Sheppard’s four-day auction includes portrait of noted Victorian jockey Fred Archer

19th-century painting to go under the hammer at Dublin fine art auction house

Sheppard's is holding an unprecedented "mini-season" of auctions on four consecutive days next week – daily at 10.30am and also broadcast online – starting on Tuesday, December 2nd.

The “Dublin & Provincial” event features more than 2,000 lots. Tuesday and Wednesday are devoted to traditional fine art and antiques; Thursday to Asian art and vintage wine; and Friday to rare books.

Highlights include a “George III Irish white statuary marble and scagliola chimney-piece in the manner of Pietro Bossi” (€30,000-€50,000) and “a 19th- century Dublin Neo-classical serpentine brass fire basket” (€6,000-€9,000) from a house in Eccles Street, Dublin, “now demolished”.

Asian collectors seem to be showing interest in Lot 1610 – a pair of Chinese 18th-century cloisonné enamelled and gilded urns and lids (€8,000-€10,000). There’s already Continental interest in a late 19th-century French mantel clock and candelabra described as “ormolu, patinated bronze and marble clock garniture by Samuel MartiI, Paris” (€15,000-€25,000).


But, as usual at Sheppard’s, high-priced lots are cheek-by-jowl with quirky, inexpensive items such as a “Masonic hoof snuff box” from Castle Hamilton in Killeshandra (€500-€800); a Victorian police constable’s truncheon (€80-€120) and, something money can’t normally buy, a fitted jewellery case containing a badge awarded to a “Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)” (€300-€500).

In addition to the four daytime sales, Sheppard's is holding an evening art auction called 'A Gallery of Pictures' on Thursday, December 4th at 7pm. Michael Flatley's commercial art market debut with Rossmore Island (€20,000-€30,000) is likely to attract interest.

Among the more traditional artworks is Breton Reapers by Augustus Burke (€15,000-€25,000). This artist's A Connemara Girl is one of the best-known paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland but, despite its popularity, the artist is long forgotten.

Augustus Burke, born in Knocknagur, Tuam, Co Galway, in 1838, was a popular and successful 19th-century painter and professor of painting at the RHA, but he left Ireland in disgust after his brother, Thomas, was murdered in the Phoenix Park in 1882. Breton Reapers was first exhibited in Dublin at the RHA in 1877 where it sold for £50.

The auction also features a wonderful 19th-century portrait of a famous Victorian jockey, Portrait of Fred Archer Seated, Wearing a Black Suit and Pearl Cravat Pin (€3,000-€5,000). Dated 1883, it was painted by Rosa Corder who, unusually for a female artist, specialised in painting racehorses and jockeys in her native Newmarket.

Fred Archer is considered to be one of the greatest jockeys of all time and won 3,728 races including The Derby on five occasions.

Sheppard's Irish Auction House, Durrow, Co Laois. Viewing begins today at 10am. Catalogues and further details at