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    Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

    This Qing polychrome dish with poetry inscriptions and the seal mark of Qianlong to the base comes up as lot 36 at Sheppards two day sale of contents from Woodfield House, Broadford, Co. Clare online on August 17-18. More than 900 lots are to be sold in four sessions over two days. The auction will include the entire contents of the house, gardens, stables and outoffices, as well as lots from other clients. There will be viewing at the house in accordance with Covid guidelines from August 14-16. The online sale will take place from Castlecomer and the dish pictured here is estimated at 1,500-2,500. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,800 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, August 5th, 2021

    This Regency rosewood sofa table comes up at Sheppards two day sale of from Woodfield House, Broadford, Co. Clare and other clients on August 17 and 18. There will be viewing at the house from August 14-16. The sale will be online from Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. More than 900 lots will come under the hammer in an auction which Sheppards has broken up into four separate sessions for the convenience of bidders. The sofa table is lot 24 and estimated at 1,500-2,500. The catalogue for the sale is online.


    Saturday, June 26th, 2021

    A large untitled iron sculpture by John Burke, exhibited outside the Crawford Gallery for many years, comes up at Sheppards annual Glantelwe Gardens sale in Durrow on June 30. The catalogue is online and in person viewing gets underway today. One of the most significant figures in the history of sculpture in Ireland the pioneering John Burke, who died in 2006, introduced the use of steel and welding process into an Irish world of sculpture dominated by carved marble and cast bronze. Like any artist ahead of his time his work is not always understood.  Two of his best known pieces are the Red Cardinal at the Department of Health in Dublin and the large untitled piece at the Wilton Roundabout in Cork. A native of Clonmel, John Burke studied at the Crawford in Cork and the Royal Academy in London and travelled widely before setting up a workshop and studio near Blarney.  He taught at the Crawford and numbered acclaimed artists like Vivienne Roche, Eilis O’Connell and Maud Cotter among his pupils.  He made large and small pieces which are held in public and private collections. It is rare to see his work coming up at auction and this piece is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.

    Gardens have become much more important in the lives of many of us during lockdown and in this sale Sheppards has no less than 522 lots of architectural ornament, garden statuary and about 30 lots of floral themed jewellery. There is something for every garden and every budget from a half life size bacchanal fountain by Robin Buick (€25,000-€35,000) to a 19th century terracotta chimney pot (€100-€150). 

    John Burke – Untitled. UPDATE: THIS MADE 110,000 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, May 15th, 2021

    A signed watercolour by Lin Fengmian will highlight Sheppards sale of Fortlands House, Charleville, Co. Cork – the home of Mary O’Connor – and other clients on May 19 and 20.  Mary O’Connor is well known throughout Ireland as a lady who ran a successful antique business from Fortlands for many years. Lot 572, a watercolour portrait by Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), shows a young girl looking at her hat seated beside a vase of flowers.  The face in this portrait by a pioneering artist known for blending Chinese and western styles recalls the style of Modigliani. While in Germany Lin became interested in the teachings of Schopenhauer, who conceived the notion of philosophical pessimism. Schopenhauer recognised certain similarities in Western and Eastern philosophy and suggested that aesthetic contemplation could be an escape from human suffering. This resonated deeply with Lin whose mother was sold when he was seven years old. He never saw her again.  Back in China he fell foul of the Cultural Revolution and chose to destroy all his paintings to prevent them being used against him.  He was imprisoned for four and a half years.  His paintings are highly valued and very rare.  This one is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.


    The two day sale offers a selection of highly affordable lots from furniture and silver to ceramics and collectibles including swords and shillelaghs.  There is a plentiful selection of jewellery including a diamond line bracelet (€10,000-€15,000) and Chinese and Oriental ceramics and bronzes, an Edwardian vanity set, modern bookshelves and a foxes head brass door knocker (€100-€150).Lot 209 is a 19th century French marquetry writing desk (€800-€1,200) and there is a similar estimate on a circular Regency dining table.  A Victorian mahogany pedestal sideboard is estimated at a mere €300-€500, a Victorian dining table is estimated at €2,500-€3,500 and a Georgian breakfront bookcase at €2,000-€3,000. Given that Sheppards, more than any other Irish auction house, has been successful in selling precious Oriental objects back to collectors in China it seems likely that they will succeed in getting away lot 588 – a Chinese Qing white jade Imperial seal with an estimate of  €80,000-€120,000. Of more local interest is a selection of cast iron garden pieces, staddle stones and benches. There is also some country furniture such as a famine chair, a brass bound noggin, a double fish oil light and a pair of elm benches.  The auction takes place over four online sessions and the final session on Thursday afternoon will be entirely devoted to silver and plate.


    Saturday, April 24th, 2021

    Fletchers Shamrock Table from 1852 and a magnificent contemporary table set by Joseph Walsh – both masterpieces made in Cork – are among the highlights at Sheppards two day Great Irish Interiors online sale next Wednesday and Thursday (April 28-29).

    Shamrock table. UPDATE: THIS MADE 69,000 AT HAMMER

    John Fletcher was a cabinet maker at 71 Patrick St. in Cork in the 19th century.  His remarkable nationalist table is shaped like a shamrock with a central inlaid motif of a female figure of Erin in flowing robes leaning on a harp. It is composed of 13 different woods.  When it was sent to America after failing to sell at the Irish Industrial Exhibition of 1852 the Cork poet Daniel Casey wrote a lament.  The table – now estimated at €80,000-€120,000 – was exhibited to acclaim at the New York Exhibition of 1853.

