Developer’s taste in art and architecture drives sale of Dublin home and contents

Patrick Kelly’s Fitzwilliam Square Georgian finds a buyer while artworks secure €3.77m

It has been a busy and successful week for the family of the late property developer Patrick Kelly.

His former home, the imposing and impeccably-restored Georgian town house at 44 Fitzwilliam Square, has been listed sale agreed within two weeks of being on the market with David Bewley of Lisney. It was seeking €3.5 million.

In London on Tuesday the contents of this property, which was restored by Kelly – who was an avid collector of Georgian and Regency furniture and art – realised in excess of £3.36 million (€3.77 million) against a reserve of £2.05 million (€3.16 million) through Sotheby’s.

In a bidding frenzy, William Scott’s Deep Blues, which was listed with a £300,000-£500,000 estimate, achieved £680,000 (£837,800 including premium). (It is worth noting that unlike their Irish equivalent, English sale results include a premium.)


Commenting on the price achieved, Arabella Bishop of Sotheby's said: "It was considered at the time to be one of the best paintings of his [Scott's] new work, and also has a lovely provenance from Martha Jackson's gallery in New York, which was connected to the great Abstract American Impressionists."

The price realised makes this painting the second highest price for the artist to be sold at auction. The record for a William Scott to be sold at auction is £1,071,650 for Bowl, Eggs and Lemons through Christies in 2008.

Other noteworthy results from the sale were lot 44, a George II style Irish oval wall mirror which achieved £20,000 (£25,200 including premium) against a reserve of £3,000-£5,000 and the jaw-dropping £45,000 (£56,700 including premium) for the somewhat similar in style lot 102, a pair of Irish blue and clear glass oval mirrors which were listed at £6,000-£8,000. Bishop says the auction house was “surprised with the result but it shows the interest and demand in Irish decorative art and objects”.

Two auction records were set when Lot 37, Still Life with Oysters by Patrick Hickey achieved £15,120 (including premium) and William Ashford's View to Killarney sold for £252,000 (also including premium).

Paul Henry’s Achill Sound achieved more than double its lower reserve of £70,000 selling for £175,000 (£214,000 including premium), and Jack B Yeats’ The Tide Receding also performed well, selling for £135,000 (£170,100 including premium) against a reserve of £70,000-£100,000.

Man Hearing an Old Song

It certainly has been the year for Jack B Yeats since a record was set for the artist at Whyte's Ernie O'Malley Collection sale last November, and the combined total for Patrick Kelly's five Jack B Yeats' paintings in this week's Sotheby's sale was £768,600 (including premium).

At the Morgan O’Driscoll forthcoming online sale, which ends on Monday November 23rd, collectors will have another opportunity to bid on a work by one of Ireland’s best loved artists when Man Hearing an Old Song, a smaller work by Jack B Yeats measuring 9in by 14in goes under the hammer.

The painting, which is described as “an intensely moving study of the effects of music on the individual” by art historian Dr Róisín Kennedy, last sold through Adam’s of St Stephen’s Green in December 2016 for €36,000 against a €40,000-€60,000 reserve. This time the painting is listed at €60,000-€80,000, so it will be interesting to see the result after a four-year period.

Paul Henry

Also in the catalogue is lot 38, William Scott’s Jug, a moody composition in black, grey and white from a private collection which is listed with an €80,000-€120,000 estimate.

It appears that almost every Irish art sale over the past few years features work by Paul Henry. Lot 18, Henry's Maam Cross, Connemara, which is a scene painted at the crossroads between Leenane and the road to Cong, and perfectly captures the landscape at this time of year, is listed at €60,000-€80,000. It last appeared on the market in 2015 when it realised €52,000 through Whyte's, so again is one to watch to see how five years could affect its value.

More moody hues are found in Hughie O’Donoghue’s Fallen Angel (lot 43, €8,000-€12,000) and the red-haired, black-eyed girl in Daniel O’Neill’s Interior (lot 41, €50,000-€70,000).

For a wallop of colour against the darkness in some of the listed works, is Robert Ballagh’s Inside Number 3 after Modernisation; a large oil and acrylic work which is a break from the minutely-detailed genre of his celebrated portraits (lot 52, €40,000-€60,000).