Paintings by William Leech and Roderic O’Conor for Mother’s Day at de Veres

Leech’s ‘The Housekeeper’, an oil on canvas, has an estimate of €30,000-€50,000

A beautiful painting called The Housekeeper is on display at de Veres on Kildare Street this weekend and there could hardly be a more appropriate or appealing image to coincide with Mother's Day.

The painting is by the Irish artist William Leech who was born in Dublin in 1881, lived for years in France and eventually settled in England, where he died in 1968.

His most famous painting is A Convent Garden, Brittany in the National Gallery of Ireland. Leech and his wife lived at Candy Cottage in West Clandon, Surrey, from the 1950s and the painting shows their unnamed housekeeper.

In a catalogue note, Dr Denise Ferran, a Leech expert, said: "Seen from a high vantage point, she poses sitting in a floral overall, shining a copper kettle, a harmony of creams and turquoises. She is highlighted by the sunlight coming in through the window, and the pattern of her overall, in blues and pinks . . . has more than a passing reference to Bonnard, whom Leech professed to admire".


The Housekeeper oil-on-canvas, measuring 32in x 24in (81cm x 61cm), is being sold from a private collection and has an estimate of €30,000-€50,000. It will go under the hammer in de Veres auction on Monday at 6pm.

De Veres says the viewing is taking place in its gallery at 35 Kildare Street but the auction itself will take place in the Royal College of Physicians at 6 Kildare Street. De Veres tried out various southside hotel locations as auction venues in recent years but has now decided on this new venue for its 2016 auctions.

Other highlights in the sale include Roderic O'Conor's still life Nature Morte – Flowers on a Table estimated at €60,000-€90,000 – a sumptuous image of a bowl filled with flowers in strawberry-and-cream hues.

It was painted under one of the large windows in the artist’s studio at 102 rue du Cherche-Midi, near Montparnasse, Paris, in 1910 and was exhibited at the Salon d’Automne that year.

Artist at his best

De Veres says the painting represented the “artist at his very best”. It is one two O’Conor oils in the sale (the other is

Jeune Fille au Bouquet de Violettes

– an image of a young woman with a bunch of violets – estimated at €40,000-€60,000).

They were both sold in the famous studio sale of the artist’s work held at the Hotel Drouot in Paris in 1956.

Other highlights include paintings by Paul Henry, Walter Osborne, Louis le Brocquy, Sir John Lavery, Hughie O'Donoghue, Gerard Dillon and Tony O'Malley.

Rory Guthrie, a director at de Veres says 2015 was "certainly the year that competition returned to the saleroom" and that "buyers, old and new, are certainly back, helping to stimulate the market".