Silver fit for a king and Sybil Connolly’s mirror in Adam’s sale

William Scott and Sean Scully paintings on sale in London, plus cool Swedish chairs in Keighery’s sale

From silver by one of the most celebrated silversmiths of the 19th century, to crockery designed in conjunction with Christian Dior, and notable Irish art, there is something for almost everybody at auction this month.

Adam’s of St Stephen’s Green has split its upcoming At Home sale in two, and will now offer The Jewellery Box as a stand-alone sale, allowing the At Home sale to focus specifically on period antiques, silver and paintings.

Both sales are online-only auctions, with the At Home sale taking place on June 14th, followed by the Jewellery Box sale on June 15th.

Royal silver

With more than 500 lots, a good proportion of Adam’s At Home sale is silver, including some lovely Irish Georgian examples, such as an 18th-century coffee pot (lot 7, €1,000-€1,500). There is also an impressive three-piece tea service, by London maker Paul Storr, estimated at €3,000-€5,000. Storr was the most celebrated silversmith in the UK during the first half of the 19th century, producing much of the silver purchased by King George III. One of his most famous pieces is the cup made for British admiral Lord Horatio Nelson to mark his victory at the Battle of the Nile, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) holds a significant number of his works, as do Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.


Highlights in furniture include two over-mantel mirrors (lot 236, €2,000-€3,000) and (lot 315, €3,000-€5,000), the latter of which was formerly sold through Adam’s in 1999, and was part of the collection of fashion and textile designer Sybil Connolly.

A good number of dinner services feature, including a Limoges collection designed in conjunction with Christian Dior, based on buildings by one of the most influential architects of all time, Andrea Palladio (lot 434, €300-€500), along with nine limited edition Wedgwood “Frog Service” plates. The original of this service collection was commissioned by Catherine II of Russia, whose gothic summer palace was built on a frog marsh (part of lot 433, €100-€200).

The top lot (198), is an impressive early 18th-century George I burr maple desk bookcase. It’s a smashing piece that opens to the front in a section fitted with a leather scriver and pigeon holes. Estimated at €7,000-€10,000, “it exemplifies the expert craftsmanship of the period, following in the manner of British furniture makers Coxed & Woster, who specialised in spectacular veneers”, according to catalogue notes.

Tutti frutti jewels

One of the top lots, from 200 in the sale, and gracing the catalogue cover is lot 23, a Tutti-Frutti-style gem set and diamond bracelet studded with emeralds, rubies and sapphires (€7,000-€8,000).

Fifteen works by silversmith and jewellery designer John Lewis also feature. He became known for his iconic loop necklaces and bracelets (some examples of which are in this sale), with prices ranging from a few hundred up to the top higher estimate of €1,200 for lot 209, which is a group of three gold necklaces.

Other important lots include Italian brand Pomellato and a Parentesi ring by Bulgari (lot 143, €1,500-€2,000).

Cool chairs

With more than 600 lots Keighery’s of Waterford Summer sale will take place on Tuesday, June 13th, and include the partial clearance of a convent and two private estates.

After a dearth of supply, with high demand during lockdowns due to the number of people working from home, the sale has a number of writing desks ranging from a simple antique mahogany version (lot 70, €320-€420) to a Victorian Dickens desk at €600-€900.

There are a couple of period chairs to match, including a revolving set (lot 442, €300-€500) and a lovely mahogany swivel chair (lot 440, €300-€400). Top lots include a 19th-century burr walnut ebonised and gilt mounted cabinet (lot 52, €2,000-€3,000); a pair of quality William IV marble topped side tables (lot 110, €2,000-€3,000); and a really cool set of four Cassina Gothenburg white leather dining chairs (lot 432, €1,800-€2,000). The chairs, designed by Swedish architect Erik Gunnar Asplund, were commissioned for an extension of the Town Hall in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1983.

Irish art

On Wednesday June 21st, three works by Irish artists will feature in Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London.

Northern Irish painter William Scott is represented by Egypt Series Drawing No II (lot 37, £20,000-£30,000/€23,203-€34,802), while Sean Scully’s London 6.9.01, which was exhibited at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, is listed at £50,000-£70,000/€58,000-€81,210. William John Leech’s Spring Flowers, which was acquired directly from the artist and thence by family descent, and exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in June 1961, is listed at £7,000-£10,000/€8,123-€11,601.

Vernacular heritage

In partnership with the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Irish Georgian Society will hold a study day into the insights, history and conservation of Ireland’s built vernacular heritage. Materials and methods used to construct and repair Ireland’s vernacular heritage will be examined, along with best practice conservation, while also addressing traditional furniture in these buildings.,,,

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables