Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘James Joyce’


    Friday, November 17th, 2023

    The Irish Sale: Vision and Voice by Bonhams opens for bidding today. Bonhams first sale on the island of Ireland will be on view at the City Assembly House in Dublin from November 24-28. Kieran O’ Boyle, Head of Bonhams Ireland and Northern Ireland commented: “Bonhams will be celebrating those whose vision and voice shaped the cultural and artistic identity of Ireland through Irish art, culture, design, and history. This sale offers an exciting and rich selection of works, not least the remarkable Irish News Collection.” Featuring over 30 works, The Irish News Collection will lead the sale. Formed over 40 years by the late Jim Fitzpatrick, former owner of The Irish News, Ireland’s largest selling morning newspaper, the collection features Irish art from the 19th century to the modern
    day. Among the highlights is a portrait by Sir William Orpen (1878-1931) of his daughter Christine, universally known as Kit. Portrait of Kit, estimated at €80,000-120,000, was painted in 1912, when she was just six years old. Other artists represented in this impressive collection include Margaret Clarke, Harry Kernoff, William Conor, Frank
    McKelvey, John Behan and Maeve McCarthy.

    The sale will showcase works from the collection of Mary Hobart including artists Michael Farrell, William Leech, and John Butler Yeats. Paul Henry is represented in this sale with a quintessential west of Ireland landscape, Killary Bay,
    Connemara (€120,000-180,000). The annotated typescripts from James Joyce’s novel, Finnegans Wake have an estimate of €40,000-60,000. Handwritten lyrics of Your song saved my Life by Bono are estimated at €10,000-15,000


    Monday, March 20th, 2023

    Annotated typescripts from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, mainly from Paris in 1936-37, will come up at Bonhams sale of fine books and manuscripts in Knightsbridge on March 29. Among them are sections of the third chapter of the second book, typed in black ink with Joyce’s autograph ink additions and two genealogies of “Finn” on two separate sheets. There are further revisions and corrections in the hand of either Joyce or more likely one or more of his amanuenses working on his instructions, in two parts. The lot, with 42 leaves in total, is estimated at £45,000-55,000. The sale also includes a series of six signed letters by Roger Casement to  to Max W. Karstensen of the Münchener Zeitung, 6 November 1915 to 6 March 1916, with supporting material. This lot is estimated at £4,000-6,000. UPDATE: The Casement letters made £4,845, the annotated Joyce typescripts were unsold.


    Monday, February 27th, 2023
    First editions of His Dark Materials, the trilogy by Philip Pullman  UPDATE: THIS MADE 600

    Fonsie Mealy’s timed online rare book and collectors sale, which continues until March 1 at 10 am is brimful of interest.  The first English edition of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, one of only 750 copies published by The Egoist in 1916, leads the auction.  It is estimated at €1,500-€2,000.  The sale ranges from a complete set of 18th century Irish Georgian Society Records to signed album sleeves by Jimi Hendrix and Wings, a Brazil jersey signed by Pele, literature from Anthony Trollope to John McGahern to Seamus Heany to sporting and political memorabilia.  The catalogue is online. Viewing takes place in Castlecomer on February 27-28.


    Friday, February 17th, 2023

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce from the first English edition published by The Egoist in 1916 leads Fonsie Mealy’s online rare book and collectors sale. The first English edition, one of only 750 copies of Joyce’s first novel, is estimated at €1,500-2,000. The online timed sale opens today and runs until March 1. The catalogue is online and there will be viewing in Castlecomer on February 27 and 28. The selection on offer ranges from Brian Merriman to Edna O’Brien, Seamus Heaney to Liam O’Flaherty, Anthony Trollope to John McGahern.

    There is an album and record sleeve signed by Jimi Hendrix, a complete set of Georgian Society records, a set of 18th century Georgian Society architectural records and a Brazil jersey signed by Pele among the 945 lots.


    Wednesday, December 21st, 2022
    An association copy, number 41 of only 100 numbered copies signed by Joyce

    An association copy of Ulysses, the most important and influential novel of the twentieth century, sold for $189,000 at Sotheby’s sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts in New York. It was number 41 of only 100 numbered copies signed by Joyce and printed on Dutch handmade paper. The estimate was $150,000-250,000.

