Earlier this year, an Irish piece of furniture won a Masterpiece Furniture Highlight award, selected from among 128 international exhibitors at Masterpiece London. Described as one of a kind, the “1851 Great Exhibition Armchair” is carved entirely from Irish yew wood, a wood famous for its rarity and its ability to achieve an amazing polish thanks to its tight grain.
Produced by Arthur Jones & Co. Dublin for the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London, it was the most illustrated Irish exhibition during the 19th century exhibit – and the most widely referenced – as it had a description and a four-page entry. .
Jones said in 1853 of the bog yew: “The wood of ancient Ireland has been unearthed from the depths of its boggy formations” and “resembles the subject it exemplifies”. The inclusion of ancient animals and the important role of Irish music and poetry are represented in its design.
Now, a piece from the same suite of furniture is part of the current catalog for Adam’s annual blockbuster sale at Townley Hall, which will take place during a two-day auction on 17 and 18 October.
The library table in yew from Ireland (€10,000 – €15,000) was part of the suite which, in addition to the aforementioned armchair, also included a teapot (table with three legs), a sarcophagus cooler, a whist table, a side table, chair and pole screen. The whist table now resides in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Trust’s wine cooler in Sydney and the screen of the Art Institute of Chicago, while the teapot was sold by Adam’s in 2014.
The library table may well fetch more than its estimate as the suite’s armchair is currently on sale in the UK for a whopping £228,087.
Other items of interest are fine china and important silverware, including a selection of table silverware from Birr Castle in County Offaly. Sold on the instructions of the Earl of Rosse’s trustees is a lovely pair of London Regency silver soup tureens, 1814 and 1828. Although 14 years apart, they are made to the same design. Created by Benjamin Smith and Joseph Angell, bearing the arms of the Parsons family (the Earls of Rosse of Birr Castle), the pair is listed at €15,000-20,000.
A superb lot in the sale is a magnificent carved giltwood Irish architectural mirror attributed to John and Francis Booker, circa 1760 (€30,000-€40,000). The brothers were known at the time as “dealers in ice glasses”, according to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where a mirror – no stopping
e as impressive as that of Adam’s sale – is on display.
Taking place over two days, 17th and 18th October, it should be noted that the first day is a timed online auction only, with the bulk of the sale taking place on Tuesday 18th October in Adam’s Auction House in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. adams.fr
This Tuesday, October 11, Hegarty of Bandon will hold its Blue Room live online sale of Classes House in Ovens content, which features a lifetime collection of European and Asian ceramics from a Limerick man. The sale includes a pair of large Clarice Cliff “Bizarre” lotus jugs from the 1930s (€400-800). hegartyantiques.com
On Saturday, October 15, Mullen’s of Laurel Park will host its Collectors Cabinet Auction in a live online auction featuring historic memorabilia, militaria, rare books, sports and advertising ephemera. Michael Collins’ wedding gift to his sister is interesting: a set of six mahogany and tooled leather Arts and Crafts dining chairs by Shoolbred and Co, London. Estimated between €1,800 and €2,200, the sale also lists an autograph signature by Collins (€600 and €800) and a selection of In Memorium cards for Collins, estimated between €400 and €700 each. mulenslaurelpark.com
For Sean Scully collectors, two paintings by the artist will be offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction in London on October 14 and 15. The live sale, A Life in Art: The Mallin Collection, lists Wall of Light Red, executed in 1988 and measuring 96 inches by 96 inches at £800,000 – £1.2m (€918,051 – €1.37m ).
Less spectacular in size is Scully’s Place 5.24.94, which was acquired by the current owner of Galerie Lelong & Co in New York. He features the artists’ signature stripes, which he explained in a 2016 interview with Allie Biswas, as “always facing outward. The stripe can do anything any which way, and because it’s so common, it matches everything around us” (£35,000-£45,000/€40,164-€51,640). sothebys.com
Meanwhile, Damian Matthews will conduct a two-day sale on October 18-19 of the estate of the recently deceased Mrs. Imelda “Mel” O’Flynn. A ‘tour de force’, Mrs. O’Flynn, who was a well-known antiques dealer who operated Arcadia Antiques, was also a prominent player. His last stage debut dates back to 91 years ago.
With over 1,300 lots, the eclectic sale spans a wide range of eras and includes his famous collection of jewelry, silverware and antiques. matthewsauctionrooms.com