Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Friday, November 13th, 2015
    An image of part of the Proclamation.

    An image of part of the Proclamation.

    An original copy of the Proclamation comes up at Sotheby’s in London on December 15 estimated at £80,000-120,000. The Proclamation of the Independence of the Irish Republic is at a sale of English Literature and History. It is one of a small number, probably less than 50, printed at Liberty Hall during Easter Sunday, 1916. Around 2,500 were intended to be produced, but only about 1,000 were printed and most were destroyed during the storming of Liberty Hall and the ensuing street fighting.

    This copy was acquired at the time of the Rising by a Dublin resident and has remained with the family ever since.


    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

    Robert Emmet's 1803 Proclamation. (click to enlarge)

    Lot 41 at Whyte’s History, Literature and Collectibles sale in Dublin  on Saturday, April 16 is Robert Emmet’s Proclamation of 1803.  Allegedly 10,000 were printed but it was dangerous to be in possession of one, so most were destroyed.  This is one of only three known examples in private hands.  It begins:   “The Provisional Government TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND” and is estimated to make 30,000-50,000.  This is a sale of 628 lots.

    SEE post for April 8.

    UPDATE:  This Proclamation made 25,000 in a sale that grossed over 300,000 with a selling rate of 70 per cent.

    The 1916 Proclamation at Adams-Mealy's. (click to enlarge)

    Lot 527 at Adams Mealy’s Independence sale in Dublin on Tuesday, April 19 is this 1916 Proclamation. There are thought to be no more than 50 surviving copies, many in public collections. This one is estimated at €100,000-150,000.  There are 631 lots in total in this sale.



    Friday, April 1st, 2011

    The antiques and interiors auction at Hegarty’s in Bandon, Co. Cork on Sunday, April 3 at 4 p.m. will include furniture, jewellery, silver, paintings and ceramics. This is a sale of around 500 lots.  There is a one-owner offering of six 19th century Victorian and Regency sewing and works tables, amassed over the past 20 years.

    The sale includes about 20 lots of jewellery and 20 garden items.  The catalogue is available on-line.  Hegarty’s are located at Parnell Business Park, The By-pass, Bandon and hold regular monthly sales.

    A c1810 rosewood foldover card table from Hegarty's sale in Bandon, Co. Cork on April 3. It is estimated at 1,500-2,500. UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 1,250

    An Irish teapoy with scroll stretchers at Hegarty's. The estimate is around 900. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD.

    A Victorian library table at Hegarty's. It is estimated at 1,000-1,500. UPDATE: THIS WAS NOT SOLD.

    A 19th century rosewood bombe shaped writing desk at Hegarty's. It is estimated at 2,500-3,500. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,900

    A c1870 walnut and marquetry inlaid work table at Hegarty's. It is estimated at 1,400-1,800. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,050


    Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

    Henri Matisse’s Back IV (Nu de Dos, 4eme état), a monumental bronze from the most celebrated and ambitious sculptural series of the artist’s career, will lead the Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on November 3. Matisse’s Back series of four life-sized relief sculptures is featured in major museums collections around the world, including the Tate Gallery in London, MOMA in New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

    The upcoming sale marks the first time that any of these colossal bronzes has appeared at auction.  Christie’s expects Back IV, the final, definitive statement in this sequence of progressively abstracted female figures, to fetch $25,000,000-35,000,000.  Of the twelve bronze casts that were made of this culminating relief, the work to be offered is one of only two examples remaining in private hands. As the most starkly refined and highly architectural of the Back reliefs, Back IV divides the female form into three nearly symmetrical zones, with the woman’s head, hair and spine fused into a startlingly stripped-down columnar figure at center of the work.


    Monday, October 4th, 2010

    The rare emerald cut pink diamond. (click on image to enlarge)

    An exceptionally rare 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond of the purest hue is to be sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 16.  The market for coloured diamonds is extremely strong and they are the most sought after gemstones in the world’s auction rooms today.

