With the Covid-19 restrictions likely to remain in place for at least the next couple of months it’s good to see auctioneers not letting the situation get on top of them. I’m glad to report that I currently have no less than four auctions listed with a further two confirmed and due shortly.
Online auctions are not to everybody’s taste and I certainly preferred the old days when it was advisable to at least attend a viewing, and preferably the auction itself. However, those days are gone for good and there’s no going back no matter how much some of us would like. That is not to say that when the present crisis is over we won’t see a return to viewing and attending auctions but only a fool will ignore the increasing role of the internet. Online is the future and while that gives vendors a better chance of getting a good price for their items it makes it a lot harder for the buyer to pick up a bargain.
The quality of online catalogues has greatly improved especially on the main platforms such as Easy Live Auction.com and The Saleroom.com, and photographs/descriptions etc. have also come on a lot recently. The technology is easy for the buyer to use, still relatively cheap and the message out there to salerooms is adapt or die.
First up is Aidan Foley’s (Sixmilebridge) two-day sale on the 13th/14th April with Day.1. a must for music fans and features the record collection of Lyric FM’s Lorcan Murray and Day.2. has Art, Furniture, Antiques and Carpets.
Lot.87.”Thin Lizzy tour poster” – Est: €150/200.
Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish & International Art Sale with 159 Lots (including many big names) is on the 14th April.
Lot.19. “Celtic Cross in a West of Ireland Landscape” oil on board by Paul Henry – Est: €150,000/250,000.
Matthews of Oldcastle, Co.Meath – also on the 14th April – features Jewellery, Gold, Silver, Watches, Oriental & Other Objects of Virtue. 390 Lots.
Finally, on the 22nd April, Purcell’s of Birr, are holding a sale of Irish Historical Interest Books, Maps, Journals, Periodicals, Pamphlets, Ephemera – almost 600 Lots.
Something for everyone – check the auctions page here: AUCTIONS
Royal Dublin Society, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin .4.
A sale full of quality and many of the big names of Irish Art are represented.
Amongst the 211 Lots are fine landscapes by William Percy French, James Humbert Craig, Paul Henry, Maurice Canning Wilks, portraits by William Orpen, Seán O’Sullivan, Paul Nietsche, and Harry Kernoff. There’s also a fair dollop of Abstract rubbish in the sale including two Jack B Yeats works both of which carry the top estimates in the sale of €100,000 – €150,000 and which will undoubtedly reach or surpass their reserves.
Lot.9.”A Kerry Bog” 1934/35, oil on canvas (16″ x 18″) by Paul Henry which carries an estimate of €60/80,000.
Lot.19. “A Passage is Required” 1953, oil on board (9″ x 14″) by Jack Butler Yeats – Est: €100/150,000.
The star of the sale, for me, is the Harry Kernoff portrait of Aer Lingus Pilot, Captain John Tweddle (pictured below) which has an interesting back story.
Born in 1917, John Lawson Tweddle was a keen sportsman, winning medals for activities as diverse as diving and athletics, and being capped for Ulster rugby on at least four occasions. During World War II he served with the RAF and was made Flight Lieutenant. After the war, he worked for Aer Lingus and was one of the first pilots to fly BAC 1-11 jets in the early sixties. He was a close friend of Harry Kernoff. The painting comes with a copy of a 1965 newspaper article from the Daily Express, featuring Captain Tweddle who was shortly to appear in a musical. The paper reported that Tweddle (the “Singing Skipper”) was being allowed a week’s leave from Aer Lingus in order to play the part of Sultan Ali Ben Ali in the airline company’s own production of the “Desert Song”. Ref.Whytes.
Lot.42. “Portrait of Aer Lingus Pilot, John Tweddle” 1960, pastel (13.5″ x 10″), Harry Kernoff – Est: €800/1,200.
Viewing: Saturday 2nd to Monday 4th March from 10.00am – 6.00pm daily
Some serious prices paid at both Morgan O’Driscoll’s Important Irish Art Online Auction on 12th September and at Sotheby’s (London) Irish Art sale on the 13th September.
Plenty of quality art in both sales, but plenty of abstract rubbish too – particularly in Morgan O’Driscoll’s sale. That didn’t stop it selling though – surely a sign that the tiger’s back! No better item to illustrate my point than Lot.1. “The Horseman” by the late Basil Blackshaw. This piece – described as oil and mixed media – and which is in fact a poor daub on the back of an old cereal packet sold for an incredible €5,000 (€6,000+ when the Buyer’s Premium is included). A piece of jetsam from a greatly over-rated artist and probably something never intended to see the light of day in an auction room.
Lot.1. “TheHorseman” oil and mixed media. Basil Blackshaw RUA (1932-2016)
Still, there was plenty of quality including works by lesser known artists such as Maurice Canning Wilks, Percy French, Frank Egginton etc. and much of it remarkably good value.
Full catalogue with prices realized here.
Meanwhile over at Sotheby’s there were some good prices paid for big names including Paul Henry’s “The Road by the Lake” which sold at £150,000 (£185k incl. Buyer’s Premium) against a pre-sale estimate of £60/80k; and Sir John Lavery’s “The Cello Player” which sold for £90,000 against a pre-sale estimate of just £20/30k.
Left to right: “The Road to the Lake” by Paul Henry and “The Cello Player” by Sir John Lavery.
Above: An acrylic on canvas work by John Doherty “Prescriptions accurately prepared” featuring Parke’s Chemist in Clonmel sold for a healthy £27,500 (pre-sale estimate £15/20k). A little too photographic for my liking but each to his own.
Full catalogue with prices realized here.
Woodward’s (Cork) forthcoming sale on the 17th September features several interesting works including this by George Mountsey Wheatley Atkinson – “HMS Conqueror off Queenstown” which carries an estimate of €5/7,000.