29 November 2005

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TURF GATHERED, COUNTY DONEGAL
TURF GATHERED, COUNTY DONEGAL
Maurice Canning Wilks RUA ARHA (1910-1984)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 51

Published Estimate: €12,000-15,000

Price Realised: €21000


NEAR MOLL'S GAP, COUNTY KERRY
NEAR MOLL'S GAP, COUNTY KERRY
Frank Egginton RCA (1908-1990)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 52

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: €5000


NEAR GORTAHORK, COUNTY DONEGAL
NEAR GORTAHORK, COUNTY DONEGAL
Frank Egginton RCA (1908-1990)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 53

Published Estimate: €3,000-4,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed and dated [1975] lower right; inscribed on reverse
  • Medium: watercolour
  • Dimensions: 38 by 53cm., 15 by 21in.
  • Provenance: The Gallery, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal; Private collection
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FISHERMEN WITH CURRACHS, INIS OíRR
FISHERMEN WITH CURRACHS, INIS OíRR
Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 54

Published Estimate: €30,000-50,000

Price Realised: €82000

  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 52 by 65cm., 20.5 by 25.5in.
  • The Aran Islands, set jewel-like into the Atlantic ocean to the far west of Ireland, have long been popular with writers, playwrights and artists and with the Irish imagination. When Seán Keating first visited Aran in the summer of 1914, he was encouraged and accompanied by his friend and fellow artist, Harry Clarke. That summer there were rumblings of war across Europe and the streets of Dublin were alive with Nationalist politics. Although politically aware, Keating disliked noisy, busy cities and rarely painted them; the calm emblematic beauty of the people and landscape of Aran Islands presented something new and very necessary to his artistic sensibilities. Keating returned to Aran for over forty years and he identified so closely with the islands that he frequently presented himself in portraits dressed in the native críos and bánín. Always interested in languages, Keating was proud to add Aran Irish to his knowledge of French and Latin. Throughout the history of western art there has been a fascination among artists with new and experimental ways of looking and seeing. Keating became interested in photography very early in his career and in the late 1930s he purchased a cine camera that he brought to the Aran Islands. In this way, and through an ever-enlarging collection of sketches, postcards and magazine and newspaper cut-outs, he built up a repertoire of images to which he could refer when necessary. Fishermen with Currachs, Inis Oírr is a painting of Aran boatmen that directly refers to, and is likely a preliminary sketch for Men of Aran – An Trá, Inis Oírr (James Adam Salerooms, Dublin, 23 March 2005, lot 40). Although the boat-house, background fishermen and currachs are not present in this smaller image, the foreground figures are so consistently akin to Men of Aran – An Trá, Inis Oírr that it is not implausible to consider that the artist was working initially from a photograph or piece of cine film in order to set up the composition before painting the larger picture. The absence of signature or initial is not unusual and gives credence to the suggestion that this was a ‘working’ image of the larger painting he was planning. There are a number of interesting elements about Fishermen with Currachs. The omission of boathouse and other figures renders the personalities of the fishermen, each involved in personal thought, more legible. While it can be difficult to date Keating’s paintings of Aran, it is notable in this instance that the men sit with their back to the calm sea with no sign of wind. The veracity of Keating’s image is startling, particularly in consideration of the collapse of the mackerel market on Aran in the mid 1930s. Éimear O’Connor The Humanities Institute of Ireland University College Dublin

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MENDING A CURRACH ON A WEST OF IRELAND BEACH
MENDING A CURRACH ON A WEST OF IRELAND BEACH
Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 55