    Joseph Walsh Prism table and figure of six chairs. UPDATE: THIS MADE 60,000 AT HAMMER

    The art of contemporary maker Joseph Walsh is exhibited regularly to similar acclaim these days in America and everywhere else. The work of Joseph Walsh is in the Permanent Collections of The Metropolitan Museum and The Cooper Hewitt in New York, The Centre Pompidou in Paris, our own National Gallery and many other prestige collections.  His Prism round dining table and six Figure of Six chairs is estimated at €40,000-€60,000.

    With everything from an African Ashanti headrest to a Clonmel longcase clock to crystal chandeliers, a 19th century Irish cased brass theodolite, antique furniture, art and a papier mache and leather artwork of James Joyce seated in a chair by Graham Knuttel the sale at Sheppards is brimful of interest.    The catalogue is online.


    Friday, March 5th, 2021

    This pair of Dublin Chippendale carvers come up at Sheppards online auction of contents from Eyrefield Lodge Stud at The Curragh, home to Sir Edmund and Lady Susan Loder, on March 11 and 12. The c1900 chairs are estimated at 1,500-2,500 and come up as lot 95. There are 860 lots from Eyrefield Lodge and other clients and for the convenience of bidders the sales are broken up into four sessions of around 200 lots each.


    Thursday, February 4th, 2021

    A triptych portrait of cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan sold for a hammer price of £46,500 at Sheppards in Durrow today. Sold for Heroes Aid, a newly registered charity dedicated to healthcare workers during the pandemic, it is by the Tullamore based artist Vincent Devine. Vicky Phelan’s narrative is conveyed as past, present and future acted out on Doonbeg beach in the west of Ireland. The left-hand panel is dominated by a powerful assemblage of equine flesh and bone whose forward motion is suddenly halted. The sitter engages directly with the viewer in the centre panel. Events, both joyful and traumatic are rendered symbolically. Her outstretched right hand supports a bird, a young crimson rosella, representative of her daughter; on her left hand, her son as a sapling oak. Beneath her left foot, a colonnade represents a legal triumph while shamrocks close to her heart are emblematic of the continuous support she has received from the people of Ireland and beyond. In the right-hand panel a horse is looking backwards and a flickering candle reminds the viewer of the fragility of life itself.  The portrait was unveiled on the Late Late Show in January.  Vicky Phelan is currently trialling a new cancer drug in the US.


    Friday, November 27th, 2020

    A Chinese celadon vase made a record hammer price of 1.2 million at Sheppards online sale in Durrow, Co. Laois today. It had been estimated at 800-1,200. Bidding started at 500. There was a number of serious underbidders, the first of whom dropped out at 130,000. Two bidders quickly chased it all the way to the final price. It was bought by a collector based in Taiwan. The Yongheng vase measures just 54 cms and came from a private collection. It is not known how the 300 year old piece came to Ireland. The sale was based on contents from Castlehyde, home of Michael Flatley on the River Blackwater, but the vase was not part of his collection. The vendor did have some idea that it was possibly worth a lot of money and before the sale a number of potential bidders had registered a serious interest.


    Friday, November 6th, 2020

    Michael Flatley’s clearout of Castlehyde near Fermoy to prepare for a refurbishment offers something for collectors across the board – even those who might be into a spot of cannibalism. Pride of place in the sale, to be held online at Sheppards in Durrow on November 26-27, is the mask worn by Anthony Hopkins when he played Hannibal Lecter, the fictional forensic psychiatrist who liked to eat his victims. Signed by Hopkins and co-star Julianne Moore it is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.



    Not the usual stuff of country house sales, but the Lord of the Dance, who has poured millions into the restoration of the Palladian mansion on the banks of the River Blackwater, is in the realm of collectors who are more extraordinary than ordinary.  He is planning a major overhaul of the interior so these pieces are surplus to requirements.More than 700 items collected during the past 20 years will come under the hammer.  Period pieces include a pair of 19th century French marble console tables (€8,000-€12,000),  a pair of large gilt bronze figures of nymphs each holding a torch (€5,000-€8,000), a Victorian console table and mirror (€5,000-€8,000) and a pair of Edwardian satinwood wing armchair (€1,400-€1,800).  There are medieval style suits of armour (€500-€800 each) which are reproduction.  So are the Graeco Roman busts displayed in the dining room (from €500-€1,200).  There is a Louis XVI desk (€4,000-€6,000),  a full size billiard table (€3,000-€5,000), a hide covered Chesterfield (€1,000-€1,500) and some French Rococo style sofas.When he retired from dancing Michael Flatley took to art.  One of his pieces, entitled Finishing Line, is at €40,000-€60,000, the second most expensively estimated item in the auction. UPDATE: THE FINISHING LINE ARTWORK MADE 37,000 AT HAMMER

    19th century billiard table. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

    AN opportunity to submerge those lockdown sorrows arises at Sheppards wines and accessories online auction in Durrow on October 22 and 23. The sale of over 800 lots is broken up into three sessions and the catalogue is online.