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    Saturday, October 26th, 2019

    A marble portrait bust of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, 1st Baron Ashford, by John Henry Foley comes up at Bonhams in London on November 27.  A grandson of Arthur Guinness he was responsible for making the Guinness brand a household name in Ireland and overseas during the 19th century. In 1855 Guinness became the wealthiest man in Ireland and was elected the first Lord Mayor of Dublin under the reformed corporation.  John Henry Foley RA, RHA (1818-1874) depicted Guinness in the classical robes of a Roman dignitary symbolising his wealth and standing  Foley is best known for his heroic and monumental statues, including that of Daniel O’Connell on O’Connell Street, Oliver Goldsmith and Edmund Burke on the grounds of Trinity College, and Henry Grattan on College Green, Dublin.  Sculpted in 1867 the bust is estimated at £20,000-30,000.



    Monday, October 7th, 2019

    Bonhams will offer this large and impressive Waterford 18 light  waterfall and bag chandelier at their home and interiors sale in Knightsbridge, London on October 8.  The faceted scrolling branches are arranged in two tiers of 12 large and six smaller arms supporting scalloped drip pans. It is described as bespoke, of recent manufacture and the property of a gentleman purchased for his Irish country residence.  This one has a 200 cm drop and a diameter of 110 cms. Similar smaller chandeliers were supplied by Waterford for the K Club at Straffan, Co. Kildare.  This one is estimated at £20,000-30,000. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, September 19th, 2019

    A full length portrait of María Luisa Maldonado y Salabert, Marquesa de Torneros, daughter of the Count of Villagonzalo by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida comes up at Bonhams in London on September 26. An exhibiton of Sorolla’s works runs at the National Gallery of Ireland until November 3. Letters from Sorolla to his wife Clotilde reveal that the present lot was a direct commission from the Count of Villagonzalo, who was himself a major art collector, and a close friend of the artist. The work, which comes up at a sale of 19th century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art, is estimated at £180,000-250,000.

    Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923)

    Portrait of María Luisa Maldonado y Salabert, Marquesa de Torneros. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, September 5th, 2019

    A painting of an Irish wolfhound credited with saving the life of the 4th Earl of Antrim, features in Bonhams sale of the Christopher Hodsoll Collection in London on October 1. Portrait of a noble hound by an artist from the circle of the British painter John Wootton is estimated at £30,000-50,000.

    While out hunting, Randal MacDonnell, 4th Earl Antrim fell from his horse. According to tradition, the hound raced back to the castle, raised the alarm and led the rescue party to the stricken nobleman.

    Other items in the sale with Irish connections include: An Irish George II mahogany drop-leaf dining table, with lion-mask carved legs, acanthus-leaf spandrels and paw feet (£15,000-20,000); an Irish late 19th century mahogany side table by James Hicks of Dublin (£6,000-8,000) and a large Irish late regency mahogany circular dining table by Mack, Williams and Gibton (£2,000-4,000). 


    Sunday, June 16th, 2019

    An important moment of Irish history – The Year of the French – is captured in a archive at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts auction in London on June 26.  Lot 17 comprises of papers kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16, prior to and during the French invasion of 1798.  This is the campaign for Irish independence fought by Theobald Wolfe Tone. The archive includes a printed proclamation headed ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Union’ issued by General Jean Hardy beginning: “Irishmen!/You have not forgotten Bantry bay! you know the effects to assist you which France has already made: her affection for you, her desire to avenge your wrongs and assure your independence remain the same…” There are speeches by Bartholomew Teeling and Wolfe Tone’s speech from the dock.  The archive is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

    The archive at Bonhams UPDATE: THIS MADE £11,312 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, June 13th, 2019

    Paul Henry’s Cottages in a Landscape was the top lot at the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin last night. It made a hammer price of 115,000. Other top hammer prices included Sean Keating’s Homeward Bound (76,000), Louis le Brocquy’s Aubusson wool tapestry Cuchulainn VIII 1999 (70,000), Gerald Leslie Brockhurst’s Portrait of Florence Forsyth (50,000), South of France Landscape by Mary Swanzy (32,000), A Lament for Art O’Leary, a set of six illustrations from 1940 by Jack Butler Yeats (19,000) and Girl in Stripy Jumper by Basil Blackshaw (18,000).

    Paul Henry RHA (1877-1958) Cottages in a Landscape (1930-1940)

    Top prices for Irish art at Bonhams in London yesterday included Looking at the Moon by Rowan Gillespie (£56,313); Londonderry  by L.S. Lowry (£37,562); River scene, Londonderry  by L.S. Lowry (£30,062) and November Evening, Bangor Pier  by Colin Middleton (£22,562).


