Rare 18th-century silver butterboats among gems in weekend auctions

Highly polished rosewood and gilt card table among 800 lots at Sean Eacrett sale

For early birds on Saturday morning, two Irish country auctions are under way, but as each has quite a number of lots, both the Sean Eacrett and Aidan Foley sales will continue throughout the day.

The Eacrett sale – which commenced on Friday – has in excess of 800 lots today, and includes three fine fold-over card tables: lots 1,011 and 1,256, both listed at €500-€800, and lot 1,862, a superb-quality early 19th-century rosewood piece with parcel gilt decoration. Estimated at €800-€1,200, it is so highly polished you could almost see your own reflection in it.

On the theme of reflections, there are quite a number of mirrors to suit all tastes and budgets, including an art deco-style circular one with unusual bevels (lot 1,613, €50-€80) and lot 1,035, what the auctioneer describes as “a really good quality, highly carved gilt mirror” with an oval centre (€300-€500).

Also included is a good late-19th century Chesterfield deep-buttoned brown leather sofa (lot 1,817, €600-€1,000); 10 paintings by Ivan Sutton with estimates ranging from €600-€1,500, and 16 works by Con Campbell (€400-€600).


Lot 1,233 is something that would be hard to source, but for foragers and hunters, the metal hanging game rack, estimated at €80-€120, could be just the ticket.

Running in tandem is Aidan Foley's Galway sale of 600 lots, which are the contents of furniture from the Connemara Coast Hotel along with private home clearances from Barna, Salthill and Athenry. Along with antique furniture, Waterford glass, Persian rugs and a home bar, the list of artists include Maurice Canning Wilks, Gladys Maccabe, JP Rooney, Kevin Sharkey and Markey Robinson.

Four bidding platforms

On Sunday, Hegarty’s of Bandon will commence their second sale of 2021. The live auction of more than 300 lots are being sold over four bidding platforms: The Saleroom, Easy Live, Hegarty’s own platform and also the French auction site Drouot.

“Up to now we had just listed on the French site, so bidders would make their way to us, but this Sunday will be the first time that buyers can purchase directly on the French platform. Though we have been doing online sales for a couple of years, Covid has really opened up a new market, and as this site translates to French, it really brings our sales into peoples’ living rooms in Europe,” says Nóirín Collins of Hegarty’s.

Highlights of the sale include a fine late-18th century Georgian demilune table dating from around 1790. These tables are ideal for smaller spaces like apartments as they fit neatly against a wall without taking up too much room (Lot 2, €500-€600).

Described as “museum quality”, lot 4 is a pair of 19th-century serpentine-shaped, marble-topped pier cabinets. Some wonderful woods are used in the pieces, most notably rosewood, amboyna and kingwood, which at the time would have been the most expensive wood available (€11,500-€12,500).

Lot 3 is a rare pair of 18th-century large Irish silver butterboats from 1788 by Robert Breading. A noted Irish silversmith, Breading is featured in the collection in the Met Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York, in a bequest by Alphonso T Clearwater, the American supreme court judge, who was noted for his silver collection (€4,500-€5,500).