A sofa for 22: and other design gems

Fine art and antiques: Take a look at stylish pieces of designer furniture, lamps, paintings, prints and stand-out glass this week

Auction rooms have always been great places for new homeowners to hunt for tables, sideboards, chairs, lamps, objets d’art and curios.

And even now when it’s so easy to spot and buy well looked after castoffs directly from homeowners on websites and apps, there is an enduring allure to browsing through auction catalogues albeit often online.

The Adams Mid-Century Modern sale of 20th Century furniture and art online auction, which closes on Tuesday, May 21st is a case in point. There are plenty of stylish pieces of designer furniture, lamps, paintings, prints and stand out glass and ceramic vases.

A pair of teak spade chairs by Danish designer, Finn Juhl (€3,000-€5,000), a rosewood sideboard by Robin Day (€2,000-€4,000), and a trio nest of glass Italian side tables (€600-€800), would add style to any home.


The pair of Senator lounge chairs (€3,000-€5,000), and the three seater sofa (€2,000-€3,000) by Danish designer, Ole Wanscher – a leading figure in the Scandinavian design movement – look both comfortable and sleekly stylish.

The DS-600 De Sede white sofa (estimate €10,000-€15,000), which is made up of 22 segments and measures over five metres in length, may not fit the average home, but the possibility of configuring it in numerous ways will attract someone who has the space to show it off.

A quick online search reveals the cost of a new DS-600 sofa would set you back about €60,000 in an Italian furniture showroom. The De Sede brand originated in Klingnau, Switzerland, and this particular sofa (first designed in 1972), has found its way into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest sofa.

The rosewood extending dining table by German WK Mobel (€1,200-€1,600), appears to be solid, sturdy and stylish. And while the corrugated cardboard Wiggle Chair (€600-€800) by Canadian architect Frank Gehry for Vitra, is a little more fanciful, it is reportedly comfortable to sit on.

Seven artworks that were once owned by Hollywood director, John Huston and kept in his Galway home, St Clerans, are highlights of the auction according to Nicholas Gore-Grimes from Adams.

“Huston bought the house in 1952 and when he sold up in 1972, the new owners purchased numerous art works,” he explains.

This auction includes pieces from the Huston collection by Austrian-Mexican, painter, Wolfgang Paalen, and Italian artist, Giulio Turcato. Works by Irish artists, Rita Duffy (Connolly’s Chair, €3,000-€5,000), Graham Knuttel and Simon English are also on sale.

“Chasing a name”

Meanwhile, Cork-based auctioneer, Morgan O’Driscoll has a wide selection of interesting works by Irish artists in his Irish Art online auction which ends on Monday, May 20th. O’Driscoll says that when the economy does well, the art market is buoyant.

“There is a perception that only wealthy people buy art, but that’s definitely not true. A lot of people buy art because they enjoy it. Anyone who has bought art since about 2014 will have seen a good return on their investment,” says O’Driscoll.

He suggests that “rather than chasing a name”, art buyers should firstly buy what they like.

“If you get a good example of an artist’s work, it will hold its value,” he explains.

Peter Collis, Cecil Maguire, Martin Gale, Mildred Anne Butler, Letitia Marion Hamilton, Nancy Wynne-Jones and Evie Hone, are among the many artists whose work is included in the 270 lots which are on view in their Skibbereen offices on Sunday and Monday.

Highlights for this writer include Martin Mooney’s Still Life with Blue Patterned Jug (€3,000-€5,000); Daniel O’Neill’s Evening Light (€3,000-€5,000); and Jack Vettriano’s The Remains of Love (€30,000-€50,000).

The Scottish born, self-taught painter, Vettriano (born Jack Hoggan) took up painting as a hobby in the 1970s. Four decades later, his 1992 painting, The Singing Butler, which was rejected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of that year, became the best-selling image in Britain. In 2004, the original canvas was sold at auction for £744,500 (€872,453). It was later claimed that Vettriano had used the artist’s reference manual, The Illustrator’s Figure Reference Manual, to form his figures using Irish artist, Orla Brady, for the “lady in red”.

Adams.ie Morganodriscoll.com

What did it sell for?

Bronze death mask of Daniel O’Connell

Estimate: €3,000-€5,000

Hammer price: €1,400

Auction house: Adams

18th century view of the Grand Canal in Venice, from the school of Canaletto

Estimate: €10,000-€15,000

Hammer price: €10,000

Auction house: Adams

Galway Hooker on the Claddagh Quay, Letitia Hamilton

Estimate: €8,000-€11,000

Hammer price: €8,000

Auction house: Dolan’s

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment