Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, May 25th, 2024

    The Fourth Estate (1945) by Yeats at Whytes features the interior of a newsagents shop and a cat sitting on a row of books.  The cat can be taken to represent a reporter on the press gallery. UPDATE: THIS MADE 85,000 AT HAMMER

    IT may not be strictly accurate to compare art sales to buses.  But three of them are arriving one after the other in Dublin next week – at Whyte’s on Monday, de Veres on Tuesday and Adams on Wednesday.  Millions of euro worth of Irish art will come under the hammer in a market that has expanded steadily rather than spectacularly over the years.

    The old stalwarts still tend to hold sway – even more so in times of global uncertainty – and this mirrors the situation of the art market internationally.  The most expensively estimated work in Dublin next week is a 1952 Yeats at Whyte’s entitled Discovery. The estimate is €300,000-€500,000.

    A c1891 still life by Roderic O’Conor – Flowers, Bottle and Two Jugs would, at €120,000-€180,000, have been the highest estimated lot at de Veres, but it has been sold prior to auction and the sale will now be led by an Orpen estimated at €100,000-€150,000.

    Another Yeats, The Water Steps from 1947, will lead the sale at Adams with an estimate of €120,000-€180,000.  Yeats, Osborne, Paul Henry and Sir John Lavery – among the blue chip artists whose work continues to dominate Irish sales – are all represented in Dublin next week. It might create an impression that nothing ever changes but in fact many changes are afoot in an Irish market which is dynamic.  Tastes are evolving and new artists are emerging with access to international cutting edge work in a way that their older counterparts did not.

    Game of Chance by Colin Middleton at de Veres. UPDATE: THIS MADE 40,000 AT HAMMER

    The market evolves more quickly on the international front but there are resemblances.  For instance the six marquee week sales at Christie’s in New York last week brought in more than $640 million (587.46 million).  The highest individual sale total, at $413.3 million (€379.21 million), was the 20th century evening sale led by Andy Warhol’s Flowers which made $35.5 million (€32.59 million) followed by blue chip artists like Van Gogh, David Hockney and Alberto Giacometti in a sale where 15 works made more than $10 million (€9.18 million).

    Next Monday evening Whyte’s will offer a carefully curated sale of 131 lots.  Along with Yeats there are two significant paintings by Paul Henry with works by Louis le Brocquy, F E McWiliam, Mary Swanzy, William Scott, Donald Teskey and Genieve Figgis featuring strongly.

    At de Veres, where Dan O’Neill, William Crozier, Louis le Brocquy, Orla de Bri, Colin Middleton, Stephen McKenna and Harry Kernoff are among the leading artists on offer, there will be over 100 lots in a timed sale closing from 6 pm on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday evening Adams will offer fresh to market work like Early Market, Quimperle by Walter Osborne.  Painted in 1883 it has been in the same family since being acquired directly from the artist and is estimated at €120,000-€160,000. Another painting by Osborne not on the market before is Sheep in a Field, acquired directly by fellow artist Sarah Purser from Osborne (€60,000-€80,000). There is value to be had in quality Irish landscapes from earlier periods. The catalogue includes more contemporary art by Patrick Scott, Sean Keating, John Shinnors, Tony O’Malley, F E McWilliam, Felim Egan, James Dixon, Basil Blackshaw, Martin Mooney and many others.

    Gold Painting by Patrick Scott at Adams. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Saturday, May 11th, 2024

    The Allnatt, a fancy vivid yellow diamond of 101.29 carats at Sotheby’s, Geneva. UPDATE: THIS WAS NOT SOLD

    Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds and lots and lots of diamonds – what’s not to like?  Traditionally this is the month for sales which bring a global audience of very rich buyers to Geneva for eye watering jewels with all sorts of exotic provenance and stories histories.

    The collections of modern and historic jewellery at sales like these are fascinating. Some lots make millions.  But passion for fine jewellery is not the exclusive preserve of the super rich. There will be plenty of pickings for the rest of us at sales on May 14 at both James Adam in Dublin and Matthews in Kells and O’Reilly’s in Dublin on May 15 with no shortage of choices across all price levels.

