Three-day auction in Durrow has lots of surprising treasures
Vintage clothes, wine and a stuffed pine-marten among highlights at Sheppard’s
Missing Downton Abbey? Then get a dose of country-house glamour at Sheppard’s three-day auction where lots include 1930s vintage “flapper girldresses”, snakeskin handbags, art-deco dressing-table accessories and a “pocket pheasant caller”. Heavyweight pieces of antique furniture include a Georgian carved giltwood table, topped with Greek green marble, made around 1740 and attributed to Matthias Lock (€15,000-€25,000); and a walnut and parcel gilt pier mirror made in Dublin during the reign of George II (€5,000-€8,000).
The pictures include a Portrait of Lady Mildred Butler, Countess of Kilkenny (€2,000-€3,000), dating from circa 1793, by Thomas Hickey, which adorns the cover of the catalogue. A 30cm high bronze figure of a horse by 19th century French sculptor HR De Vains is €2,500-€3,500.
But as in all the best auctions, the real interest is in the choice of quirky items. A pair of Staffordshire figurines of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra (€120-€180) has an unexpected link with Co Laois as the king, during his visit to Ireland in 1904, went duck shooting to Lord Castletown’s Granston Manor Estate near Durrow.
Taxidermy has come roaring back into fashion and a big choice of lots includes a magnificent glass-cased owl (€500-€800), a
stuffed pine-marten (€80-€120); and an elephant’s foot converted to a stool (€400-€600).
For a nostalgic Christmas gift, a Corona tea set inscribed on the box: “To Ann from Granny XMAS 1952” made by Cauldon Potters at Stoke-on-Trent is just €40-€60. For cold winter evenings, a 19th-century sterling silver brandy warmer (€200-€300) might come in handy.
Among the Asian art lots on day three, a Song Dynasty Chinese wood sculpture of Guanyin, the female Buddhist deity, is “about 800 years old and similar to one in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum,” said Sheppard’s which explains the high estimate (€50,000-€80,000).
Sheppard’s already has a strong client base in Asia and a reputation for sales of Chinese porcelain but is now also hoping to tap into the growing demand for vintage wines among Asian and especially Chinese buyers. The big international auction houses have recently noticed a spike in demand in China and specialist auctions of wine in Hong Kong have been very successful.
A selection of wine from private Irish cellars, much of it accumulated during the Celtic Tiger years and now being flogged off, features 113 lots including a case (12 bottles) of Chateau Latour, 1996 1er Cru Classe Pauillac (€4,000-€4,500).
Sheppard’s, Durrow, Co Laois three-day “Dublin & Provincial and Castle Durrow” sale, November 26th-28th.