Published Estimate: €120,000-180,000

Price Realised: €165000

  • Signature: signed lower left
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 71 by 86cm., 28 by 34in.
  • Provenance: Pyms Gallery, London; Whence purchased by the present owner in 1986
  • Exhibited: 'Irish Renascence: Irish Art in a Century of Change', Pyms Gallery, London, 3-29 November 1986, catalogue no.30
  • Emblematic of the Aran Island, the currach was yet a mainstay for the fishermen who fought hard against the elements, and indeed, encroaching modernity, in order to eat, keep warm and earn a living. In Mending a Currach on a West of Ireland Beach Seán Keating has left us an image of Aran life imbued with veracity and arguably, something more. Set on Inis Oírr, the beach is the same as the one pictured in Men of Aran – An Trá, Inis Oírr (James Adam Salerooms, 23 March 2005) and in the previous lot, Fishermen with Currachs, Inis Oírr. Keating has captured the spiritual, even pantheistic heroism of the fisherman who mends the fragile skin of the currach, implicitly torn by the greater elements on which he was so dependent. His concentration is manifest, as is his skill and the joy in his labour. Mending a Currach on a West of Ireland Beach seems to present an image of deeper significance in a conflation of perhaps coincidental motifs: three currachs, three cottages to the background and with the older man seated between the boats, and the younger children playing on the beach, the three ages of man. The painting is emblematic of everything that Keating found so beguiling about the Aran Islands; the inherent spirituality of the elements, and of the landscape and seascape, and in the people of Aran, all presented in a magnificently simple image. Éimear O’Connor The Humanities Institute of Ireland University College Dublin

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MICHAEL COLLINS IN THE JERMYN COURT HOTEL, LONDON and THE LATE PRESIDENT GRIFFITH SKETCHED IN GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS A MONTH BEFORE HE DIED, 1921 (A PAIR)
MICHAEL COLLINS IN THE JERMYN COURT HOTEL, LONDON and THE LATE PRESIDENT GRIFFITH SKETCHED IN GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS A MONTH BEFORE HE DIED, 1921 (A PAIR)
Frank Leah (fl.1900-1950s)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 56

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €5400

  • Signature: each signed and inscribed lower left; with the original framing labels of E. W. Howe, 30 Nassau Street, Dublin, on reverse
  • Medium: the former black crayon on paper; the latter pencil on pape
  • Dimensions: 41 by 30cm., 16 by 12in.
  • The latter work measures 13.5 by 10 inches. A pair of rare contemporary portraits of Collins and Griffith drawn at the time of the Irish Treaty negotiations. The artist Frank Leah was an illustrator for various newspapers and journals including The Irish Limelight, a short-lived periodical devoted to cinema and theatre. He was also the animator for Ireland's first animated film, Ten Days Leave, released in 1917. His portraits of Irish theatrical personalities were collected by Joseph Holloway and later donated to the National Library of Ireland.

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BILLY ORPEN DRAWS AT AN EARLY AGE IN DUBLIN
BILLY ORPEN DRAWS AT AN EARLY AGE IN DUBLIN
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 57

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed, inscribed and dated [December 1924] lower left
  • Medium: pen and ink with wash on paper
  • Dimensions: 25 by 18cm., 10 by 7in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Stanley Austin; Thence by descent
  • Original drawing on one of the preliminary pages of Orpen's autobiography, Stories of Old Ireland & Myself. This is copy no. 2, signed and numbered by Orpen, from the deluxe “large paper edition”, limited to 100 copies and published by Williams and Norgate, London, 1924. Octavo; bound in original white cloth, titled in gilt at spine and on upper board. Top edge gilt. With the armorial bookplate of Stanley Austin on front pastedown. The full inscription reads “Silence /Age 12 /Billy Orpen draws at an early age in Dublin / To Stanley Austin with love / William Orpen / London December 1924”, and shows a diligent young Orpen in short pants, pen raised in one hand, seated at his easel in the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin. Art critic and journalist Stanley Austin was described by Tatler magazine in march 1905 as "a prominent figure in the art circles of London and Paris, and a recognised authority on all matters artistic". He wrote art criticism for Vanity Fair, and was a Director of the Saturday Review and a Deputy Editor of the Daily Mirror. He also founded The Collectors Magazine and The Printseller and wrote a book on the history of engraving. A resident of Cheyne Wlak, Chelsea, he joined the Arts Club in Dover Street in 1920 and there became a friend and condiante of Orpen's.

