Adam’s of St Stephen’s Green’s At Home sale, which will take place this Tuesday, December 14th, has a good selection of watches just in time for the forthcoming festive season.
For devotees of Van Cleef and Arpels, lot 85 is a stainless steel and gold La Collection model listed at €500-€700, while Cartier has two models represented: a Must de Cartier stainless steel and gold watch (lot 62, €600-€800) and lot 86, a very nice vintage Must de Cartier timepiece with a green leather strap (€400-€600). But perhaps most interesting is lot 104, which is a secret pendant watch by Bucherer. In this model a tasselled, stainless steel pendant on a linked chain opens to reveal a little dial (€300-€500).
In the silver section, lot 36, a pair of "monumental Irish George III sauceboats", would accommodate any amount of cranberry sauce and gravy (€2,000-€3,000). Dating from 1794, they are heavily embossed and bear the mark of Matthew West, whose work is on display at the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts section of the Met museum in New York, while lot 14 is a smaller set also by West, from circa 1780, listed at €700-€1,000.
There is a good selection of well-priced furniture, including two desks – items which have been in high demand since the pandemic hit. Two of the most practical are a Victorian mahogany, twin-pedestal model, with lots of room in the four drawers on each side, and an all-important secret panel to the rear (lot 234, €400-€600) and a 19th-century continental rosewood and marquetry inlaid twin desk (lot 293, €800-€1,200).
The catalogue of almost 500 lots also has a good selection of old glassware, from water jugs, bowls, glasses, and a heavily engraved glass and EPNS mounted beer jug (lot 1, €300-€400), to a stunning Art Nouveau green glass claret jug (lot 197, €200-€400).
Further examples of glass of Irish interest are in Sotheby’s Town and Country sale, currently open and ending this Tuesday. Lot 20 is a late Georgian cut-glass 12-light chandelier believed to be Irish, from the first quarter of the 19th-century (£15,000-£25,000/€17,477-€29,128). Two George III pieces on offer here are a pair of oval wall mirrors from the 18th century, by Gresley (lot 50, £6,000-£9,000), and from 1790 an Anglo-Irish cut-glass pedestal bowl (lot 46, €500-€700).
And from what seems to be an eternal collection, Sotheby's has two artworks from Michael Smurfit's treasure trove, both of which will appear in the European and British Art sale, currently open and ending this Wednesday, December 15th. Lot 7 is Lisana and Margon by Carl Larsson (£8,000-£12,000) while lot 69 is The New Standard, Presentation of Standards 1927 by East Anglian artist Sir Alfred Munnings (£180,000-£220,000). Interestingly enough, Munnings deplored cubist artist Picasso, saying, "To hell with him, he was never a good artist", and claiming in a speech at the Royal Academy of Arts that Winston Churchill didn't think much of Picasso either. He said that on a walk, the British prime minister had asked him: "Alfred, if you met that Picasso coming down the street – would you join with me in kicking him?" At a sale in 2004 a record for Munnings was set at $7.848 million, and ironically at the same sale a new world record (at the time) was also set for his Spanish rival, when $104 million was paid for Picasso's Garçon à la Pipe.
John Weldon’s Jewellery and Silver sale this Tuesday is a live online event, at which Weldon says he will be “talking to myself in an empty room for four or five hours”, adding: “But it’s worth it as sales are up and people are safe.” He operates viewing slots by appointment, giving potential bidders just short of half an hour to browse and try on some of the 400 lots. Weldon has some advice for the many men who come in with “between €300 to €3,000 and sometimes more” to spend on their wives.
“Get her something she can wear on Christmas Day, without the need for it to be resized, such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets. She can pop them on and wear them straight away and feel like a million dollars.”
For dress rings, Weldon suggests observing her “browse the catalogue and watch the ones she admires”. What could put a smile on many women’s and men’s faces this Christmas is a set of diamond stud earrings, at a carat each (€2,500-€3,500), or an Asscher-cut diamond ring (which has a valuation certificate stating the ring cost €6,000) listed at €700-€1,200. For silverware, a three-piece condiment set (originally purchased in Weirs for IR£750) is estimated at €250-€450, while lot 347, a silver plate bearing Éamon de Valera’s face from 1973 (€200-€300), is already dividing viewers.
“We had two parties in yesterday and both commented on it,” says Weldon. “While one man was a firm supporter of Dev, the other fellow said he ‘wouldn’t let it grace my doorstep’.”