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    Saturday, July 6th, 2024

    The Sunlit Valley, The Rosses, Co. Donegal by James Humbert Craig. UPDATE: THIS MADE 9,000 AT HAMMER

    Art as an event in the Olympic Games was abandoned after 1948 because artists were considered to be professional and the games were for amateurs.  That was then and this is now so our professional golfers Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, both qualified to represent Ireland at the games this year which get underway in Paris on July 26, have nothing to worry about.

    At a time from 1912 to 1948 when medals were awarded for painting and sculpture inspired by sport, as well as to musicians, writers and architects, the northern Irish artist James Humbert Craig (1877-1944) was part of the Painting Event at the 1932 summer olympics in Los Angeles.  He did not win but his landscapes are very highly regarded. One of them, an oil on canvas titled The Sunlit Valley, Rosses, Co. Donegal, will lead Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth summer art sale in Castlecomer on July 10 with an estimate of €6,000-€8,000.  It is the most expensively estimated artwork at the sale.

    The auction, on view in Castlecomer next Monday and Tuesday, features 345 lots of Irish and international art and sculpture along with Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian paintings.

    Athlone Castle by James Lawson Stewart. UPDATE: THIS MADE 300 AT HAMMER

    A topographical View of Athlone in 1853 from an elevated site attributed to George Vincent Cole is estimated at €300-€400 and a watercolour of Athlone Castle by  British artist James Lawson Stewart (1829-1911) shows many features now disappeared (€400-€500).  A hand coloured print of Edinburgh Castle from Holyrood House by Charles Windsor, now King of England, signed and dated on the lower right, is estimated at €800-€1,000.  There is a similar estimate on an abstract landscape attributed to Andre Lhote.

    Lot 261 is a bronze bust of Roger Casement attributed to Marshall Hutson.  Though unsigned it is similar in style to the work of the Cork artist who died in 2001 and is estimated at €1,000-€1,500.  Among his sculpted works is the stone crest of the City of Cork at the headquarters of Cork Harbour Commissioners at Custom House Street in Cork.

    Ar an Costa by Daniel Corkery (1878-1964). UPDATE: THIS MADE 360 AT HAMMER

    Ar an Costa is a watercolour of a coastal scene with figures on a beach by Daniel Corkery (1878-1964), a close friend of Terence McSwiney who became Professor of English at UCC in 1930.  One of a group who established the Cork Dramatic Society in 1908 he wrote plays and short stories, played the cello, took night classes in painting at the Crawford and was author of The Hidden Ireland, a 1924 study of the poetry of 18th century Irish language poetry in Munster.  Lot 44 at Mealy’s is estimated at €180-€220 and was formerly in the collection of  An t’Athair Eric Mac Fhinn (1895-1987) of Galway.

    There is a portrait of Walter Osborne by Augustus Burke (€3,000-€4,000), a pencil sketch of John O’Leary at trial by John Butler Yeats (€400-€500), a watercolour of the Rock of Cashel by Patrick Hennessy (€400-€600) and an oil of Country Cottages, Ireland c1810 by William Mulready (€700-€1,000) among a selection on offer that is both varied and affordable.  

    The sale will be on view in Castlecomer on July 8 and 9 and will begin at 2 pm on July 10.  The catalogue is online. Nowadays the Venice Biennale is often referred to informally as the Olympics of art.


    Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

    Attributed to Sean Keating (1889-1977) – Irish Free State Chicken. UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,500 AT HAMMER

    In 1928 Sean Keating painted a finished design in gouache entitled Irish Free State Chicken. Commissioned by the recently-formed Empire Marketing Board it was part of a campaign to promote the sale of agricultural produce, including Irish produce, internationally. Keating produced three images for the campaign, to be used as the basis for posters and billboards; the other two designs were for bacon and dairy.   In his finished version of Irish Free State Chicken, along with a donkey and cart and a multitude of white poultry, he included the figures of men and women he had sketched on the Aran Islands, building up an image that conveyed the spirit of independence he so admired in the West of Ireland. This work, which comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth summer art sale in Castlecomer on July 10, is close to Keating’s finished design. There are also significant differences, and it is possibly a preparatory sketch. Mealys say that the provenance of this work also suggests it is by Keating.  The estimate is 3,000-5,000. The catalogue for the sale is online.


    Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

    John Henry Foley, RA (1818-1874) – Statues of Oliver Goldsmith and Edmund Burke

    These 51 cm high statues of Oliver Goldsmith and Edmund Burke made a hammer price of €13,000 over an estimate of 4,000-6,000 at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth summer fine art sale in Castlecomer today. They are maquettes for the full-size bronzes erected at the gates of Trinity College Dublin in 1863 and 1868. The original plaster models are in the Birmingham City Art Gallery.  Foley is best known for his statutes of Daniel O’Connell at the O’Connell monument in Dublin and of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial in London. A 16th century tapestry once in the Rathcormac collection of American actor Hurd Hatfield made 9,500.


    Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

    An important Irish Provincial 18th Century two handled Loving Cup, by Joseph Johns, Limerick c. 1760’s

    Irish silver made its mark at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth two day summer fine art sale which got underway today. This two handled Limerick loving cup by Joseph Johns made €4,000 at hammer over a top estimate of €2,500. Other hammer prices included the following: an 18th century rococo style Irish silver coffee pot by William Reynolds, Cork (€3,800); An 18th century soup ladle by George Halloran, Limerick (€3,100); a c1770 provincial soup ladle by George Moore, Limerick (€3,000); a c1919 Dublin presentation salver by West (€2,600); a pair of 1770’s basting spoons by Phillip Walshe, Limerick (€2,500); a pair of c1750’s serving spoons by Joseph Johns, Limerick (€2,300); a c1740-50 pair of Irish table spoons by George Moore, Limerick (€2,200); a mid Victorian silver claret jug in the form of an Armada jug by Richard Martin and Ebenezer Hall (€2,100); a c1780’s Irish silver coffee pot by William Thompson and Michael Cormick (€2,000) and an 1841 tea and coffee service by William Hunter (€1,900).

    18th Century Irish rococo Provincial Coffee Pot by William Reynolds, Cork


    Saturday, May 25th, 2024

    An oversized bronze of a crab at Victor Mee. UPDATE: THIS MADE 10,000 AT HAMMER

    The possibilities seem limitless at two day sales by both Fonsie Mealy in Castlecomer and Victor Mee in Belturbet on May 28 and 29. A 16th century tapestry once in the Rathcormac collection of American actor Hurd Hatfield and the advertising mirrors from the old Clancy’s Bar in Cork city centre give some idea of the breadth and scope of Fonsie Mealy’s two day summer fine art auction with 1,200 lots. 

    You could opt instead for a seven foot tall bronze sculpture of a crab (€8,000 – €12,000) or a wrought iron Victorian style conservatory with remotely controlled windows (€15,000-€25,000) at Victor Mee’s annual summer garden sale.

    Fonsie Mealy will offer art by Montague Dawson, Gerard Dillon, Harry Kernoff, Augustus Burke, Dan O’Neill, Sean Keating and others, quality affordable and decorative furniture, Irish Provincial and Dublin silverware, clocks and jewellery.  Lot 723 in this sale is the Ladbrokes Epsom Gold Cup from 1963 (€3,000-€5,000).  The Choice of Hercules, the Flemish tapestry from the Hatfield collection is estimated at  €10,000-€15,000.  The actor was best known for playing the lead in the Oscar winning 1945 film of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    Among the feature lots at Victor Mee are the Victorian bandstand from the famed St. Louis Convent in Co. Monaghan, a 19th century Carrara marble bath, a cast iron statue of a pig, a pair of majestic moulded sandstone lions, a sandstone fountain, a statue of boxing hares, a tree trunk bench and an Art Nouveau style stone figure of a lady along with an array of planters and gates, piers, pillar caps, steps and exterior lighting.  Full catalogues for both sales are online.