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ILLUSTRATED LETTER TO STANLEY AUSTIN: THE SIX FOOT JUMP
ILLUSTRATED LETTER TO STANLEY AUSTIN: THE SIX FOOT JUMP
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 58

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed, manuscript letter dated 17 February 1927
  • Medium: pen and ink with wash on paper (unframed)
  • Dimensions: 27 by 21cm., 10.5 by 8.25in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Stanley Elston Austin (1875-1934); Thence by descent
  • Written from the Hotel Majestic, Paris, concerned primarily with business matters including a portrait commission which Austin was helping to arrange for Orpen. Towards the end he comments: “the health is going fine but I admit the other day I tried my usual six foot jump, but I did not quite clear it!”. The sketch below shows a young athlete clearing a high-jump pole, whilst Orpen and two others look on.

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ILLUSTRATED LETTER TO STANLEY AUSTIN: "TWO LITTLE EARS"
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 59

Published Estimate: €1,500-2,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed manuscript letter
  • Medium: pen and ink with wash on paper
  • Dimensions: 27 by 21cm., 10.5 by 8.25in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Stanley Elston Austin (1875-1934); Thence by descent
  • Written circa 1927 from the Hotel Majestic, Paris. Discusses the loan or sale of a Reynolds portrait; also mentions a picture he is currently working on: he had not “the least idea whether it’s not bad, bad, or rotten”. Lastly, writes: “every night in my sleep I see two little ears like all good little gag nuncs”, this being a reference to a small drinking coterie to which Orpen and Austin belonged.

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APPEAL LETTER FOR THE ARTISTS' GENERAL BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION
APPEAL LETTER FOR THE ARTISTS' GENERAL BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 60

Published Estimate: €800-1,000

Price Realised: €1200

  • Signature: signed, inscribed and dated [2 July 1928]
  • Medium: printed circular letter
  • Dimensions: 25 by 20cm., 10 by 8in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Stanley Elston Austin (1875-1934); Thence by descent
  • Orpen was highly involved with a number of clubs in London, in particular the Arts Club in Dover Street. In 1928 the club elected him Steward, in which capacity he was charged with raising subscriptions for the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution (see Arnold, Mirror to an Age, pages 419-420). He wrote a witty, illustrated letter to this purpose, had it printed as circular and posted it to his friends, including Stanley Austin. Also with this lot is a single page signed manuscript letter, dated 2 February 1927, from the Hotel Majestic, Paris, to Austin: “Trusting all at the Arts Club are eating heartily and blowing Froth off themselves”. (2)

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PORTRAIT OF STANLEY AUSTIN
PORTRAIT OF STANLEY AUSTIN
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 61

Published Estimate: €1,000-1,500

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed and numbered lower right
  • Medium: pencil on card (unframed)
  • Dimensions: 17 by 11cm., 6.5 by 4.25in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Stanley Elston Austin (1875-1934); Thence by descent
  • Thumbnail sketch on the reverse of a Royal Academy Club dinner menu dated 7th March 1929. Inscribed: "My dear Stan / Your van [?] man / Dutch - I can't spell it / Orps".

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AND CORN SHALL GROW IN THE DESERT
AND CORN SHALL GROW IN THE DESERT
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 62

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: €42000

  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 61 by 76cm., 24 by 30in.
  • Provenance: Mrs K. G. McLean, since 1925
  • Exhibited: ’Sir William Orpen, KBE RA’, New Chenil Galleries, London, June – July 1925, catalogue no. 44
  • The significance of this fine but unusual early Orpen oil is the extent to which it foreshadows the work of Jack B. Yeats. Two decades before Yeats embarked on a major stylistic change, in which featured mystery and narrative, mainly about Irish subjects and covering national fable and mythology, Orpen had explored the territory in canvases that are clearly meant to have a compelling sense of expectation. He takes a group of nine spectators and poses them on the edge of a miniature arena in which a tiny theatrical miracle is taking place. Its origins and meaning are obscure, but the sense of its importance is clearly evident in the different attitudes of the onlookers. They range in age from the boy, who is the master of whatever event it is, through the different ages of man. Orpen employs a trick familiar from the work of Bassano, identifying ourselves, the onlookers, through the expectant expression of a single figure, the man behind the boy’s shoulder. He has a proprietary interest in what is being presented and is looking out of the canvas with a hard and knowing expression. For the rest, they are in varying degrees mesmerised by what they see and filled with a kind of wonder. Orpen uses several models known to him at the time and employed for other works. The painting is closely related to other religious and festive scenes, all with narrative content, all conjuring with varying degrees of mystery. The scale and the quality of his palette, dark and sombre in the manner of Rembrandt, who was the presiding influence over his work at this time, is powerfully effective. Bruce Arnold, Dublin, October 2005 Editor’s Note: Christopher Pearson of the Orpen Research Project has suggested that the work may be an allegory on the state of the arts in Ireland, comparing it to Sowing New Seed, 1913 (Mildura Arts Centre, Australia), in which Orpen depicts a partially clad young woman idly sprinkling the seeds of creativity over barren ground. The work was a thinly veiled protest at Orpen’s frustration with the system of arts education in Ireland at the time. In this context the present work seems to imply that a miracle would be needed in order for the arts to flourish in the perceived cultural desert of Ireland (ed.). This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by the Orpen Research Project.

