Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, September 6th, 2010

    Ann Binyon by John Bedford (1846). (click on image to enlarge)

    John Binyon by John Bedford (1846). (click on image to enlarge)

    This pair of Victorian portraits of John Binyon and Ann Binyon, painted by John Bates Bedford (1823-1886) in 1846, will come under the hammer at the Ted Hegarty sale in Bandon on Sunday, September 12. The carved frames are by Birefield at Wellington St., The Strand, London.  They are estimated at 6,000-10,000 for the pair.

    The poet and dramatist Laurence Robert Binyon was a nephew of the sitters. The fourth verse of his most famous work, For the Fallen, often quoted at Remembrance Day Services, is familiar to everyone and has been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation.
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.
    The sale of 400 lots is at the new Hegarty Auction Rooms at Parnell Business Park, the By-Pass, Bandon, Co. Cork on Sunday September 12 at 4 p.m.
    UPDATE: The portraits failed to sell at the auction but went under active negotiation immediately afterwards and changed hands at a figure just below the low estimate of 6,000.


    Saturday, September 4th, 2010
    LOT 369, THE EAST INDIES and the adjacent countries; with the Settlements, Factories and Territories, explaining what belongs to England, Spain, France, Holland, Denmark, Portugal with many remarks not extant in any other map by Herman Moll (c1654-1732) (London) estimated at 2,500-2,700. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: This lot made 5,200 at hammer.

    THERE is something of everywhere for everyone at the Cartography Collection of the late Dr. Barry Hewson sale in Dublin on September 14.  The auction at James Adam will feature early maps of Ireland, sea charts, guides to Irish landed estates, coastal maps, sea charts, wind and current charts of the North Atlantic, the Bay of Bengal, The Malabar Coast, the west coast of North America, the Turkish Empire, Lower Egypt, maps of England and Europe and the Cape Verde Islands.

    A huge chart of part of the St. Lawrence River, lot 341, eight feet in length, estimated at 800-850. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: This lot was unsold.

    There is a map of the East India Archipelago western route to China and a chart of Kinsale Harbour in which the naming of one of the Stags rocks after a certain part of the King’s anatomy has been judiciously removed!  Lot 85, a chart of Kinsale Harbour by Capt. Greenvile Collins, omits the name of one of the rocks contained in an earlier Dutch version by Van Keulan which features as Lot 72.

    The sale features 447 lots with estimates ranging from around 100 euro to up to 10,000 euro.  Main lots include a folio of 17th century maps of Ireland by Sir William Petty (1623-1687), one of the most successful adventurers to benefit from the confiscation of the estates of Irish landowners. His survey of the estates of Irish landowners, known as the Down Survey, was carried out by 1,000 soldiers and took 13 months to complete.  The lot is estimated at 6,000-8,000.

    Dr. Barry Hewson, who died in 2008, was a Ballina native who trained as a dentist in Ireland and subsequently as a doctor in England. He practised in the north of England, made frequent visits to Ireland and was an inveterate collector with a wide range of interests.

    UPDATE:  THE top lot at the sale was the 17th century portfolio of maps by Sir William Petty which made a hammer price of 10,000.


    Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

    This Victorian diamond and pearl heart shaped pendant in original fitted case sold for 700 at O'Reilly's, Francis St. on September 1, 2010 (click on image to enlarge)

    A Victorian pearl set double swallow brooch in original fitted case made 600 at O'Reilly's, Dublin on September 1, 2010 (click on image to enlarge)


    Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

    David Wilkie's 1835-36 image of a cabin in the west of Ireland featuring the Peep-o'-Day Boys. (click to enlarge).

    THIS striking image by David Wilkie (1785-1841) is entitled The Peep-o’-Day Boys’ Cabin, in the West of Ireland.  It features in the Romantics exhibition at Tate Britain, Millbank, London until July 2011.  The nine room display in the Clore Galleries presents Romantic art in Britain, its origins, inspirations and legacies. It showcases major works by Henry Fuseli, JMW Turner, John Constable, Samuel Palmer and William Blake.

    In 1835 the Scottish artist David Wilkie visited Ireland, and compared it to Spain for its picturesque potential.  This picture was exhibited the following year.  According to the Tate notes the picture evokes the  ‘state of primeval simplicity’ he found in Galway and Connemara, while underplaying the political and religious unrest implied by the title.  The Peep-o’Day Boys were Protestant guerrillas. They raided Catholic rebels at dawn, during uprisings in the 1780s and 90s. Wilkie had first planned a more contentious subject: a Whiteboy, from another group who championed oppressed tenants.


    Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

    One of the highlights of the exhibition is A Woman Artist (Le Corset rouge), (c.1661-4) which was recently found in a private collection and features Metsu's wife, Isabella de Wolff, who frequently modeled for her husband. (Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, click to enlarge).

    One of the most remarkable painters of the Dutch seventeenth century, Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667) is the subject of the autumn exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland.  Gabriel Metsu: Rediscovered Master of the Dutch Golden Age’  brings together some 40 works from one of the most important genre painters of his age.  A contemporary of Vermeer, Metsu painted scenes of everyday life as well as portraits, biblical scenes and still lifes.

    The show displays a number of recently discovered and newly restored paintings.  It features works on loan from the Louvre, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Prado, Madrid; The National Gallery, London; Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome, several museums in Germany (Dresden, Kassel, Berlin, Munich) and The Netherlands (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden; Mauritshuis, The Hague).
    Dr. Adriaan Waiboer, curator of the exhibition and editor of the accompanying catalogue says: “This exhibition is an opportunity to discover a lesser-known, but highly talented artist, whose work offers a unique window onto daily life in his time. Metsu was gifted with an unparalleled handling of the brush”.
    Metsu is at the National Gallery from September 4 to December 5, at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam December 16, 2010 – 21 March 21, 2011 and the National Gallery of Art, Washington April 17, 2011 – July 24, 2011.


    Saturday, August 28th, 2010

    Along with having worldwide record sales of over 55 million singer-songwriter Roger Whittaker is an inveterate collector.  The long time Co. Galway resident has hit songs that include easy listening standards like Durham Town, New World in the Morning, Mamy Blue, I don’t believe in If anymore and The Last Farewell.

    Now 75, he plans to re-locate with his family to the South of France.  Sheppards of Durrow will hold an auction of his collection over two days on September 28 and 29 next. The 650 lots from the Roger Whittaker Collection make up an eclectic mix that includes fine antique furniture like a Regency two pillar dining table and a set of antique dining chairs, sculpture, wildlife photographs, 14 Taylor guitars, a stunning collection of watches from houses like Patek Philippe and Cartier, a very rare death mask of the Irish poet Patrick Kavannagh and collectible items gathered by Whittaker on his journeys around the globe.
    The Sheppards catalogue for this sale is due to go on-line on September 15.


    Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

    This Georgian Irish chimneypiece in the manner of Pietro Bossi will be sold at Sotheby's in London on September 14. It is estimated at £40,000-£60,000. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 85,250

    TWO chimneypieces in the style of Pietro Bossi, the Italian craftsman who worked in Dublin from 1785 to 1798, will feature in the first ever Sotheby’s sale dedicated entirely to antique chimneypieces and fire grates in London on September 14. The sale also features an engraved George III Irish brass and wrought iron

    register grate, in the manner of George Binns of Dublin.

    An engraved George III Irish brass and wrought iron register grate, in the manner of George Binns of Dublin, to be offered at Sotheby's. It is estimated at £3,000-£5,000. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 1,875

    The auction will bring to the market some 200 rare, important and unusual pieces, ranging in date from the 1600s to the 19th century, and emanating from all corners of Europe.  Tbe chimneypieces to be sold represent almost the entire antique stock of leading London fireplace suppliers Chesney’s, which also maintains offices in New York.  The company has released its antique stock because the focus now is on its increasingly international operation of producing and supplying fine reproduction fireplaces. The sale will offer an overview of chimneypiece design over the course of 300 years.
    Not much is known about Pietro Bossi, although much inlay work of the late 18th century is commonly known as “Bossi-work”. He used coloured marble inlay and also a coloured paste inlay, known as scagliola, on a white marble ground. Bossi’s process was a closely guarded secret and was apparently carried out behind closed doors. He left Dublin in 1798 under a cloud of suspicion implicating him with the revolutionary movement.
    UPDATE:  The illustrated pieces made 85,250 and 1,875 pounds sterling respectively.  An Irish George III scagliola inlaid Carrara marble chimneypiece in the manner of Bossi also made 82,250.  The sale total came to 674,378 GBP.


    Sunday, August 22nd, 2010


    A Van Gogh painting worth $50m, known as both Poppy Flowers and Vase And Flowers, was cut from its frame and stolen at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo on Saturday, August 21.  Measuring 30cm by 30cm(1ft by 1ft), and depicting yellow and red flowers it is believed to have been painted in 1887, three years before the death of Vincent Van Gogh.

    The Mahmoud Khalil Museum was built in the 1930’s and holds works by Monet, Renoir and Degas.  The same Van Gogh was stolen from here in 1978, and recovered ten years later in Kuwait.