    A mirror advertising Paddy from Clancy’s Bar in Cork at Fonsie Mealy. UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,500 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

    The Eden Vale bottle carrier. UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,800 AT HAMMER

    This Irish Provincial bottle carrier comes up as lot 831 at Fonsie Mealy’s summer fine art sale in Castlecomer on May 28 and 29. The piece was commissioned by William Stacpoole, High Sherriff, Co. Clare, for his new residence at Eden Vale, Killone, Ennis, Co. Clare. It was probably made in Limerick around 1780 and arrives at auction by direct family descent. There is a rectangular removable top with shaped and pierced looped carrying slot, over eight compartments. The estimate is €4,000-€6,000.


    Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

    Montague Dawson (1895-1973) – The Clipper Ship Flying Fish c. 1950. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Montague Dawson’s oil on canvas of the Flying Fish is the most expensively estimated lot at Fonsie Mealy’s two day fine art sale in Castlecomer on May 28 and 29. With an estimate of €15,000-€20,000 it shows the clipper ship in full sail. A catalogue note by Peter Murray recounts how after the discovery of gold in California and the opening of the China tea trade to competition in 1849, several clippers, including Flying Fish and Flying Cloud, were built at Donald McKay’s shipyard in Boston. Launched in 1851, Flying Fish made the voyage from Boston to San Francisco, via Cape Horn, in a record-breaking ninety-two days. Owned by Samson and Tappan, the ship had a glorious career. It was one of the fastest every built by McKay, and under the command of Captain Edward Nickels, rounded Cape Horn seven times. It features in several paintings by Dawson, including studies in oil and watercolour. It is, Murray says, one of Montague Dawson’s finest depictions of ships at sea.


    Saturday, April 20th, 2024

    An 1857 work on Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa by David Livingstone – 14 years before Dr. Livingstone by found by Henry Morton Stanley near what was then Lake Tanganyika in present day Tanzania. UPDATE: THIS MADE 170 AT HAMMER

    A complete set of Moore’s Dublin Edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica totalling 19 volumes illustrated with nearly 400 copper plates features at Fonsie Mealy’s timed online Spring Rare Book and Collector’s auction which runs until April 24.  James Moore’s 1791-97 reprint of the third edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was technically legal because British copyright protections did not apply in Ireland until after the Act of Union in 1800. Unlike Britannica volumes, all dated 1797,  Moore’s title pages were dated the year they were printed, from 1788 to 1797.  The unusual result of this is that the pirated Irish version has an earlier date than the original.  The estimate on what was the largest and most expensive publication to appear in Ireland at the time is €700-€1,000.

    On offer is a selection of English and Irish first editions, signed and limited copies, periodicals and books on history, travel and science along with pamphlets, maps and ephemera.  Included is the residue of the library of the late Dr. Philip Murray of Sligo.

    More than 700 lots will come under the hammer with everything from a signed first edition of Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy complete with a two cassette audio book read by Brad Pitt (€800-€1,000) to a 1959 poster for an excursion to Youghal by train from Cork (€300-€400), a 1929 book on champion boxer Jack Dempsey signed by Rocky Marciano (€400-€600) and Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa by Dr. David Livingstone.

    A poster  for a 1959 excursion to Youghal. UPDATE: THIS MADE 280 AT HAMMER

    A collection of programmes from Manchester United home games from 1949-69 (€300-€400), a 1912 first edition of Life in the West of Ireland with coloured illustrations by Jack B Yeats (€550-€750), a framed emigrants testimonial to ships surgeon J J Tighe from passengers of the Rangitiki after a 13 week voyage to New Zealand in 1876 (€250-€350), an 1809 printing of The Works of James Barry, Historical Painter by Edward Fryer (€200-€300) and a set of five signed first editions by Lawrence Durrell including two inscribed to Dr. Philip Murray (€250-€320) demonstrate the depth and breadth of this sale.

