Art&Antiques: Basalt and bones at decorative interiors sale
Victor Mee online auction features more than 800 lots
Art deco bedhead and lockers, €200-400.
Cavan-based auction house Victor Mee will hold its March decorative interiors sale on Wednesday and Thursday, March 3rd and 4th. As with all other Irish auction houses, viewing is on an online-only basis due to health restrictions, but Mee has condition reports and additional photographs for the 822 lots.
It is a mixed offering, which makes the catalogue quite a compelling read. It lists everything from a mounted swordfish bone, reaching almost a metre in height (lot 466, €100-€200), to two basalt stones from beside the Giants Causeway in Co Antrim. Formed 60 million years ago, when molten lava cooled slowly, these columns are unusual and quite striking shapes.
The Giants Causeway, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, was a commercial quarry from the 1940s to the 1960s, as was Craigahulliar, a short distance away, which has similar stones originating from the same lava flow.
It was opened in 1909 and operated by the Giants Causeway Columnar Basalt Company and later by the Portrush Columnar Basalt Company, which closed in the 1980s. Stones from the quarry were used in the construction of walls, and indeed houses along the Antrim Coast, and can sometimes be found when old houses are knocked down. Mee expects international interest in the basalt columns and each are expected to fetch between €200 and €400.
For fans of art deco furniture, the sale has a number of lots that will be of interest. Lots 115-118 are a complete set of inlaid walnut bedroom furniture, consisting of a bedhead with matching lockers (lot 118, €200-€400); a matching dressing table with three mirrors (lot 117, €200-€400) and two wardrobes with fitted interiors (lots 115 and 116, €200-€400 each).
Two clocks from the art deco period also feature: a tall oak granddaughter timepiece with an enamel dial (lot 658, €60-€120) and a mantle clock with silver dial (lot 172, €30-€60). A number of lamps, ceiling lights and a brass dancing figure from the period are also listed.
Mid-century pieces include a teak G-Plan side cabinet (lot 548, €400-€600); and a G-Plan sideboard – also in teak (lot 96, €200-€400) – and quite a few lots of retro-style seating.
There are 40 lots in the lighting category alone, from table lamps, ecclesiastical brass candelabra, to an art deco spelter lamp and a range of ceiling lights: an Irish-cut crystal 16-branch chandelier (lot 461, €250-€450); a decorative brass and cut glass 18-branch chandelier measuring more than a metre high (lot 510, €1,200-€1,800) and a brass and opaque etched glass 13-branch centre light (lot 511, €1,800-€2,400).
Curiosities include a 20th century messenger shop bicycle of Walshe’s of Kiltimagh (lot 51, €1,500-€2,500); a super galvanised slipper bath (lot 52, €200-€300) and 11 lots of taxidermy, featuring water buffalo, gazelle, trout and an almost comical-looking wildcat (lot 606, €80-€160).
From the orient are three Persian carpets and rugs, the top lot of which is 389; a good quality hand-knotted Nahaband runner (515cm x 110cm) listed at €400-€800. And should you be in the market for some weaponry, the sale lists a 19th century percussion capped pistol (lot 689, €250-€350) and a pair of 19th century French bayonets (lot 40, €100-€200).