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A YOUNG GIRL REFLECTED IN A MIRROR
A YOUNG GIRL REFLECTED IN A MIRROR
Attributed to Miss A. C. Wynne (19th-20th century)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 63

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: 

  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 76 by 64cm., 30 by 25in.
  • Provenance: Wynne family, Tigroney House, Avoca, Co. Wicklow; Purchased privately from the family by the present owner
  • The fact that this highly finished and carefully composed genre painting is unsigned suggests that it was submitted for an open competition of some kind. Indeed, it is highly likely that it was painted for entry in the 1913 Taylor Prize competition. The set subject for that year was “The Girl in the Mirror”, with first prize being awarded to Patrick Tuohy. However, amongst the four other prize winners that year was a Miss A. C. Wynne (information kindly supplied by Nancy Larchet, RDS). Little is known of this artist, except that she came from an artistic family renowned for the colourful tweed cloths they sold from their mill in Avoca, Co. Wicklow. Known to her family as Veronica Wynne, she was the third daughter of Albert Augustus Wynne and Alice Katherine Wynne, of Tigroney House, Avoca (Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976). Among her cousins and relations were the watercolour artists Gladys Wynne (1878-1968), Edith Wynne, May Wynne and Maud Wynne (see Nicola Gordon Bowe, Irish Women Artists catalogue, 1987, page 194). Under the pseudonyms V. and E. Pringle-West, Veronica and her sister Emily were co-authors of Every Dog: A Novel, published by Ernest Benn, London, 1929. It appears therefore that Veronica Wynne abandoned what was a most promising artistic career in favour of literary pursuits.

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BETWEEN THE AUTUMN AND THE SPRING
BETWEEN THE AUTUMN AND THE SPRING
Joseph Malachy Kavanagh RHA (1836-1918)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 64

Published Estimate: €10,000-15,000

Price Realised: €9700

  • Signature: signed and dated [1905] lowere right; original inscribed label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 91 by 71cm., 36 by 28in.
  • Provenance: Gorry Gallery, Dublin; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • Exhibited: Belfast Art Society, 1905, catalogue no. 171 (£30-0-0); RHA, Dublin, 1906, catalogue no. 14 (£30-0-0); ’Exhibition of 18th, 19th and 20th century Irish Paintings’, Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 16-19 October 1987, catalogue no. 30
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PARK PLACE, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, LONDON
PARK PLACE, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, LONDON
Rose Maynard Barton RWS (1856-1929)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 65

Published Estimate: €12,000-15,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed and dated [1916] lower left
  • Medium: watercolour over pencil heightened with white
  • Dimensions: 35 by 25cm., 14 by 10in.
  • Provenance: Christie's, London, 19 May 2000, lot 143; Whence purchaed by the present owner
  • Exhibited: (?) WCSI, Dublin, 1927, catalogue no. 283
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SUNSHINE
SUNSHINE
Frank McKelvey RHA RUA (1895-1974)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 66