    You could travel in 3rd class in comfort with CIE according to the poster advertising an excursion to Youghal from Cork on Sunday, September 6 1959. It announced that a non stop special train would leave Cork at 10.45 am and return at 11.55 pm.  The return third class fair was seven shillings and six pence. Freighted with memories this poster is estimated at €300-€400.

    Elsewhere in the online catalogue is an illuminated address to Thomas Brisbane Warren, Dean of Cork (€120-€170), a large collection of more than 1,100 postcards (€300-€400) and a bound set of  six varied acts of King George III owned by John Hely Hutchinson, 2nd Earl of Donoughmore relating to matters like paving the streets of Cork and improving the butter trade,.  Hely-Hutchinson represented Cork city in the Irish House of Commons and the set is estimated at €250-€350.  Lot 580 is an 1815 Smith’s History of Cork and other books of local interest estimated at €200-€300.

    The sale is on view in Castlecomer on April 22 and 23 and the catalogue is online.

    A narrative on Jack Dempsey signed by Rocky Marciano UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, April 11th, 2024


    A signed first edition of Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy is one of the leading lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring Rare Book and Collectors sale. The timed online auction gets underway today and will run until April 24 with over 700 lots of offer. Cities of the Plain is lot 477 and comes complete with an uncorrected proof and uncorrected advance reading copies, both signed by the author, and an audio book with two cassettes, read by Brad Pitt. The estimate is €800-€1,000.


    Saturday, February 17th, 2024
    A pair of Irish Georgian knife boxes  UPDATE: THIS MADE 650 AT HAMMER

    With everything from an Edwardian hobby horse and a three piece Art Nouveau mantle clock garniture in red marble to a carved Qing Dynasty hardwood cabinet and a Dublin longcase clock the Making Room sale by Fonsie Mealy at Castlecomer on February 21 is brimful of interest. More than 400 lots will come under the hammer in this annual spring clear out and estimates are reasonable.  There are affordable antiques, decorative furniture, overmantles, mirrors, art, a selection of Nicholas Mosse ware, prints, silver and plate and all sorts of collectibles.

    An Edwardian hobby horse. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,000 AT HAMMER

    Among the more expensively estimated works, at €1,500-€2,000, is an oil on canvas attributed to Andrea Locatelli (1695-1741) of Figures resting by a Capriccio in a Romantic Landscape. With professional cleaning this would add a stylish touch to many interiors.  A George III inlaid mahogany and satinwood secretaire is also estimated at just €1,500-€2,000.

    A Chinese Imperial yellow porcelain dish with five dragons  UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER

    If you want to make the most of the strength, power and success associated with dragons in this Year of the Dragon then this sale jast just the thing.  An early Chinese Imperial yellow porcelain dish with raised enamel features depicting five dragons with four and five claws comes with an estimate of €800-€1,200. The estimate on a pair of Irish Georgian slope front knife boxes with fitted interiors is just €700-€900 – a steal in old God’s time –  and a small 19th century walnut pedestal desk is estimated at just €300-€500. The Qing hardwood cabinet and the Dublin clock are each estimated at €800-€1,200, the Edwardian hobby horse  at €700-€900 and the clock garniture at €500-€700.  Collectors of Irish country furniture will be interested in an unusual set of four provincial hand painted ladder back chairs with straw seats (€150-€200) or a 19th century yew and elm stick kitchen armchair (€250-€350). A  good Victorian figured walnut writing table  is estimated at just €300-€400.  The catalogue is online, there is viewing in Castlecomer Business Park next Monday and Tuesday and the sale will take place at the Avalon House Hotel at noon on Wednesday.

    An unusual set of four hand painted provincial chairs. UPDATE: THESE MADE 130 AT HAMMER