auld was driving through rural county Fermanagh when he noticed a group of boys tending a bonfire. Curious, he stopped the car and discovered that the firewood consisted of bog oak canoes recently uncovered by contractors constructing a nearby road. Anxious that this this piece of Irish history should not be lost for ever, Rev Auld bought one of the canoes from the youths and drove off with it in his trailer. It will be offered at Bonhams with no reserve.

    Jim Lennon built up his collection over 40 years in Northern Ireland and writing in the forward to the sale catalogue he explains his guiding principles: “I like to think that everything I bought showed skilled individual workmanship, whether in wood, stone, silver, ceramics or any other medium.”


    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.


    Tuesday, January 11th, 2022
    Caine’s signature frames

    Much loved actor Michael Caine is downsizing. His personal collection is to be sold at Bonhams in London on March 2. For six decades, he has lent presence and distinction to every role he has undertaken – from the era-defining Alfie to classic films such as Get CarterZulu and Educating Rita; from his Oscar-winning performances in Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules to Batman’s unflappable butler, Alfred. Among the highlights are his Rolex wristwatch, a portrait of Sir Michael Caine by John Bratby, a large Italian cinema poster for Zulu, a director’s chair associated with Get Carter and Les amoureux dans l’arbre by Marc Chagall.