    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    Rich pickings await collectors at two sales of Irish art in Dublin and one in London this week.  The evening sale of art and sculpture at de Veres on June 11 offers three tapestries by le Brocquy including Allegory from 1950 (60,000-90,000). This series rarely appears at auction.  There is as well a fine watercolour from his Tinkers series (40,000-60,000).The auction features work by artists like Patrick Scott, Mainie Jellett, Hughie O’Donoghue, Tony O’Malley, Robert Ballagh, Stephen McKenna and Sean McSweeney.A feature of this auction is the sculpture section, on view in the garden of The Merrion Hotel.  The first piece on view is a massive bronze GI Bear by Patrick O’Reilly standing outside the hotel on Merrion Street (80,000-120,000).

    Tinker Picking Whitethorn, a watercolour by Louis le Brocquy at de Veres  UPDATE: THIS MADE 42,000 AT HAMMER

    Interest in the work of Mary Swanzy has hugely increased in latter years, helped no doubt by her major exhibition currently at the Crawford in Cork previously on show at IMMA.  Her South of France Landscape dating from around 1915 is lot 38 at the James Adam evening sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on June 1. It is estimated at 20,000-30,000.Low Water, Spring Tide, Clifden by Jack. B, Yeats dates to 1906 and is his first oil painting, created when he was moving on from watercolour. It is estimated at 40,000-60,000 at Adams.  The sale offers a number of fine 18th and 19th century landscapes by artists including William Sadler, John Henry Campbell, Frederick Brocas and William Ashford.  Lot 62 is a  monumental bronze by Edward Delaney featured in an RTE still photograph of the poet Patrick Kavanagh in 1962.  Titled Cathedral it is estimated at 15,000-20,000.  There are abstract works by Cecil King, William Scott, Felim Egan and Michael Farrell, A Connemara Landscape by Paul Henry and a 1920’s portrait by the English painter Gerald Leslie Brockhurst of Florence Forsythe. Adams point out that a portrait of film star Merle Oberon by Brockhurst sold last year for $290,000.  Adams has a more modest estimate of 20,000-40,000 on their example.The Irish selection on offer at Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12 is headed by Yeats’ Romeo and Juliet.  There are two Irish sketches by L.S. Lowry as well as works by Louis le Brocquy, Colin Middleton, Rowan Gillespie, William Scott, Sean Scully and Sir John Lavery.

    South of France Landscape by Mary Swanzy at James Adam UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER


    Monday, June 3rd, 2019

    A Yeats painting based on the last scene of Gounod’s 1867 opera Romeo and Juliet based on Shakespeare’s tragedy is a highlight at Bonham’s Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12.  Painted in 1927 the much exhibited work depicts the ending of the play in the Capulet family mausoleum.  Waking from a drugged coma Juliet finds the lifeless body of Romeo, who had committed suicide believing his wife to be dead. Stricken with grief Juliet takes her own life.  Yeats shows the bodies of the star crossed lovers slumped at the front of the tomb.  It is estimated at £80,000-120,000.  The sale features two drawings of Londonderry by L.S. Lowry dated 1961 and 1962.  Each is estimated at £20,000-30,000.



    Friday, April 12th, 2019

    The Cell Door, Robben Island, by Nelson Mandela comes up at Bonhams in New York on May 2. The wax pastel crayon artwork created in 2002 was one of the few kept by the statesman for his personal collection. Inherited by his daughter Dr. Pumla Makaziwe Mandela it comes up at the Modern and Contemporary African Art sale with an estimate of $60,000-90,000.

    After his official retirement in 1999 the former President of South Africa turned to art as a therapeutic activity that helped him express and reflect on his tumultuous life. In 2002 he created 22 sketches about his 27 year-long incarceration, focusing on images he found symbolically and emotionally powerful. Ten of these original drawings were then reproduced as editions of lithographs for the seriesMy Robben Island (2002) and Reflections of Robben Island (2003). These sets did not include The Cell Door, which was regarded as a deeply personal image and one that he wanted to keep for himself.

    Nelson Mandela, The Cell Door, Robben Island, 2002


    Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

    A pair of Irish Elk or Giant Deer antlers from the collection of the late Sir Sidney Nolan comes up at Bonhams sporting sale in Edinburgh on May 1. The megalocerus giganteus antlers come with 18 points, skull and some restorations. They are 88 inches wide and estimated at £26,000-30,000.

    Bonhams list the provenance as the collection of the late Sir Sidney and Lady Nolan at The Rodd. Antlers have long been a feature of Irish and Scottish baronial banqueting halls. Now extinct the Irish elk is one of the largest deers that ever roamed the earth. It lived during the Pleistocene Period of the Great Ice Age (starting 2.6 million years ago and ending 11,700 years ago).

    The Irish Elk antlers at Bonhams