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: €17000

  • Signature: signed and dated [1917] lower right; original inscribed label on reverse
  • Medium: watercolour
  • Dimensions: 26 by 16cm., 10.2 by 6.25in.
  • Provenance: William Rodman & Co., Belfast; Private collection London
  • Exhibited: (?) Belfast Art Society, 1917, catalogue no. 219, £6-6-0
  • Literature: A very early work, painted in the same year that McKelvey won a bronze medal at the Taylor Art competition. Also in 1917 he began exhibiting with the Belfast Art Society, where one of his entries was Sunshine and Ragweeds, priced at six guineas. Given that this was twice the price of any of his other entries it seems plausible that this was a pair of watercolours, to which the present work belongs.
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CURIOSITY
CURIOSITY
Mildred Anne Butler RWS (1858-1941)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 67

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: €21000

  • Signature: signed and dated [1903] lower left; artist's label on reverse
  • Medium: watercolour heightened with white on paper backed by board
  • Dimensions: 65 by 47cm., 25.7 by 18.7in.
  • Exhibited: Royal Watercolour Society, 1905, no. 2 (according to label on reverse); Rodman Gallery, Belfast, 1909 (?)
  • In both title and subject this work relates to A Preliminary Investigation (National Gallery of Ireland), which was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1899 and depicts a flock of doves alighting by an open sack of grain. Butler frequently gave anthropomorphic and sometimes witty titles to her paintings of birds. Other examples include The Sentinels (RI, 1895) A Problem (OWS, 1899 and WCSI, 1902), Busybodies (WCSI, 1905) and her well known watercolour of three crows startled by a kite flying overhead, titled with a quote from Macauley: And straight against that array went forth the valiant three (RA, 1893).

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CATTLE RESTING
CATTLE RESTING
Mildred Anne Butler RWS (1858-1941)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 68

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed lower left
  • Medium: watercoloiur with bodycolour
  • Dimensions: 36 by 53cm., 14 by 21in.
  • Provenance: James Adam Salerooms, Dublin, 1989, IR£19,000; Whence purchased by the present owner
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A VISITOR, 1885
A VISITOR, 1885
Sarah Henrietta Purser HRHA (1848-1943)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 69