    The total first edition of Ulysses was limited to 1,000 copies. Following the signed and numbered copies on Dutch handmade paper was an issue of 150 copies on vergé d’Arches paper, and an issue of 750 copies on handmade paper. The official date of publication was Joyce’s birthday, February 2, 1922, but difficulties with the cover meant that in fact only two copies, both from the 1/750 issue, were actually ready that day. No further copies of any issue of Ulysses appeared from the printer until February 9 (when a further batch of the 1/750 arrived), followed by the first of the 1/100 on February 13, and the 1/150 series on March 4. It is now thought that this reflects the order in which Ulysses was actually printed.


    Friday, May 27th, 2022

    The obstacles faced by James Joyce (1882-1941) in publishing his landmark modernist novel Ulysses would have tested the ingenuity of the hero of the Ancient World after whom the book is named. Judged too risqué to pass the draconian British obscenity laws, the novel was eventually published 100 years ago this year in Paris by Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, in an edition of 1,000. The original plan to publish on February 2 (Joyce’s 40th birthday) was thwarted by technical issues over the colour of the cover – the writer specified the blue of the Greek flag – and so only two copies were produced that day. To compound the problems, Beach seems to have forgotten to order the extra copies for the press. There should have been 40 press copies but in the event only 13 were produced – unbound and on very poor-quality paper. One of them with a fascinating history of its own is to be sold at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on June 22.  It is estimated at £30,000-50,000.

    Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley, said: “The history of this press copy is as dramatic as the publication of Ulysses itself. It had been sent for review to Jack Squire, editor of the London Mercury. No fan of the Modernists, (the feeling was mutual, Virginia Woolf calling him ‘more repulsive than words can express’), Squire took one look at the novel and ordered his secretary to burn it. But the book was bulky, the stove small and she soon gave up. Some years later this copy, by then incomplete, was found in a cupboard by Squire’s assistant editor, Alan Pryce-Jones, who, defying a further order to consign it to the flames, smuggled it to safety.”


    Friday, February 18th, 2022

    Irish delegates, with Eamon de Valera (centre), gather for ‘The World Congress of the Irish Race’, 1922, Paris

    A dedicated cross category sale entitled Ireland / France: Art, Literature, Wine will take place at Sotheby’s Paris on May 16. It will coincide with the cententary of The World Congress of the Irish Race when the newly founded Irish State participated in a week-long international conference in Paris. The aim of the event was to promote an independent Ireland on a world stage and display the country’s artistic and cultural uniqueness. For the occasion, a major, month-long Irish art exhibition of 300 works was also staged at Galeries Barbazanges a bold statement in the art capital of the world.

    Sotheby’s, which is currently seeking consignments for the sale in May, will offer key works by Ireland’s leading artists and writers with French connections or who were represented in the 1922 World Congress. France’s vineyards have also long attracted Irish connoisseurs and the sale will include a select group of lots with Irish links. Ulysses by James Joyce was first published in Paris in December 2020. There will be an online auction from May 9 – 16.

    Sotheby’s is currently seeking works by a variety of artists including August Burke, Harry Clarke, William Conor, Eileen Gray, Rowan Gillespie, Paul Henry, Mainie Jellett, Jack Yeats, William Leech, John Lavery, Countess Markievicz, Roderic O’Conor, Frank O’Meara, Louis le Brocquy, Walter Osborne, Evie Hone, William Scott, Sean Scully, Mary Swanzy, Leo Whelan and the writers James Joyce, J.M. Synge, Oscar Wilde and W B Yeats.


    Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

    A pocket watch mentioned in Ulysses by James Joyce comes up at Bonhams Time is Precious sale in Paris on November 4. The 18 carat gold hunter case pocket watch and chain was owned by John O’Connell, Superintendent of Glasnevin Cemetary. The reference to O’Connell’s watch comes in Hades, the sixth episode of Ulysses. The novel’s central character Leopold Bloom travels with the funeral procession from Paddy Dignam’s house to Glasnevin cemetery where O’Connell was Superintendent (or caretaker as Joyce calls him). O’Connell regales the small group of mourners with an anecdote, an event described by Joyce as follows: “The caretaker hung his thumbs in the loops of his gold watch chain and spoke in a discreet tone to their vacant smiles.”