    An exceptional pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond ring  at Christie’s.  The 5.03 carat ruby originated in Burma (Myanmar). UPDATE: THIS MADE 1 MILLION CHF AT HAMMER (€1.02 MILLION)

    On the international scene yellow diamonds are the flavour of the month this month. Christie’s will offer The Yellow Rose in Geneva on May 15, an unmounted rare fancy intense yellow pear modified and brilliant cut diamond of 202.18 carats. Like most intense yellow diamonds it is from South Africa where deposits are rich in nitrogen.

    Sotheby’s claim to have one of the world’s most significant fancy vivid yellow diamonds as a highlight of their magnificent jewels sale in Geneva on May 14.  The Allnatt – named for its first recorded owner Major Alfred Allnatt, renowned British racehorse owner, philanthropist and patron of the arts – weighs in at 101.29 carats and is celebrated for its richly saturated gold colour, older cutting style and elegant 1950’s mounting by Cartier.  It too originates in South Africa and the estimate is 5.6 million – 6.5 million Swiss francs (€5.74 million – €6.67 million).

    Both sales are distinguished by one of a kind pieces and historic and modern jewellery from houses like Harry Winston, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, JAR and many others. 

    Turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet at Adams. UPDATE: THIS MADE 19,000 AT HAMMER

    Meantime in Ireland viewing is underway both in Dublin and in Kells for the jewellery sales on May 14 at Adams and Matthews and the regular monthly jewellery and silver sale at O’Reilly’s of Francis St. in Dublin takes place on Wednesday.  Top lots at Adams include a c1960 Serpenti bracelet watch and a ruby and diamond ring both by Bulgari.  Each is estimated at €40,000-€60,000. A rare turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet by Fred, Paris c1960 is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  

    A Trinity bangle by Cartier is estimated at €6,000-€8,000 while a Trinity ring by the same maker (€700-€900) is one of a selection of lots available at under €1,000 in a catalogue with 268 lots in total.

    A vintage diamond and enamel ring by David Morris hallmarked London 1975 is the top lot at O’Reilly’s with an estimate of €58,000-€65,000. It comes with a gold rope link and black enamel surround. A total of 234 lots will come under the hammer.

    A selection of lots from Matthews 

    In Kells the auction at Matthews will offer silver and gold from various executor instructions, pawnbrokers unredeemed pledges and lots from private clients.  The top lot is a Toi et Moi diamond ring (€12,000-€18,000).  There is much to choose from in a wide selection of rings, brooches, bracelets, earrings, pendants and wristwatches.  Happy hunting….


    Thursday, January 4th, 2024
    SEAN SCULLY (B.1945) – Raval Rojo (2004)

    The most expensive painting sold in Ireland in 2023 was Sean Scully’s Raval Rojo. It made a hammer price of €580,000 at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish and International online art sale last April. At Whyte’s total sales were just under €6 million, there was a new world record for a work on paper by Harry Clarke at James Adam and in 2023 Bonhams recorded the best every turnover in their 230 year history. Sotheby’s continued their Irish sales in Paris, along with London and Christie’s reported projected global sales for art and luxury goods in 2023 of €5.8 billion and say their is a promising pipeline of consignments already in motion for 2024.

    As we leave 2023 behind there is every reason to be optimistic about the coming year in the art, luxury and collectible end of things. At Christie’s last year there was a strong influx of new buyers (35%) and a growing participation of Millennials and Generation Z. Much of this is driven by popular culture. Think Freddie Mercury at Sotheby’s and Lady Diana’s dress at Julien’s.

    Whyte’s achieved the highest prices in Ireland in 2023 for Jack Yeats (€290,00), Sir John Lavery (€230,000) and Paul Henry (€155,000) – excluding buyers’ premium and VAT. A Seán Keating painting, The Goose Girl, made €62,000 in December. Adams sold over €500,000 worth of paintings by Paul Henry and Harry Clarke’s The Colloquy of Monos and Una, a 1923 illustration for Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, made a record €70,000 and joined the collection of the Crawford Gallery in Cork, where it is now on display.


    Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) – The Captain (1948)

    The Captain by Jack B Yeats was the top lot at the James Adam sale of important Irish Art in Dublin tonight. It made €95,000 at hammer. Near Leenane by Paul Henry made €80,000, Aran Harbour by Sean Keating made €75,000, The Colloquy of Monus and Una, a pencil, ink and watercolour by Harry Clarke made €70,000, Keem Bay by Paul Henry made €65,000 and Paysage Sinistre by Henry made €60,000.

    Harry Clarke RHA (1889 – 1931) – The Colloquy of Monos and Una (1923)


    Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

    This portrait of Irish tenor John McCormack (1884-1945), considered to be one of the finest singers of the first quarter of the 20th century, by the Scottish artist David Cowan Dobson comes up as lot 70 at the James Adam timed online picture sale which runs until November 15. The oil on canvas, signed and dated 1944, is estimated at just €500-€700. Dobson first exhibited at the Royal Academy when he was only 19 and was a leading London portrait painter of his day. Among his sitters were Admiral Lord Beatty, Clement Attlee, the Duke of Argyll and Harold Wilson.


    Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

    This pair of Kangxi parrots with late 19th century ormolu mounts made a hammer price of €32,000 over a top estimate of €8,000 at the James Adam Country House Collections sale at today. The mounts for the Famille Verte biscuit figures are stamped MB for Theodor Millet. A pair of 1776 elliptical side tables to a design by Wyatt made €50,000, a George III three pillar extending dining table made €19,000, a pair of capriccio Italian landscapes by Willem van der Hagen made €22,000 over a top estimate of €3,000, an Irish George III hall table made €55,000, Lady Nugent’s Hunter by John Ferneley snr made €32,000, an Irish mahogany rectangular side table made €17,000, an 18th century Gisburne Park Rules board made €9,000, The Salmon Leap at Leixlip by Thomas Roberts made €26,000, and a portrait of William Hoare Hume of Humewood by Robert Lucius West made €20,000.

    The Blessington Commode attributed to John Kirkhoffer was bought prior to the sale by the National Museum of Ireland.


    Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

    This antique Irish card table comes up as lot 331 at the second day of the James Adam annual Country House Collections sale on October 10. The estimate is €1,000-€2,000. The first day is a timed online auction while day two will be live and online from the Adams saleroom at St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin. The 757-lot auction draws together period furniture, paintings, silverware and decorative objects from some of Ireland’s finest country houses as well as from more modest collections but with the emphasis on quality and rarity. Viewing at Townley Hall near Drogheda gets underway on October 7 and the catalogue is online.



    Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
    Lemon Queen by Genieve Figgis at Whyte’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE 29,000 AT HAMMER

    Propelled on to the international stage by the use of Twitter Genieve Figgis has a contemporary rags to riches story that breaks the mould. In just a decade the Dublin born artist has gone from creating art on the kitchen table and working part time in a shop in order to get by to a secondary market (art already sold once) turnover of €2.6 million and a primary market at auction in Hong Kong. The work she posted on the social media platform attracted the attention of renowned American painter and photographer Richard Prince.  He bought some and subsequently introduced Figgis to New York where she is now represented by the Helwaser Gallery and has had a number of solo exhibitions. Figgis has been included in landmark exhibitions and is the first Irish artist commissioned by Dior to reinterpret their Lady Dior handbag.

    Lemon Queen by Genieve Figgis comes up at Whyte’s in Dublin with an estimate of €25,000-€35,000.  It is among an appetising selection at upcoming sales at Adams on September 27 and Whyte’s on October 2.

    The Kiss by Rowan Gillespie at James Adam. UPDATE: THIS MADE 22,000 AT HAMMER

    The sale of Important Irish Art at Adams offers sculpture, oil paintings, watercolours and tapestries by some of our most admired artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. An atmospheric Yeats – On a Western Quay – is one of a number of lots by the artist.  Evening by Paul Henry is a pure landscape dating to 1924/25 and Eden, a late 1940’s Aubusson tapestry designed by Louis le Brocquy are among the main lots. There is striking art by Gerard Dillon and William Conor. 19th century art on offer includes rare works by Sir Thomas Alfred Jones, William John Hennessy and Howard Helmick along with art by James Arthur O’Connor and Thomas Rose Miles. The Kiss by Rowan Gillespie is a 16″ high bronze – number eight from an edition of nine – of a popular public full sized sculpture by Gillespie opposite the National Concert Hall on Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin. It dates to 1990.  Torso by the same artist is from 1994.  Curiosities of the sale include a limited edition black and white photograph of Michael MacLiammoir by Fergus Bourke, the last ever stage photograph of the dramatist and actor and a leather bound journal by craft student  Norah O’Kelly with illustrations by Sir William Orpen and Harry Clarke.