Published Estimate: €60,000-80,000

Price Realised: €97000

  • Signature: signed with initials lower left
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 76 by 51cm., 30 by 20in.
  • Provenance: Artist's collection; Her sale, Mespil House, Dublin, 1943; Mrs V. Ganley; Gorry Gallery, Dublin, May 1988; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • Exhibited: Dublin Sketching Club, December 1885, catalogue no. 233 (NFS); ’Irish Women Artists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day’, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, July-August 1987, catalogue no. 36; ’An Exhibition of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Irish Paintings’, Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 22 April - 5 May 1988, catalogue no. 17
  • Literature: Daily Express, 15 December 1885; John O'Grady, Sarah Henrietta Purser, Ph.D thesis, National University of Ireland, 1974; John O'Grady, catalogue entry for A Visitor in Irish Women Artist's from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1987, page 98 (illustrated); Gabrielle Williams, ‘Some Remarkable Irish Exhibitions’, The Irish Times, 23 April 1988 (review of the Gorry Gallery show in which mention is made of the Purser, comparing it stylistically to Tissot); John O'Grady, The Life and Work of Sarah Purser, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1996, listed as catalogue no. 137, pages 193-4, illustrated colour plate 17; also discussed pages 48 and 50; Eamonn Maillie (ed.), One Hundred Years of Irish Art: A Millennium Presentation, private publication, Dublin, 2000, pages 245-5 (reproduced in colour)
  • Seeing A Visitor once more and experiencing its mystique are pleasures in themselves, and at the same time its reappearance is an opportunity to unravel facets of Sarah Purser’s early career not previously elucidated in published accounts of her life and work. A personable model, an inspirational pose, an evocative ambience, and she can manage to immortalize a mood, a moment, creating one of those “graceful and easy” figure subjects admired by the press, one in a series stretching from Le Petit Déjeuner (NGI) painted in Paris in 1880 to Kathleen, painted at Mespil House in 1935 and briefly exhibited last year in Dublin. In each case the model is an identifiable acquaintance of the painter, but in these works her interest is in personality, a matter of the spirit, and mere identity belongs to the more mundane arena of portraiture. Portraiture had not been the starting point of her professional career, which was still in its opening decade when she painted A Visitor. Her first priced work is an outdoor scene of figures in the ruins of Muckross Abbey, Killarney, a watercolour signed S.H.P. 1876. A genre picture in oils of a “roguish” urchin with a hank of onions, sent from Paris to the 1879 RHA Spring Exhibition, earned her earliest favourable press reviews. A year later the critics were admiring the “power and vigour of treatment” and “crisp and decisive use of the palette knife” in her flowerpieces as well as genre scenes. She liked variety. Then in 1881 she emerged as a portraitist, when her RHA exhibits included portraits of four named sitters. One was a commission from the City of Dublin Working-men’s Club and portrayed a founder and patron of that club, Jane L’Estrange. Jane would make it her business to promote Sarah Purser as a portraitist among her own aristocratic connections both in Ireland and in Britain, not least those of the de la Poer Beresford bloodline. This project may have begun at once; the women were together in Surrey in July, as a portrait of Jane and a drawing of a garden at Caterham are both inscribed 5/7/81 in one of Sarah’s sketchbooks. And Jane introduced Sarah to the Gore-Booths of Lissadell, Co. Sligo, Jane and Lady Georgina being first cousins, whose maternal grandmother Charlotte de la Poer Beresford, a niece of the first Marquess of Waterford, was wife of the heir to the Earl of Scarborough. This introduction led to the splendid and informal double portrait of the Gore-Booth girls Constance and Eva which, incidentally, changed hands in 2003 for an enormous sum. Sarah did not neglect her genre practise in those years, working in the open at various Co. Cork resorts each autumn and selling the pictures successfully at the spring exhibitions. Still, the highest praise she received from the press at the 1883 RHA was for her likeness of a well-known Dublin academic, “by common consent the portrait of the year”. At that show too, her Portrait painted in the open air was said by the same journal to be “another example of Miss Purser’s originality and careful avoidance of anything savouring of the conventional portrait”– again a friend features in figure-subject guise. By then Sarah was well into the campaign which her Swiss fellow-artist Louise Breslau facetiously called illustrating “l’armorial de la Grande Bretagne”. As John Butler Yeats wrote to Sarah on 14 January 1884, he had “just got your letter and I am very glad about the Earl. …I suppose now you will become a kind of portrait painting peddler moving from one magnificent castle to the other …”. Later that year a major commission led to three life-size works for a patrician English family; a pastel of their four children’s heads, and two full-length double portraits of them in oils. That of the younger pair, a soon-to-be baronet and a future viscountess, brought Sarah’s career to a new crest by appearing in the 1885 Royal Academy Spring Exhibition in London. “I do rejoice with my whole heart in your success” wrote J. B. Yeats on 30 April, “… success at the RA is a real test particularly where the painting is honest like yours…”. And in the afterglow of this, she went back in July to Surrey where the ex-Bostonian Sturgis family wanted a portrait of “the madre”. They got it, and portraits of her two novelist sons, and gifts for both men, a painting of wildflowers for Howard, and for his brother the bravura Lady with a child’s rattle inscribed in raillery “à M. Julian Sturgis hommage respectueux! S. H. Purser. 1.8.85.” (NGI). And once again a seeming figure-subject hides an identifiable person, in this case Mary Maud, daughter of Colonel Marcus de la Poer Beresford, and a relative of Archbishop Marcus Beresford of Armagh at whose cathedral she and Julian had married in 1883. By now they had a son; perhaps the rattle was his. Both brothers wrote to Sarah at that time sending cheques, and both refer to Mary Maud as Pussy. Glimpses of Sarah emerge when Mary Maud wrote that “…I found some specs and said at once they were yours, there is an outward bend of the sticks that I well remember gave your veil a peculiar cock at each side – I will send them to you tomorrow. We all missed you very much and now we frequently quote you”. Sarah habitually wore pince-nez, but no doubt a veil required more stable spectacles. Whatever about specs and quotable bon-mots, what Sarah did not leave behind was a second picture for which Mary Maud had posed, in the same chic hat and walking-dress, and this was shown as A Visitor at the annual exhibition of the Dublin Sketching Club in December 1885. One press reviewer found the picture “remarkably cleverly painted with a firm yet pliable brush. A young lady, dressed in a light gown, is seated in the shadow of a window on a sofa, the light falling on her dress. The position is easy, yet very much foreshortened, and the tone that pervades the penumbra of the room is exceedingly true, if a little bleak and cold.” He made no mention of the brilliant handling of the palette-knife to create the three-dimensional effect of the skirt, nor did he note the verve with which the parasol and striped sofa are swept onto the canvas, nor the able and economic rendering of details from a ring to scarlet boot-buttons. And the fact that a “subject” exhibit by a professional bore no price escaped comment too. Not offering A Visitor for sale was, to judge by Sarah’s like treatment of Le Petit Déjeuner, surely a mark of the painter’s affection for their models, and her lasting regard for both pictures, which remained in her possession all her life. A Visitor was hanging over a doorway in Mespil House when Sarah Purser’s goods were auctioned after her death. As it was unsigned, and black with age, the auctioneer used it to re-focus attention, distracted by the selling of some notable item. As recalled in 1974 by the purchaser, Mrs. V. Ganley, he put the picture up, asked what he was bid, and when she immediately bid £1 he as quickly knocked it down to her. Now someone else will have the opportunity to possess themselves of one of the treasures of 19th century Irish painting, and the happiness that will flow daily from its loveliness! John O'Grady, UCD, National University of Ireland, Dublin