    This emerald cut stone carries a type IIa classification which comprises less than 2% of all of the world’ diamonds.   Though graded VVS2 quality the Gemological Institute of America say the stone may be internally flawless after repolishing.  It was purchased directly from Mr. Harry Winston 60 years ago and has not been on the open market since.

    David Bennett, Sotheby’s International Jewellery department chairman, Europe and the Middle East, said: “This stone is one of the most desirable diamonds I have ever seen. What makes it so immensely rare is the combination of its exceptional colour and purity with the classic emerald-cut”. It is estimated at $27-38 million Swiss Francs. about 20-25 million euro.
    UPDATE:  IT MADE 45,442,5000 Swiss Francs, or 33.7 million euro


    Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

    A look at the Adams Country House Collections Sale at Slane by

    Here are some prices achieved by some of the pieces featured on the film. The slope front bureau made 340, the Irish armchair made 520,  the inlaid chest behind the armchair made 11,500, the talboy made 3,500, the William Moore pier table made 20,000, the Killarney work table made 4,800,  the Japanned cabinet on its carved giltwood stand made 8,400, the Old Bridge bureau made 18,000, the Irish double sided tea table made 8,500 and the wine cistern made 55,000.  The Spode dessert service sold for 1,200,  the Ziegler carpet sold for 17,000, the hunt table made 5,500 and the Irish sideboard made 8,200.


    Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

    Fabulous antique Irish furniture is a feature of the Country House Collections sale by James Adam at Slane Castle in Co. Meath on October 5. There are 796 lots on offer and the catalogue is online at (See earlier post for September 21 on


    An Irish flat-carved giltwood mirror, c.1760, the high shouldered scrolled broken pediment filled with a ho-ho bird, the deep apron with a shell, is estimated at 8,000-12,000. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 9,000

    This pair of George I Irish mahogany side chairs, c.1720, each with shell carved top rail above a vase-shaped splat, and drop in seat covered in floral damask, standing on shell capped cabriole supports, with claw and ball feet will be offered by James Adam at Slane. They are estimated at 25,000-35,000. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THE pair sold for 28,000

    A sycamore, satinwood, harewood, boxwood and ebony line inlaid D-shaped pier table, attributed to William Moore of Dublin, c.1780, the fan inlaid rosewood banded top centred with a burr walnut panel, and with ribbon tied laurel border, the frieze with ribbon tied swags of harebells, on canted square tapering legs with hare bell pendants, headed by oval burr walnut panels, and with lower raised banding is estimated at 20,000-25,000. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT made 20,000


    Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

    A memory of W.B. Yeats walking in Dublin by Patrick Collins, dated 1969, was the top lot at de Veres. It made 29,000.

    ANYBODY buying Irish art right now is getting very good value for money according to John de Vere White.  de Vere’s art auctions brought in around 480,000 with their 220 lot Irish art sale on September 28.  Just under 60 per cent of works on offer sold by lot, over 90 per cent sold by value. This means that all the most expensively estimated works found buyers.

    The top lot was a Patrick Collins oil from 1969, A memory of W.B. Yeats walking in Dublin, which made a hammer price of 29,000.  A portrait by Dan O’Neill entitled Louise made 18,000 and a work by Donald Teskey made 6,000.  All these paintings would have sold for far more money than this two years ago.  Kestrel by Edward McGuire sold for 17,500 and Michael Cullen’s Mother and Child Sleeping made 8,700. A bronze by F.E. McWilliam, Standing Couple, made 10,200 as did Markey Robinson’s Amsterdam.

    In a Cork art sale that brought in 275,000 including fees, where 64 per cent of lots on offer found buyers, the top works failed to sell.  Nonethless auctioneer Morgan O’Driscoll was happy with the results of his Irish Art sale in Cork on September 27.  The market took the view that the top lots, two horse paintings by Peter Curling, were over estimated at 50,000-60,000 each. (See post for September 19). Around 30,000 would have been more realistic in the current climate.  In the event each one was bid up to 24,000 before being withdrawn.

