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    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

    Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

    Brian Friel was a fan of the Cork artist Patrick Hennessy, one of whose paintings The Yew Walk was acquired by The National Gallery of Ireland at Sotheby’s in London last week for 9,794 euro. The playwright’s widow Anne Friel is donating the proceeds of the sale 23 paintings at James Adam in Dublin on September 26 to the Peter McVerry Trust which has been at the forefront of helping homeless people for many years.

    Among them are four Hennessy’s including two major works featuring horses, Herding the Horses and Ruin and Horsemen. Estimates are around 7,000 and 6,000 respectively. Another highlight of the Anne Friel donation is Basil Blackshaw’s Game Cock bought as a gift for her husband as she thought the bird had the look of a survivor about it.  Pictured here is Herding the Horses.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 10,000 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, June 14th, 2018

    An Irish marble topped side table from the sale of the William Randolph Hearst collection in New York in 1939 is a feature lot at the At Home sale by James Adam in Dublin on June 17.  It is estimated at 8,000-10,000. A George IV silver vine leaf dessert service is estimated at 6,000-10,000 and a set of George III neoclassical candlesticks is estimated at 6,000-8,000.   There are 672 lots.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    AN IRISH MARBLE TOPPED SERPENTINE SIDE TABLE, c.1830 once in the Hearst Collection (8,000-10,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,000 AT HAMMER

    A George IV dessert set, Sheffield, 1829 (6,000-10,000).  UPDATE: THESE MADE 16,500 AT HAMMER


    A SET OF FOUR GEORGE III NEO-CLASSICAL SILVER CANDLESTICKS, London 1785, mark of John Wakelin & William Taylor (6,000-8,000)  UPDATE: THESE MADE 7,000 AT HAMMER



    Monday, September 25th, 2017
    A Connemara Cottage by Paul Henry is the top lot at the James Adam evening sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on September 27. It has not been seen in public since it was bought directly from the artist in 1931 and is estimated at 60,000-80,000.

    The sale of about 100 lots from the UTV Collection, which was begun in 1959, will dominate the Irish art selection at James Adam.  It offers a snapshot of art in Ulster throughout the 20th century. The Belfast Boys – Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton, George Campbell and Dan O’Neill – are well represnted, Laganside at Dusk by Basil Blackshaw was an important commission and there is work by a range of artists from FE MacWilliam to Camille Souter.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Paul Henry RHA (1877-1958) A Connemara Cottage 1925-30 (60,000-80,000)   UPDATE: THIS MADE 87,000 AT HAMMER

    Laganside at Dusk (1997) by Basil Blackshaw (40,000-60,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 35,000 AT HAMMER

    F.E. Mc William “Woman of Belfast III” (12,000 – 16.000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 35,000 AT HAMMER

    Gerard Dillon “The Artist in the country” (15,000 – 20,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 39,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, May 14th, 2017
    MORE than 180 lots of rare Irish and English silver from the collection of Jimmy Weldon will come under the hammer at James Adam in Dublin on May 16.  On offer is a selection ranging from the rarest of Irish provincial spoons to quirky table decorations.
    Provincial Irish silver is rare and prized nationally and internationally. The highlight of the sale is a Kinsale silver trifid spoon made by brothers William and Joseph Wall around 1712. It is estimated at 8,000-12,000.  There is a similar estimate on a fluted Limerick sugar bowl made by Collins Brehon around 1750. A second piece of Limerick silver is a c1785 soup ladle by Maurice Fitzgerald (4,000). A gold Claddagh ring made c1775 in Galway has an estimate of 3,000.
    There are a number of pieces of Georgian Cork silver  from makers like Carden Terry and Jane Williams,  Michael MacDermott, John Nicolson, William Reynolds and George Hodder. Major Dublin pieces from the early 18th century include a 1737 globular tea kettle on stand by Thomas Sutton and a 1715 strawberry dish by John Hamilton.  There is a collection of four early 19th century seals with the armorials of the 7th Viscount Powerscourt.  He was responsible for the remodelling of Powerscourt and laid out the gardens as we know them today.  The seals are estimated at 8,000.