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PORTRAIT OF VIVENNE GANLEY (NEÉ McLOUGHRIDGE)
PORTRAIT OF VIVENNE GANLEY (NEÉ McLOUGHRIDGE)
Seán O'Sullivan RHA (1906-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 70

Published Estimate: €1,000-1,200

Price Realised: €1300

  • Signature: signed lower right
  • Medium: pencil on paper
  • Dimensions: 46 by 36cm., 18 by 14in.
  • The sitter was a well-known Dublin art collector and former owner of the previous lot. As a young woman she worked for “Boss” Sinclair, the art and antiques dealer on Liffey Street; it was on his instructions that she attended the Mespil House sale and purchased the former lot. She later branched out on her own, dealing in works of art from her home in the garden flat at Clonskeagh Castle (information kindly supplied by Dr John O’Grady).

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THE ARTIST'S MOTHER, AFTERNOON TEA
THE ARTIST'S MOTHER, AFTERNOON TEA
Sarah Henrietta Purser HRHA (1848-1943)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 71

Published Estimate: €1,500-1,800

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: pencil on paper
  • Dimensions: 14 by 23cm., 5.5 by 9.25in.
  • Exhibited: 'Sarah Purser RHA 1848-1943: Drawings and Watercolours', Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 21 May - 3 June 1993, catalogue no. 99
  • Literature: John O'Grady, The Life and Work of Sarah Purser, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1996, catalogue no. 55j, page 177
  • From a sketchbook started in 1881. O'Grady identifies the sitters as Purser's mother, seated left and most probably her sister Frances, seated right.

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SELF PORTRAIT
SELF PORTRAIT
Sarah Henrietta Purser HRHA (1848-1943)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 72

Published Estimate: €1,500-1,800

Price Realised: €2300

  • Signature: exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: pencil on paper
  • Dimensions: 22 by 13cm., 8.5 by 5in.
  • Exhibited: 'Sarah Purser RHA 1848-1943: Drawings and Watercolours', Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 21 May - 3 June 1993, catalogue no. 62
  • Literature: John O'Grady, The Life and Work of Sarah Purser, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1996, catalogue no. 244k, pages 216-7 (illustrated)
  • Dr O'Grady dates this work to 1891 or later.

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STUDY OF A GIRL
STUDY OF A GIRL
Sarah Henrietta Purser HRHA (1848-1943)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 73

Published Estimate: €1,200-1,500

Price Realised: €1100

  • Signature: signed with monogram and dated [1 August 1875] upper left
  • Medium: pencil on paper
  • Dimensions: 11 by 6cm., 4.25 by 2.5in.
  • Exhibited: 'Sarah Purser RHA 1848-1943: Drawings and Watercolours', Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 21 May - 3 June 1993, catalogue no. 40
  • Literature: John O'Grady, The Life and Work of Sarah Purser, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1996, page 166 (illustrated)
  • This is the earliest known signed and dated work by Purser. Identified by Dr O'Grady as one of Purser's Mallet relatives, based on a family likeness.