    John Kileen O’Connell (1844-1925) was Superintendent of Glasnevin Cemetery, and a well-known and respected Dublin character. In Ulysses, Joyce described him as a ‘portly man’, who “ambushed among the grasses, raised his hat in homage” as the coffin of the deceased Paddy Dignam passed by on a barrow.

    Curator of the Time is Precious sale, James Stratton, said: “This watch has the most fascinating and unusual provenance of any I have ever encountered. To offer a tangible item from one of the most famous and influential novels of modern times is a rare privilege and something I never expect to be able to do again.” The watch is estimated at £50,000-£80,000.

    18ct gold hunter case pocket-watch and chain. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Monday, September 6th, 2021
    UPDATE: THIS MADE $400,000

    This presentation copy of Dubliners signed by James Joyce is among the highlights of The Exceptional Literature Collection of Theodore B. Baum, to be sold in two parts at Christie’s in New York this month. It is estimated at $150,000-250,000. Inscribed copies of Dubliners are very rare and only three have been recorded at auction in the past 80 years. This one is the only example still in its original dust jacket. It is inscribed by Joyce to his publisher Crosby Gaige: “To Crosby Gaige James Joyce Paris 25.V.28.” This inscription dates to just five months after Gaige published Anna Livia Plurabelle, a section of Finnegans Wake, in a signed limited edition of 850 copies.

    On November 28, 1905 Joyce mailed the manuscript of Dubliners to Grant Richards, who accepted it for publication in February 1906 and announced it the following month in The First Catalogue of Books Published by Grant Richards. In April, however, objections from the printer halted production. Joyce wrote an angry letter to Richards on 5 May: “You tell me in conclusion that I am endangering my future and your reputation. I have shown you earlier in the letter the frivolity of the printer’s objections and I do not see how the publication of Dubliners as it now stands in manuscript could possibly be considered an outrage on public morality…” (Herbert Gorman, James Joyce, pp.149). Although Joyce agreed to a few alterations, Richards soon abandoned his plans for Dubliners. Joyce offered the book to others, including Elkin Mathews and George Roberts at Maunsel. Maunsel printed an edition of 1,000 copies by July 1910 but this was destroyed by the printers because of objectionable passages. At the most, only a few sets of page proofs of this edition were retained by Joyce.

    Joyce returned to Richards on 23 November 1914, committed to publishing the book as it was written, which by then had grown by two stories, “A Little Cloud” and “The Dead,” the masterpiece with which the collection concludes. Joyce guaranteed the sale of 130 copies in Trieste. Richards agreed, signed a contract on 4 March 1914 and published the book on 15 June. 1,250 sets of sheets were printed, of which approximately 746 were bound in this edition. The remaining 504 sets were sold by Huebsch in New York.

    Mr. Baum’s library of literary first editions is among the finest ever assembled, built over the course of decades as he worked closely with top dealers and auction houses to locate the best copies of the most beloved books. The collection is particularly strong in works by English and American authors—from Edmund Spencer and John Milton in the 16th & 17th centuries through Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and Charles Dickens in the 18th & 19th centuries, all the way to Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison and more in the 20th century.

    The live online sale is on September 14. Part II of the online auction runs from September 2-17.

    UPDATE: The Exceptional Literature Collection of Theodore B. Baum, sold across two live and online sales, totalled $9,657,875, surpassing the pre-sale high estimate.


    Monday, July 12th, 2021

    The first published edition of James Joyce’s Dubliners comes up at an online sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s in New York until July 16. One of a number of works by Joyce in the auction it is estimated at $80,000-$120,000. It is one of approximately 746 copies bound in the publisher’s maroon cloth, with the very rare dust-jacket. A ticket pasted to the rear states that it was de-acidified in 1989. Only six copies in jacket have appeared at auction in the past forty-five years. Sotheby’s say that despite the restorations noted, this is an attractive, near-fine copy.

    The sale offers first editions of A Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses by Joyce as well as a letter from Oscar Wilde to Aimee Daniell Beringer and a copy of Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance. The catalogue is online.