    Weldon’s was established in Clarendon St. in central Dublin in the 1890’s. In the 1960’s Jimmy Weldon joined the business founded by his grandfather. A genial expert on Irish Georgian silver who has served twice as Master Warden of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

    A very rare Kinsale silver trifid spoon (8,000-12,000  UPDATE: THIS MADE 11,000 AT HAMMER

    A c1750 Limerick sugar bowl by Collins Brehon (8,000-12,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 13,000 AT HAMMER


    Monday, December 19th, 2016
    The big winter Irish art sales – by de Veres, Whytes, Morgan O’Driscoll and James Adam – grossed almost five million euro. This figure suggests that market for Irish art is in a state of rude good health.  The real story is more complex.  Bidding is brisk, turnover is up and the market has its problems. All auctioneers are finding it difficult to source top quality works.  “What incentive is there to sell when you can get no interest on your money” one asked.
    Right now this remains very much a buyer’s market. Prices are deflated and a correction upwards is long overdue.  The view is that this has to happen, the only question is when.  Meantime prices are far from stratospheric across all levels and ranges. Todays art buyer has become both discriminating and picky and there is a price above which they will not venture.
    The market in 2016 was unpredictable and threw up some surprising results.  Adams failed to get their main Yeats away at the latest sale but still grossed 1.35 million with 76% of lots on offer finding buyers. Morgan O’Driscoll capped off what he described as an unbelievable year with a Dublin sale that drew bidders from 12 countries and grossed over a million this month. The September sale at Whyte’s was the most successful since 2008 and a small west of Ireland landscape by Paul Henry made a hammer price of 87,000 at their latest sale. A large pastel by Sean Scully sold for 165,000 at the late November auction by de Veres, which grossed around 1.6 million. And Sean Keating’s Aran Woman and her Children sold for 130,000 at hammer a Mealy’s this month – the first time since 2008 that a Keating sold for a six figure sum. Sell through rates of around 75%-80% are being reported from most sales.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte's

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte’s


    Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

    Jack B. Yeats - Glory to the Brave Singer (250,000-350,000)

    Jack B. Yeats – Glory to the Brave Singer (250,000-350,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS PASSED AT 230,000

    A great late Yeats work will highlight the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art and Irish historical documents in Dublin on December 7.  Glory to the Brave Singer, which depicts a woman reclining in a landscape pointing towards a songbird, was exhibited at the RHA in 1951, at Victor Waddington’s in Dublin in October 1953 and at the Munster Fine Art Club annual exhibition in Cork in 1956. It was shown several times at Victor Waddington’s gallery in London in the late 1950’s and ’60’s but has rarely been seen in public since becoming part of a private collection in 1971. It is estimated at 250,000-350,000. It is one of four Yeats’ oils in what Adams describe as one of their finest sales in some years.

    There is a small section on Irish historical documents which includes the most expensively estimated lot, the final order of surrender written  by Padraig Pearse at Easter 1916 (1-1.5 million) and two original copies of the Irish Proclamation (each estimated at 250,000-350,000).

    The art sale features lots from the Smurfit Kappa Collection, which includes a self portrait by Sir William Orpen (the catalogue cover lot) and Paul Henry’s Connemara Landscape.  There are important works by traditional Northern painters like Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig and Maurice Wilks.  The back cover of the catalogue features one of Roderic O’Conor’s biggest and most ambitious paintings of the female nude. Etude du nu dates to 1914 and is estimated at 50,000-70,000. The sale features work by artists like Sir John Lavery, Joseph Malachy Kavanagh, Aloysius O’Kelly and Nathaniel Hill as well as four paintings by Patrick Hennessy who was the subject of an exhibition at IMMA during the summer.