    This work by Liam Belton RHA (b.1947) 'Chimu Vessel with Seven Eggs' made 9,600 at the Morgan O'Driscoll art sale in Cork on September 27.

    Buyers were out in force and around 30 internet bidders were a new feature in this sale.  Prices for Markey Robinson. Graham Knuttel, Arthur Maderson and Kenneth Webb held up very well.  The main Gerard Dillon work, entitled Landscape Artist and estimated at 20,000-30,000, was withdrawn at 18,000 but an oil and collage by Dillon entitled Hiding in Masks and estimated at 4,000-6,000, sold for 3,200.  Similarly a Colin Middleton landscape, Meadows, Killough, Co. Down dated June 1952 was bid up to 32,000 against an estimate of 40,000-50,000, and was withdrawn.
    A set of limited edition artist proof prints by Pauline Bewick, The Midnight Court Series, made 1,900 over an estimate of 1,500-2,000 and there was no shortage of sales for works estimated at under 1,000. The top lot sold was entitled Roscoff, a large impressionistic landscape of the port in Brittany by Arthur Maderson. It made 12,000.


    Monday, September 27th, 2010

    The Meissen MacElligot thimble to be sold at Bonhams. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THE THIMBLE FAILED TO SELL.

    A tiny porcelain thimble decorated with the coat of arms of an Irish aristocrat, the only recorded armorial thimble created at the Meissen factory, is a feature at the concluding part of the sale of The Hoffmeister Collection of Meissen Porcelain at Bonhams in London on November 24.  Worth far, far more than its weight in gold the thimble is decorated with the coat of the arms of the MacElligot family.  Many members of this well known Kerry family served in the armies of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. This example was created with two matching snuff boxes and would have been given as a token of love.

    Bonhams are selling the thimble together with one of the oval snuff-box covers. It was commissioned by Peter Julius Caesar, Freiherr (Baron) von MacElligot and Baron of Trughenamy, County Kerry (1715-81), probably as a gift for his first wife.
    Many members of the Irish nobility and their descendents left Ireland after the Treaty of Limerick in 1691 and joined Continental armies. MacElligot is thought to be a descendent of Colonel Roger MacElligot, who joined the Irish Brigade in France in 1697.
    The Hoffmeisters assembled the greatest collection in the world of highly important Meissen armorial porcelain, and, in the 300th anniversary year of the founding of the Meissen factory – Europe’s first porcelain factory – the sale is set to rouse much excitement amongst collectors.  The collection has been on show at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg for the past ten years.
    The most expensive item in the Hoffmeister collection is a teapot from1713-14, decorated with the coat of arms of Sophie of Hanover, mother of King George I of England, (estimate £200,000-300,000).  The tiny thimble carries an estimate of £20,000-30,000.
    UPDATE:   The Hoffmeister Collection of Meissen Porcelain Part III  at Bonhams, New Bond Street made £790,560, selling 81% by lot and 71% by value. This brought the total for the three sales of finest Meissen to £2,988,120.


    Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

    Sisi's riding crop (click to enlarge). UPDATE: IT MADE 37,000

    The Hapsburg Imperial Crest (click to enlarge)

    THE Empress Sisi of Austria (1837-1898), a tragic beauty famed in film and story, spent the 1879/80 hunting season in Ireland. A memento of that visit features at the James Adam Country House Collections auction at Slane Castle on October 5. Lot 209 is The Empress of Austria’s riding whip, c.1875 with ivory simulated cord grip, silver band with the imperial crest.  The pommel is in the shape of an imperial crown and the whip is  contained in a glazed mahogany presentation case with a silvered crest plate engraved with the imperial Hapsburg Arms on the back.  The provenance is Rahinston House in Co. Meath and the estimate is 3,000-5,000.