Osborne and Lavery paintings among offerings in forthcoming sales

William Osborne’s equestrian portraits, Lavery’s Goonie paintings, contents of a Dartry pile and Timeless exhibition offer interesting works for sale

An “outstanding pair of Irish equestrian portraits” will be offered at Bonhams Old Rectory sale in London on December 6th.

Originally from Castletown House, Ireland’s earliest and finest Palladian mansion, the William Osborne portraits depict Sarah Conolly, mounted sidesaddle on a chestnut hunter, and an equestrian portrait of Tom Conolly, “the eccentric MP for Donegal” on a dappled grey steed.

Expecting a great deal of interest, both from collectors of important Irish paintings and equestrian art, Charlie Thomas of Bonhams describes the pair as “among the finest known examples of Osborne’s work” and “the most important equine works by Osborne to appear on the market since they were acquired in 1992″.

Part of the Elliot collection, owners of the Old Rectory in Chilton Foliat, each painting — currently on view at Bonham’s on Molesworth Street in Dublin — is listed with a £20,000-£30,000 (€22,800-€34,320) estimate. bonhams.com


Of further Irish interest in upcoming UK sales are three Sir John Lavery paintings depicting Lady Gwendoline Spencer-Churchill (Goonie) from the collection of the earl and countess of Avon, at Christie’s Churchill to Eden sale.

All three paintings were gifts to Goonie from Lavery: Portrait of Gwendoline Spencer-Churchill (£50,000-£80,000/€57,229-€91,566) depicts her in costume for an Edwardian fancy-dress ball to raise funds to a Shakespeare memorial theatre, while the more reserved Lady in Black and Lady Gwendoline Spencer-Churchill are listed at £15,000-£25,000 (€19,000-€29,000) and £12,000-£18,000 (€14,000-€21,000) respectively. christies.com

It is worth noting, though, the layers of extra costs involved in purchasing from Ireland at UK sales post Brexit. After the general buyer’s premium of 27.5 per cent and artist resale rights of 4 per cent (up to £50,000) which is paid by the buyer in the UK (unlike here, where the seller foots the bill), there is now an additional 13.5 per cent on the cumulative total after shipping costs — and that is before you take into account the current (albeit now lower) sterling differential.

For example, if you purchased one of the paintings above for £20,000, it would cost you about €34,465 to bring it home to Ireland.

Commencing this Tuesday, Sheppard’s of Durrow will hold a three-day sale of the contents of Hatherton, South Richmond Avenue, in Dartry. A changing of the guard at the fine Dublin 6 house saw €6.5 million achieved for the pristine six-bedroom grand dame.

Along with other estates, the Durrow sale of 1,379 lots has an 18th-century crested silver tea urn from 1767-1768 by silversmith Francis Crump, and an important French ormolu mantel clock, with an enamelled dial inscribed by Thomire et Cie, mounted on a rouge marble base (€3,000-€5,000).

Parisian Pierre-Philippe Thomire was reputed to be one of the greatest craftsmen to work in gilt bronze, patronised by the last king of France, Louis XVI, as well as Napoleon and European aristocracy.

Two important Irish carpets also feature: a large 450x270cm Donegal, with cream ground and a bell petal border (€3,000-€5,000) and an early Dun Emer taupe model depicting stylised mythical swans from Dublin, circa 1937, also €3,000-€5,000. sheppards.ie

Meanwhile, a large selection of classic pieces will be on show at Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers Fair, which returns to the RDS in Dublin this weekend.

Highlights include a 1785 demilune table by Dublin maker William Moore, from McBain and Byrne, who are new to the exhibition. Kilkenny-born dealer Philip Byrne teamed up with English furniture maker and conservator Rupert McBain more than a decade ago. “I have handled some exceptional pieces of Irish history over the years and feel that it is important that these pieces get an opportunity to be seen at home,” he says. “While I primarily source pieces from auctions and dealers, my partner Rupert traditionally works with historic and private collections, so we complement one another well.”

A pair of demilune tables by William Moore achieved $326,500 through Christie’s in 2011.

Also on offer is a circa 1850 chest of drawers from Dublin cabinet maker Robert Strahan, now fully restored by Yeats County Antiques. In art, a rare watercolour by Wicklow born Frederic William Burton will be displayed by the gory Gallery along with works by Jack B Yeats from Treasures Irish Art and Antiques.

More treasures can be found with Jimmy Weldon, who has a very old Claddagh ring at his stand. Described as in mint condition, the piece was made by George Robinson of Galway in about 1785.

Art deco specialist Niall Mullen has four cocktail cabinets, including models by London Epstein brothers Lou and Harry, some of which are considered design masterpieces, and a burr walnut piece by Mapel of London and Paris.

Mullen has also taken a move to add a contemporary twist to a 1930s cabinet, which is currently being stripped and bound in brass by Daly Antiques Restoration Service.

“While we all ran after chrome for years, the aged brass look is back. Rather than getting a new piece made, this is much better for your carbon footprint.” timeless.ie

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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