    There is work by Mildred Anne Butler, Evie Hone, Mainie Jellett, Letitia and Eva Hamilton and Norah McGuinness.  Contemporary artists include Tony O’Malley, Louis le Brocquy, Mark Francis, Donald Teskey and John Doherty.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE:   The Pearse surrender letter was unsold.  The sale grossed 1.35 million with 76% of lots sold.

    Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012) Human Image (Woman) (1997) (40,000-60,000)

    Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
    Human Image (Woman) (1997) (40,000-60,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Etude de Nu (50,000-70,000)

    Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940)
    Etude de Nu (50,000-70,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-1980) The Bronze Horses of Saint Marks (1953) (15,000-20,000)

    Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-1980)
    The Bronze Horses of Saint Marks (1953) (15,000-20,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER

    Norah McGuinness HRHA (1901-1980) Waterweeds on the Nore (4,000-6,000)

    Norah McGuinness HRHA (1901-1980)
    Waterweeds on the Nore (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,500 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

    Some impressive results were recorded at the James Adam Country House Collections auction at Townley Hall near Drogheda on October 11, but too many lots failed to find buyers.  A portrait of Captain John Byron, grandfather of the poet, from the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds made 32,000 at hammer. The top lot of the sale, another portrait, this one attributed to Van Dyke made 68,000.  The subject was Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory.

    A very rare French flintlock gun – according to the catalogue further research showed that it was made for Louis XVI – made 10,000 at hammer.  A rare German 16th century wheel lock rifle made 12,000.

    A Killarney davenport of exhibition size made 31,000 at hammer, a Killarney tea table made 11,000.  A pair of Irish George III gilt wood mirrors sold for 20,000 and a pair of Great Irish Deer Antlers made 17,000. A silver paten on foot, made c1717 by Joseph Walker with a provenance of Malahide Castle, sold for 2,000,  a View over Dublin Bay by William Sadler II made 11,700, a large Irish mahogany side table with green marble top c1740 made 9,500 as did a set of four Irish Gainsborough armchairs.  The Spartan Boy by Nathaniel Hone the elder sold for 27,000.  A pair of Irish George III tea tables made 18,000, a George III silver table made 4,500,  a walnut chest on chest made 4,600, Figures Skating on a frozen river by Frederik Marinus Kruseman made 21,000 and a Regency rosewood library table made 12,000.

    (See posts on for October 9 and October 6, 2016)

    Nathaniel Hone the elder - The Spartan Boy sold for 27,000 at hammer

    Nathaniel Hone the elder – The Spartan Boy sold for 27,000 at hammer

    This paten on foot, provenance Malahide Castle, made 2,000

    This paten on foot, provenance Malahide Castle, made 2,000

    This pair of Irish George III gilt wood mirrors made 20,000 at hammer,

    This pair of Irish George III gilt wood mirrors made 20,000 at hammer,

    This Killarney wood davenport made 31,000 at hammer.

    This Killarney wood davenport made 31,000 at hammer.


    Thursday, October 6th, 2016

    The 18th century French sporting gun

    The 18th century French sporting gun. UPDATE: THIS MADE 10,000 AT HAMMER

    An 18th flintlock sporting gun is one of the more unusual lots at the Country House Collections auction by James Adam at Townley Hall, Drogheda, Co. Louth on October 11.  It was made by a gunmaker who managed to keep his head in revolutionary France.  Nicholas-Noel Boutet was a director of the Versailles Rifle Manufactory. He was son of the Royal Gunsmith and had the title Gunmaker in Ordinary to the King.  But during the Revolution he worked for Napoleon at the State of Arms company.

    The gun, which is estimated at 8,000-12,000 is single stage barrel.  The sighting ridge is engraved with a sunburst with crown and numbered No.38.  There is a carved walnut stock extending fully to the muzzle, with ebon ramrod. The silver mounts are hallmarked and engraved with foliage.  There is a leather cheek piece at the butt.  The catalogue for the sale, which is online, lists 647 lots.