    In May five paintings — worth up to $124 million — were stolen from the Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris (see post for May 20 on

    INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization with 188 member countries, has a database of missing art. The organization’s general secretariat also produces a CD-ROM – updated every two months in English, Spanish, French and Arabic – of all the missing items, and provides it to museums, antique dealers and collectors.
    The London based Art Loss Register (ALR) is a growing computerized international database about lost and stolen art, antiques and collectables.
    In July 2010 a stolen Caravaggio was recovered in Berlin. The ‘Taking of Christ’ or the ‘Kiss of Judas’ was snatched from the Ukraine’s Museum of Western European and Oriental Art in Odessa in July 2008. A joint German Ukrainian police operation resulted in three Ukrainians and one Russian national being detained in Berlin, just as the suspects were reportedly about to sell the stolen painting. More than 20 suspects were arrested and an alleged international art theft gang was broken up.


    Friday, August 20th, 2010

    One of a set of 12 bird pictures by Samuel Dixon to be sold at Christie's. (click on image to enlarge)

    Another of Samuel Dixon's bird pictures. (click on image to enlarge).

    A set of 12 Irish George II embossed bird pictures by Samuel Dixon c1755 is a highlight at Christie’s 500 Years of Decorative Arts Europe sale in London on September 23. In black and gilt-japanned frames each is printed with a dedication on the reverse.

    The paintings depict a red and blue macaw, a grey-finch and wax bill, with dedication to the Countess of Carrick and inscribed `Left hand of Wall 7′, blue, red and green macaw, Indian redstart and a sparrow of paradise, with dedication to Lady Castlecomer and inscribed `Right of the Mirror 9′, chaffinch perched upon a branch, with butterflies, convolvulus, snowdrops and other flowers with dedication to the Countess of Meath goldfinch perched upon a branch, with a honeysuckle, ranunculus, peony and other flowers, with dedication to the Duchess of Dorset, summer duck, red-billed whistling duck and shells, with dedication to the Countess of Hillsborough and inscribed `Sam Jones Pauls Snr’ and numbered `2′, Indian bee-eater, black and white Indian starling and a Brazilian finch, with dedication to Lady Howth, black-billed whistling duck, purple water-hen and corals, with dedication to the Countess of Antrim and inscribed `Right over chimney’ and `Pauls Churchyard, London’, white-headed parrot, with grapes and vine leaves, with dedication to the Countess of Kildare, canary-bird and wasp among anemones, polyantheus, hyacinths, tulips and jessamin, with dedication to the Countess of Cork, cock butcher-bird above a floral still life of roses, poppies and ranunculus with dedication to the Duchess of Hamilton, bullfinch, blue titmouse and a red admiral, with peaches and apricots, with dedication to the Countess Dowager Kildare and inscribed `Over the Mirror 8′, and green-winged dove perched on a stump and a cock and hen red-throated humming bird at nest with dedication to Lady Molesworth and inscribed `… LONDON’
    The estimate for the lot if 10,000-15,000 sterling. They are among a election of 50 British and Irish embossed bird pictures from a 150 piece private collection by Samuel Dixon, Isaac Spackman and William Hayes in a sale of over 300 lots.


    Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

    Raphael's Miraculous Draught of Fishes (click on image to enlarge)

    An exhibition of four of the ten tapestries designed by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel goes on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from September 8 to October 17.  The exhibition of these original tapestries, masterpieces of High Renaissance art, will coincide with the historic visit to England and Scotland of Pope Benedict XVI.  They have never been seen in England before.

    The tapestries, of the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Christ’s Charge to Peter, The Healing of the Lame Man, and The Sacrifice at Lystra, were made for the Sistine Chapel almost 500 years ago after Raphael was commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515, three years after Michaelangelo completed the chapel ceiling. The tapestries were woven in Brussels, Europe’s leading centre for tapestry-weaving.
    Interest in tapestry has been on the increase since the spectacular Tapestry in the Renaissance show at the Metropolitan Museum, New York,  in 2002 which highlighted the great cycles of the late 15th and early 16th centuries as the unsung glories of Renaissance art. The Vatican Museums own the tapestries, the Cartoons, or designs for them belong to Queen Elizabeth.  They have been on long-term loan to the V&A since Queen Victoria lent them in 1865.
    The four tapestries will be hung in the V&A’s Raphael Gallery next to the seven Cartoons. The design of each cartoon corresponds in every point, but in reverse, to the tapestry it was made for. The weavers cut Raphael’s cartoons into strips and copied them closely, weaving each tapestry from the back. The front image was therefore the reverse of its cartoon. The painted strips of cartoon were joined together again later, and became prized as artworks in their own right.