Irish auctions go global
A Chinese bronze Buddha
The Pimlico Cup silver trophy
Bloomsbury by John Frederick the elder
A pair of porcelain parrots
Mildred Anne Butler's watercolour Ducks On A Pond At Kilmurry
Irish auctions are no longer just local events. The internet is transforming the way art and antiques are being bought and sold, and the big Irish auctioneers have been upgrading their websites to adapt to the changing times. Most are now broadcasting their auctions live online via partner companies such as liveauctioneers.comand the-saleroom.com.
Auction-goers – whether in Dublin or the provinces – now increasingly find themselves competing with unseen bidders online, and not only from the Irish diaspora. Auctioneers say collectors worldwide are now searching the web for items they want and are prepared to bid and buy online from anywhere in the world.
Following his art auction at the Clyde Court Hotel in Ballsbridge on Monday evening, auctioneer Morgan O’Driscoll said that 40 of the almost 200 paintings sold had gone to online bidders in England, the United States, Spain, Australia and Dubai. Meanwhile, Kildare Street-based fine-art auctioneers de Veres is currently holding its first “online only” art auction, with bidding due to end on Tuesday evening at 7pm. See deveres.iefor details.
Sheppard’s which is holding a three-day auction at its Durrow, Co Laois saleroom next week, said bidders from some 31 countries – from Australia to Ukraine – have already registered.
The family-run firm has established “a partnership with the Beijing-based live auction portal epaiLive.com”, which means that Sheppard’s catalogue is published in Mandarin, and bidders in China can participate in the auction in their own language. Chinese – and other Asian collectors – have, in recent years, been big purchasers of oriental art and especially ceramics. But if they start to buy Western art and antiques, then Irish auctioneers could be in for a welcome and significant boost to business.
While online browsing and buying may represent the future, many collectors still prefer the colour – and occasional drama – of attending the traditional pre-sale viewing and the auction in person.
Three days of viewing at Sheppard’s get underway from 10am today and the three-day auction of more than 1,600 lots commences on Tuesday morning.
One of the highlights is a watercolour titled Ducks On A Pond At Kilmurry by Mildred Anne Butler, which has an estimate of €5,000-€8,000. Butler, who died in 1941, was renowned for paintings of the gardens surrounding her home, Kilmurry, near Thomastown in Co Kilkenny. Her patrons included Queen Mary (wife of King George V), who commissioned her to paint a miniature watercolour (of crows) which was hung in the elaborate dolls’ house still on display at Windsor Castle.
Among other items likely to attract interest: a 19th century ormolu and Sèvres porcelain-panelled mantel clock made by J. Vernet, Paris (€4,000-€6,000); and, an 18 ct. gold Patek Philippe ladies’ pocket watch dated Geneva, May 14th, 1900 (€500-€800).