Lissadell mirror and a Donegal carpet catch the eye at upcoming sales

The Rose carpet, woven in Killybegs, a Camaleonda sofa by Mario Bellini and an important mirror are among items of interest this week

The Rose, a pile carpet woven in Co Donegal, is to be offered for sale in London at an estimate of up to €35,000.

The carpet, designed by influential arts and crafts architect CFA Voysey, circa 1897, for Morton and Co, was woven in their newly established weaving workshop in Killybegs, Co Donegal.

It is estimated at £20,000-£30,000 (€23,004-€34,500), and measures 22ft by 11ft. It was purchased in Dublin in 1899, and thence by descent. Unusually, it is accompanied by a woven sample, presumed to have been supplied as a colour sample.

It will feature in Sotheby’s upcoming Classic Design: Furniture, Clocks, Silver and Ceramics sale in London, which is currently open ending November 8th.


Mid-century magic

Adam’s Mid Century Modern sale, a timed online auction closing Tuesday November 7th, has an array of legendary designers such as Niels Otto Moller, Arne Vodder, Mario Bellini and Finn Juhl.

The demand for mid-century furniture shows that far from being a trend, it has become a dominant aesthetic in decor. Its timeless style with clean lines combined with comfort and functionality, embodies a simplicity allowing pieces to fit with both contemporary and period homes, making it one of the few styles that you can mix with other aesthetics.

While the most famous Scandinavian furniture now comes in flatpacks, purchased cheaply with no long-term sustainability, more people are embracing the appeal of real furniture – made from sustainable wood – rather than disposable particle board made in southeast Asia.

While there are low-priced (and some not so low) knock-offs available to buy, the appeal of buying a piece that has been made under licence means it will always have a value – so it’s already an heirloom.

The star lot in Adam’s sale in the design section is a five-piece Camaleonda sofa by Mario Bellini, for B&B Italia in green mohair. The five piece sofa, first designed in 1970, “was one of the first truly modular sofa designs”, according to Nicholas Gore Grimes, curator of the sale.

In five sections, by unhooking and hooking seats, backrests and armrests, you can change and redesign how it looks. Often described as the half cloud-half sofa, it is the king of low-slung comfort. When it first emerged in 1972, it was as part of a MoMA exhibition about the future of Italian domestic design leading Bellini, its creator to say: “Certain products are born in the future. Camaleonda is one of them. It is so innovative that it is more contemporary today than when it was designed.”

He appears to have been spot on back then, as if you do a search on social media for #bellinicouch or indeed #bellinasofa today, you’ll find over half a million views of a product designed more than 50 years ago. With an infinite number of possible configurations, the sofa (lot 115) is estimated to achieve €10,000-€15,000.

Lot 29 is an Eileen Gray Transat chair. It is one of her most iconic pieces, made for her modernist Villa E1027 overlooking Monaco, and took its inspiration from deck chairs on transatlantic cruise ships (€4,000-€6,000).

More iconic chairs include Finn Juhl’s teak Spade lounge chair (lot 128, €1,500-€2,000) while lot 33, designer unknown, (€2,000-€3,000) is a pair of turquoise lounge chairs similar to those found in a DeLorean car.

Artworks include John Shinnors’ lovely Road to Carraroe (lot 23, €15,000-€20,000), and Nathalie du Pasquier, Untitled (lot 32, €4,000-€6,000).

Library sale

On November 7th and 8th, Sheppard’s of Durrow will hold an auction of library furniture, lighting, early Irish cartography, Irish provincial silver and Killarney furniture. Highlights include 55 items from the Marie Louise de Beauvoir collection, including a 16th-century polychrome statue (lot 60, €3,000-€5,000).

Portrait of a Lady by William Orpen (lot 170, €10,000-€15,000), and Sean Keating, Self Portrait (lot 191, €15,000-€25,000), come from the estate of the late Bernadette Moynihan. Her collection of 20th-century Irish art was largely acquired by her father, the late Dr Kevin Moynihan.

Also represented in the sale is the Hannah Fielding collection. Originally from Egypt, the romance writer splits her time between Wicklow and the south of France. Sheppard’s is selling her collection of Chinese Qing period jade and Chinese-Egyptian export ceramics, which it describes as a “great cross section of rare and interesting pieces”.

Lissadell looking glass

Sean Eacrett will offer an early 19th-century mirror, originally from Lissadell House in Sligo, in its live online two-day sale, November 2nd-4th.

The piece was purchased by the current owner directly from the Gore Booth family of Lissadell, and “is a magnificent example of an early 19th-century Irish timber mirror”, according to Eacrett. It was designed to hang between the pillars of the fireplace in the gallery at Lissadell, as documented in an article in Country Life magazine in the 1950s (€3,000-€5,000).

Also listed are artworks by Nora McGuinness, Elizabeth Cope and Sean O’Sullivan.,, and

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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