Cheltenham painting from Cashel hotel fetches €13,000 at auction

Buyer may represent consortium that bought hotel, according to speculation

‘Some Characters Seen at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day’, by English artist Waldron West.

‘Some Characters Seen at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day’, by English artist Waldron West.

 

A unique painting of Irish and English “characters” at Cheltenham Racecourse in 1950 has sold at auction for €13,000.

The oil-on-canvas, entitled Some Characters Seen at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day, by English artist Waldron West went under the hammer at the Lynes & Lynes Auction Rooms in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork on Saturday morning.

The painting was chased by three bidders, and the hammer price comfortably exceeded the top estimate of €10,000.

The 7-ft wide painting hung for many years in the cellar bar of the Cashel Palace Hotel in Co Tipperary.

The hotel, at the foot of the Rock of Cashel, closed at the end of 2014 and was recently sold for an estimated €2.25 million. Some of the contents were consigned to auction, including the painting which depicts 27 recognisable people assembled at the famous racecourse in the Cotswolds in 1950.

Among those depicted are Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II); Sir Winston Churchill; Keith Piggott, the trainer and father of jockey Lester Piggott; Dan O’Brien, the Tipperary trainer and father of Vincent O’Brien; Anne, Duchess of Westminster, owner of Arkle; and Barry Fitzgerald, the Irish film actor who starred in The Quiet Man.

Unique record

Auctioneer Denis Lynes said the winning bidder was an unnamed Tipperary-based gentleman, and he hoped the painting would remain in Ireland.

The new owner of the Cashel Palace Hotel is understood to be a consortium involving Coolmore Stud, and it is believed the hotel will be luxuriously refurbished, extended and reopened. It is located in the heart of Co Tipperary’s bloodstock industry and is close to both Coolmore Stud and the Ballydoyle stables.

There was surprise in the art market that the consortium did not buy the painting – along with contents of the hotel – given its historical significance. This may have been due to an oversight.

There is speculation the winning bidder at the auction may have been acting on behalf of the consortium and that the painting will, after all, be returned to the hotel.