Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, January 11th, 2021

    Here is a video on the highest value Masters Week in Sotheby’s history from January 22-30 in New York. It is comprised of seven sales of paintings, drawings, and sculpture including important works spanning across four centuries and two distinct, impressive single owner collections formed by Dr. John O’Brien and Hester Diamond. 


    Friday, January 8th, 2021

    A prehistoric pair of fossilised Irish Elk antlers come up as Lot 1 at Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale online until January 14. They are estimated at £25,000-£40,000. The Irish Elk or giant deer is thought to have originally colonised Siberia before migrating westwards in response to a deteriorating climate. The species became extinct 11,000 years ago. The largest concentration of its remains have been found in Irish bogland and many featured in Irish bnaqueting halls. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £44,100


    Friday, December 18th, 2020

    Consolidated sales so far this year at Sotheby’s stand at over $5 billion, with several auctions still to go.  And Christie’s has reported an accelerated shift to online sales with a 41% increase in luxury lots sold in online auctions; 82% increase in the number of luxury online sales, and a 205% increase in the value of online luxury sales year on year.

    Sotheby’s report that ease of access to a broader range of offerings brought a record influx of new buyers: this year Sotheby’s attracted the largest number of first-time buyers in 15 years with a 27% increase over 2019. Over 70% of auctions were held online in 2020 (up from 30% last year) and more than 40% of bidders and buyers in online auctions were new to Sotheby’s. The number of buyers aged under 40 doubled. Private sales so far in 2020 total over $1.5 billion, marking an all time record at any auction house.

    Christie’s report that performance has been strong across all categories with an 87% overall sell-through for the portfolio; 136 records were set across jewels, watches, wine and handbags and 53 lots achieved over $1 million. Christie’s luxury market report further highlighted global participation with bidders from 90 countries and 40% new buyers.

    The world auction record for a handbag was achieved at Christie’s in Hong Kong in November for this Matte White Himalaya Niloticus crocodile Kelly handbag by Hermes. It sold for US$437,330.


    Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

    A miniature dinner service commissioned in 1922, as a gift to HM Queen Mary for the worlds most famous doll’s house at Windsor Castle will highlight the Thomas Goode auction at Sotheby’s. The sale runs from December 22 to January 8. The five foot-tall house with working electricity, silver bath taps and flushing lavatories was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the early 1920s as a gift for Queen Mary, consort to King George V and grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II.

    Over 1,500 artists, craftsmen and Royal Warrant holders were employed to create each element of the house in miniature – from real versions of 600 miniature books to 774 replica artworks, a wine cellar complete with real wine and spirits, a gramophone playing the National Anthem and a garage with a tiny Rolls-Royce.

    Thomas Goode and Co. of South Audley St., London were requested to create three miniature white porcelain dinner services for the doll’s house. Comprising 76 pieces in total, the sets were required for the State Dining Room, the nursery and the kitchen. Each piece is individually stamped to the base with the Royal Doulton maker’s mark. As with every commission, Thomas Goode kept one copy of each article supplied for their own archives. Sotheby’s will offer the pairs to these three sets in this auction. The estimate is £20,000-30,000. Johnny Sandelson, Executive Chairman of Thomas Goode & Co said: “We were overwhelmed by the interest in these precious and rare miniature pieces, we’ve received interest from all around the world, funds raised will be re invested into our very precious archive.”

    Miniature Dinner Set for Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £37,800


    Monday, November 30th, 2020

    A portrait of of George Villiers, 4th Viscount Grandison of Limerick (1618-99) by Sir Peter Lely comes up at Sotheby’s Old Masters day sale which runs from today until December 5. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000. Grandison was the uncle of two notable Royal mistresses: Barbara Villiers, later Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709), perhaps the most notorious of King Charles II’s many mistresses; and Elizabeth Villiers, Countess of Orkney (1657-1733), the presumed mistress of King William III. His eldest son, Brigadier-General the Hon. Edward Villiers, who married Katherine, the daughter of Sir John FitzGerald and changed his name to FitzGerald in order to inherit that family’s estates at Dromana, County Waterford, predeceased him and he was succeeded by his grandson, John Villiers, 5th Viscount and 1st Earl of Grandison (1684-1766), at whose death, without surviving male issue, the Earldom became extinct.

