Ivory and tigers at home in Adam’s sale

Reclining tiger painting may appeal to bidders nostalgic for the ‘Celtic Tiger’ days

 

Trade in ivory (derived from elephant tusks) has been outlawed for decades by international rules on wildlife protection. But there’s an ongoing – and often bitter – debate about what should be done with pieces of antique ivory which were made long before the ban came into force.

Ivory was widely used in the decorative arts – especially in Asia – and frequently turns up in antiques auctions. There is a good selection in Adam’s “At Home” auction in Dublin on Sunday, including Lot 105, “a Japanese silver, ivory and shibayama [lacquer] tusk vase”, estimated at €1,500–€2,000; Lot 110 “a Chinese carved ivory basket and cover, Canton 19th century”, €2,000–€3,000; and Lot 100, a dramatic Japanese bronze group (Meiji period) depicting an elephant being attacked by tigers, €1,000-€1,500).

It is ironic that the Asian tiger came to be associated with boomtime Ireland but for those who like the idea a modern painting, Lot 221, of “A Reclining Tiger in a River Landscape”, estimated at €3,000-€5,000, may appeal to bidders nostalgic for the old “Celtic Tiger” days – or celebrating their apparent return. [see picture]

The top estimate is for Lot 171, an early Victorian oil painting, Mare and Foal, by John Frederick Herring Snr, estimated at €5,000-€7,000, and the equestrian subject is likely to have wide appeal.

Adam’s seems to have found a winning formula, with its Sunday “At Home” auctions appealing to weekenders with time to attend both viewings and sales rather than trying to attend the more traditional midweek events.

Leisure activity

A similar sale last month – on Sunday, March 3rd – achieved a sold rate of 81 per cent, with bidders spending €400,000. Auctioneer James O’Halloran said “these Sunday sales have become increasingly popular as participation in a fine art auction is, happily, now considered an entertaining leisure activity”.

Many of the lots this Sunday came from a Victorian house in south Co Dublin, which, he said, had “yielded up a marvellous mix of the exceptional, the weird and the wonderful – including some truly lovely things on offer – pieces that haven’t seen the light of day for decades”.

However, certainly not lovely is Lot 180, “a most unusual Victorian chair made from animal parts with antler back, a hairy hide seat and four hairy legs with hoof feet” estimated at €100-€200.

Mr O’Halloran said it is “the most fascinating lot of the sale, and looks ready to run away – and at €100 would be a very effective naughty chair’.” To a generation of children brought up on Tolkien, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones it might rather be considered a perk.

Adam’s “At Home” auction is on Sunday, April 9th, at noon. Viewing Saturday from 11am-5pm in the saleroom at 26 St Stephen’s Green. See adams.ie

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.