     The last ever stage photograph of Micheal MacLiammoir at James Adam. UPDATE: THIS MADE 750 AT HAMMER

    The sale by Whyte’s takes place at Freemason’s Hall on Molesworth St. with viewing at Whyte’s galleries.  The catalogue cover lot is The Currach, Kilronan by Gerard Dillon. Still Waters by Sean Keating is an Aran Island work exhibited at the RHA in 1947.  Another important lot is ‘He won’t bite you” by Sir John Lavery depicting an infant’s cautious encounter with a curious dog in a Scottish garden. The sale offers paintings by Letitia Hamilton, an early work by John Shinnors of Christine Keeler and a watercolour of Nassau St. in Dublin by Rose Barton once in the Mount Juliet collection of racehorse breeder Major Victor McCalmont and included in the Crawford Gallery Retrospective in 1987. Among the artists featured at Whytes are William Orpen, William Leech, Tony O’Malley, Norah McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy.  There are small collections of art by Percy French, Charles Lamb and Patrick Leonard, an early portrait of Paul Henry by Robert Ponsonby Staples, and paintings by Arthur Maderson, Cecil Maguire, Ciaran Clear, Mark O’Neill, Graham Knuttel and Markey Robinson.

    Nassau St. from outside The Kildare St. Club by Rose Barton at Whyte’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE 13,000 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, September 16th, 2023
    A 19th gold charm featuring Napoleon, courtesy of Dublin jeweller JW Weldon, will be spotlighted at Ireland’s collection of statement pieces, Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers Fair, which takes place in Dublin’s RDS from September 15-17. Details from

    With Timeless in full swing at the RDS in Dublin today and tomorrow and a number of upcoming sales of Important Irish art in prospect the busy autumn season continues on its merry way in Ireland. The annual Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair running for the 56th time offers an eclectic blend of contemporary and antique focused exhibitors and is designed to appeal to both young contemporaries and seasoned collectors.  With its eye watering results the Freddie Mercury sales at Sotheby’s this month (his Yamaha grand piano made just over €2 million) demonstrated once again the importance of celebrity and in this respect Timeless does not disappoint.  Statement pieces on offer include a rare bookcase favoured both by David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld and a 400 year old diamond ring that would once have travelled to the UK along the old Silk Road.

    The Memphis Milano Carlton bookcase offered by Acquired was designed by Ettore Sottsass and once graced a Florence palazzo.  Its ground breaking form challenged existing rules, something immediately recognised by fashion and rock icons Lagerfeld and Bowie, both of whom had one.  It is priced at €17,000.  J.W. Weldon will offer a 17th century diamond ring crafted in England, the oldest ring they have ever handled. It is priced at €3,950.  Among other rarities is a 9th century French charm from a bracelet which features a cannon and a statue of Napoleon and a folding travelling silver chess set designed in 1972 to commemorate the Fischer-Spassky world championship. “The best of the past is also best for the future”, Garret Weldon, president of the IADA remarked. “Our trade is the original sustainable industry and helps the planet through a reduction in manufacturing and waste”.

    On a Western Quay by Jack B Yeats at Adams. UPDATE: THIS MADE 110,000 AT HAMMER

    Important Irish art sales are in the offing at James Adam on September 27 and at Whytes on October 2.  A 1923 oil on panel by Yeats – On a Western Quay – is a highlight at Adams and estimated at €100,000-€150,000. It depicts pilot Michael Gillen, who guided ships along the Garavogue River to the Sligo quayside, and who appears in several paintings and drawings by Yeats.  Another top lot with a similar estimate in this auction of 158 lots is Evening by Paul Henry c1924-25.  It comes from a private collection in Cork.  The sale offers highly collectible  art by artists like Louis le Brocquy, Gerard Dillon, William Conor and Rowan Gillespie.  Viewing gets underway on September 22 and the catalogue is online.