    Sir Peter Lely
    Portrait of George Villiers, 4th Viscount Grandison of Limerick  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £12,600


    Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

    A painting of St. John the Baptist by Cesare Gennari once at Longueville House, Mallow, Co. Cork comes up at Sotheby’s Old Master Painting day sale which runs online from November 30 to December 5. According to an inscription on the reverse it was acquired by A.C. Onslow in 1868, on behalf of Mr Longfield (probably Richard Edmund Longfield, b. 1842), Longueville House. Subsequently acquired by the grandfather of the present owner it is estimated at £10,000-15,000. The sale offers examples from all the major schools of Western European painting with estimates ranging from less than £5,000 to £150,000.

    Cesare Gennari (1637-1688) – Saint John the Baptist. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £13,860


    Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

    Skiing, a painting by Anders Zorn is one of a number of works from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit due to come under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London in December. This one is at an online sale of European and British art running from December 2-9. It is estimated at £300,000-500,000. Other works from the Smurfit collection in this sale are The New Standard by Sir Alfred Munnings (£260,000-360,000); Portrait of Avenal St. George by Sir William Orpen (£15,000-20,000); Kukuliku by Carl Larsson (£150,000-200,000) and Lagstadgad Mums by Helmer Osslund (£40,000-60,000). Another of his paintings, A Girl in the Studio by Yuri Penushkin comes up at Sotheby’s sale of Russian Pictures on December 1 with an estimate of £8,000-12,000.

    Anders Zorn – Skiing


    Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

    Deep Blues by William Scott sold for £837,800 over a top estimate of £500,000 at Sotheby’s re-scheduled sale 44 Fitzwilliam Square – Works from the Estate of the Late Patrick Kelly, in London today. Lockdown failed to put a stop to the gallop of this sale of contents from the Dublin home of the late property developer. There was huge interest online and on the telephones as the auction was in progress. It had been scheduled to take place on March 18 and postponed due to lockdown.

    Achill Sound by Paul Henry sold for £207,900 over a top estimate of £100,000. Young Men, The Showground Revisited and Early Morning, Glasnevin all by Jack B. Yeats each sold for £176,400, A View of Killarney with the Passage to the Upper Lake by William Ashford sold for £252,000 and Still Life, Fruits by Roderic O’Conor sold for £100,800. A c1760 Irish Georgian mahogany side table sold for £30,240, a pair of Irish clear blue and oval glass mirrors sold for £56,700, a George III style Irish oval hall mirror sold for £25,200 and a pair of mottled pink marble pedestals sold for £13,860. The sale total was £3.3 million.

    Deep Blues by William Scott


    Saturday, November 7th, 2020

    A stunning array of Irish pictures from the 18th to the 20th centuries as well as Georgian and Regency furniture and decorative arts will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on November 10. If there is a certain sense of deja vu about the auction of contents from 44 Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin it is because this sale was first scheduled to take place in London last March.  The first lockdown landed and it was re-scheduled to November just in time for lockdown number two to take off. Things are different this time round, the auction world has adjusted spectacularly well to the online model and there is a zoom boom. 

    Irish art has fared very well in times of pandemic and this sale offers an exceptional William Scott and five works by Yeats. The paintings by Yeats include The Showground Revisited, painted in 1950 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000) and Young Men, painted in 1929 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000).  The Scott, entitled Deep Blues,  has an estimate of £300,000-500,000 / €339,000-565,000.There is  art by Daniel Maclise, George Barret, Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor, George Mullins,  James Arthur O’Connor, John Butts, james Humbert Craig, Jeremiah Hoad, Louis le Brocquy, Erskine Nichol, William Sadler, William Ashford, Douglas Alexander, Nathaniel Hone, Harry Kernoff and others including a set of 25 Views of Dublin by James Malton.
    These were all shown in Dublin a year ago as a curtain raiser to the November 2019 Irish art sale at Sotheby’s. Serious punters who viewed them then will have no trouble vividly remembering them now.  
    The elegant Dublin townhouse, home to the late property developer Paddy Kelly, was a wonderful setting for these paintings and antique furniture pieces like a pair of Irish mirrors and a pair of demi lune side cabinets in the manner of the Dublin maker William Moore. On offer too is a c1820 Irish Regency serving table, a set of four Irish hall chairs c1815 and a matched pair of table globes by Cary. A Victorian silver gilt replica of the Ardagh Chalice has an estimate of £3,000-£5,000.  An avid collector, Patrick Kelly (1942-2011) recognised the tradition of Irish painting from the eighteenth century through to the twentieth, complemented with fine Georgian and Regency furniture, silver and decorative arts, amassed from auctions and dealers over three decades. 

    An interior view of 44 Fitzwilliam Square


    Monday, November 2nd, 2020

    This George II carved giltwood wall mirror from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit is at Sotheby’s Style, Private Collections sale which runs online until November 13. Sotheby’s describe the mid 18th century piece as probably Irish. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.