A surfeit of riches to beguile before the Budget
The French call it an embarras de choix which translates as a perplexing number of things to choose from. And auctiongoers are certainly spoiled for choice at the moment.
All year, auctioneers have been claiming growing interest in art and antiques from buyers seeking “safe-haven investments” during the ongoing economic turmoil.
With a fortnight to go before the Budget, auctions throughout the country are offering a huge range of items to tempt buyers to part with spare cash before the next dose of austerity is announced by the Minister for Finance on December 5th.
On Monday evening at the RDS in Dublin, Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art has a selection of interest to both investors and collectors. Among six paintings by Jack B Yeats are The Comforter (the top lot with an estimate of €150,000-€200,000), an oil that dates from 1952. A much earlier work from the artist’s career, a watercolour titled The Little Book dated 1906, is €10,000-€15,000.
Other highlights include The Rising Moon, Tangier by Sir John Lavery (€80,000-€120,000) one of a number of paintings he made while staying at his villa overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar before the first World War. Also on offer is Seán Keating’s very traditional 1940s image of Loading And Unloading Turf Boats, Connemara (€20,000-€30,000).
Among the modern pieces, two paintings likely to attract interest at the viewing, which starts this morning, are Cones by Martin Gale (€3,000-€4,000) and Loitering With Intent by John Doherty (€3,000-€5,000).
There’s more art going under the hammer in Dublin on Tuesday evening at de Vere’s auction, at the Clyde Court Hotel in Ballsbridge, where the highlights also feature early and late works by Jack B Yeats.
A 1914 painting titled Fresh Horses (€40,000-€60,000) was once owned by the actor Peter O’Toole. Safe Harbour (€80,000-€100,000) was painted in 1946 and shows a boy sailing his toy boat while his mother walks along the shore.
Meanwhile, outside Dublin, Tuesday also sees the start of a big three-day sale of antiques, fine art and collectibles at Sheppard’s. The saleroom in Durrow, Co Laois currently resembles a Georgian or Victorian version of the Marvel Room at Brown Thomas and is filled with the fripperies of life in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
Among the 1,600-plus lots are some important pieces of Georgian furniture including what Sheppard’s describes as an “exceptionally rare” Irish mid-18th century mahogany cutlery stand (€8,000 -€12,000) and a pair of mahogany knife urns (€5,000-€8,000).
Collectors and investors aside, this is a great sale for anyone seeking the most unusual Christmas gifts.
A 19th century mahogany money box (€50-€80) is the perfect gift for a child of the troika era.
A little silver salt cellar in the shape of a pig, which was made by Julius Alexandrovitch Rappoport, a Russian silversmith and Fabergé workmaster in imperial St Petersburg, is estimated at €500-€800.
A pocket weather forecaster, dated 1915, is by Negretti and Zambra, London makers of scientific instruments by appointment to various majesties, and only €50-€80.
The Art Deco look has been given a huge boost by the latest series of Downton Abbey and among items from that era at Sheppard’s are a London 1929 silver and tortoiseshell dice shaker (€80-€120); a “diamond-encrusted” lady’s watch (€1,500-€2,500); and a bronze and ivory dancing figure by Blacz (€3,000-€5,000).
Day three of the sale at Sheppard’s, on Thursday, is, as usual, devoted to Asian art and all eyes will be on Lot 1,445, a blue and white Chinese vase, and the last item in the collection of oriental porcelain inherited by a Carlow family.
The estimate is €150,000-€200,000 and lively bidding is expected, including online bidders from China.