    The Currach, Kilronan by Gerard Dillon at Whyte’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE 50,000 AT HAMMER

    Still Waters by Sean Keating and The Currach, Kilronan by Gerard Dillon, each estimated at €60,000-€80,000 are highlights at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International art on October 2.  Lord George Hell by Sir William Orpen is based on a Regency reprobate, the principal character in Max Beerbohm’s 1896 story The Happy Hypocrite. Hell sets out to woo dancer Jenny Mere with whom he has fallen in love wearing a mask to cover his pock marked face.  When he succeeds and removes the mask his face has miraculously healed and become “saintly”, such is the power of love.  The story was dramatised into a one act play and in his oil on canvas Orpen set out to create the impression of a late 18th/early 19th century print (€10,000-€15,000).   Viewing at Whyte’s gets underway on September 25 and the catalogue is online.


    Saturday, September 2nd, 2023
     A pair of Regency gilt bronze Armorial lustres at Sheppards. UPDATE: THESE MADE 460 AT HAMMER

    Offering everything from a carved Black Forest standing bear and fine antique furniture to a restored Steinway boutique grand piano there will be a feast of interiors auctions for Irish collectors next week.  No less than nine days of sales will be packed into just four days up and down the country on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Catalogues for all auctions are online and all are now on view.  Aidan Foley’s online hotel interiors sale can be viewed at Prussia St. in Dublin and includes a life size Black Forest Bear (€1,200-€1,600). This two day sale takes place on September 4 and 5. Adams At Home sale featured on these pages last week is in Dublin on Monday. Victor Mee’s three day Decorative Interiors sale on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is headed by a Steinway grand (€20,000-€30,000) and is on view at Cloverhill in Co. Cavan. Meantime a selection of fine antique furniture from Sheppards two day interiors sale on  Tuesday and Wednesday is on view in Durrow, Co. Laois.

    A restored Steinway boutique grand piano at Victor Mee UPDATE: THIS MADE 18,000 AT HAMMER

    With 1,287 lots Aidan Foley’s sale kicks off with a selection of mirrors, lighting, bedside lockers, tables and chairs.  There are some decorative metal wall hangings and plenty of framed pictures and prints.  There is a selection of banqueting tables and chairs, restaurant tables, sets of open armchairs, sofas, desks, tableware, kitchen equipment, advertising signs, a bronze bust of Michael Collins (€1,600-€2,000) and more than enough to open an hotel and decorate it too. The fully restored rosewood Steinway boutique grand piano at Victor Mee’s three day decorative interiors sale in Belturbet, Co. Cavan which gets underway on Tuesday evening is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  Lot 382 is the most expensively estimated piece in the auction. Other top lots include a 19th century ebonised inverted breakfront credenza and an early 20th century French moulded stone gazebo with a wrought iron top, each estimated at €8,000-€12,000.  With everything from wrought iron entrance gates to a Georgian longcase clock and a set of 1950’s Louis Vuitton luggage the sale offers a huge variety of furniture and collectibles including a 19th century French burr walnut music box and a vintage metal childs pedal car.

    An Arts and Crafts inlaid secretaire at James Adam. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Fine antique furniture is a feature at Sheppards sale of over 700 lots on Tuesday and Wednesday. From 18th century parcel gilt console tables and a set of ten Regency dining chairs to an 18th century Danish silver tea urn and a monumental carved wood American eagle and a 19th century satinwood period pier cabinet there is much to tempt collectors.  Rarities include a cast iron Great Southern Western Railway plaque (€120-€180), a 17th century leather wine pouch (€350-€600), a collection of nine oval Indian miniatures painted on ivory (€1,800-€3,000) and a pair of Regency gilt bronze armorial lustres (€500-€700). The timed online At Home sale at James Adam offers more than 400 lot with examples of Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Deco, 19th century French furniture, a Victorian framed settee, an ebonised credenza and a selection of silver along with carpets, runners, kilims and prayer rugs.  This auction ends from 11 am on Monday.