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BRETON WOMAN SEATED IN INTERIOR, KNITTING
BRETON WOMAN SEATED IN INTERIOR, KNITTING
Aloysius C. O'Kelly (1850-1929)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 74

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: €19000

  • Signature: signed lower right
  • Medium: oil on canvas, relined
  • Dimensions: 66 by 46cm., 26 by 18in.
  • Provenance: James Adam Salesrooms, Dublin, 11 December 1986, lot 64; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • If the innumerable painters who painted them are anything to go by, Breton women knitted incessantly. Clearly, many artists were taken with the pose, but O’Kelly, in particular, seems to have adopted it as his very own. Such figures feature in Respite from the Midday Sun, Breton Women by the Fireside and Brittany Courtship, among many others. From her coiffe, we can tell that the painting was executed in the early twentieth century. Although she is an attractive young woman, painted with considerable specificity, and would have been readily identifiable at the time, this is not a portrait in the conventional sense. Her absorption in her task is the real subject of the painting. Unlike many of O'Kelly’s portraits, the young woman is specifically located, in this instance in a well-delineated Breton interior, thereby rendering this a genre painting rather than a portrait. In this regard, the painting resembles Breton Woman Cleaning Pans painted in Pont-Aven in 1909. The scale of the painting is such that it affords the artist the spatial capacity to focus on the setting and the accoutrements of the interior. Although the painting is quite dark, the carved oak lit clos, the large ceramic ewer, the chair and the pannier are clearly discernible and painted with O’Kelly’s consummate verve. These still-life elements are important features in the painting, and show O'Kelly’s considerable skill to effect. Dr Niamh O'Sullivan, Dublin, October 2005

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BRETON CHURCH INTERIOR WITH FIGURES
BRETON CHURCH INTERIOR WITH FIGURES
Aloysius C. O'Kelly (1850-1929)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 75

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed lower right
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 91 by 64cm., 36 by 25in.
  • This painting is evidently a large oil sketch for the painting dated 1905, exhibited Cynthia O’Connor (1994) as Brittany, the Stained Glass Window; and the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art (1999-2000) as Inside the Chapel. From the subject matter, and in the knowledge that O’Kelly rarely dated his paintings, (and then only those exhibited publicly), it is reasonable to suggest that Inside the Chapel is the painting exhibited as Devotion at the New York Watercolor Club (no. 3) in 1906, and the Corcoran Biennial, Washington (no. 178) in 1907, and that this painting is a large scale preliminary work. O’Kelly painted several versions of this theme of devotion, set in the same location, the lovely pilgrimage church, Chapelle Locmaria-an-hent, in the commune de Saint Yvi (between Pont-Aven and Quimper). These paintings span a twenty-five year period. Both Church Interior Brittany and Inside the Chapel relate to an earlier version, probably painted in the late 1870s, and taken from a different angle. Although this version was probably not painted until the early years of the twentieth century, the subject matter harks back to traditional patterns of Catholic conservative worship, not dissimilar to that in Ireland at the same time. Renowned for its stained glass, the church was built in the sixteenth-century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There is a seventeenth century statue of the Virgin to the left of the altar. Although clearly closely related, there are a number of differences between the two paintings. In the more finished version, the mother and child kneel devoutly in front of the altar. In this painting, there is only one young woman, now on the right of the man. Here the artist has attempted to include the arch but, finding the composition unsatisfactory, moved in closer to the altar in the dated, more finished painting. Although the brushwork is broad, loose and fluid and, therefore, inimical to detail, O'Kelly manages to imbue the stained glass with a vibrant prismatic quality typical of this series. Dr Niamh O'Sullivan, Dublin, October 2005

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TURNING BOATS AT CONCARNEAU
TURNING BOATS AT CONCARNEAU
Aloysius C. O'Kelly (1850-1929)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 76

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: €13000


GALWAY FOLK
GALWAY FOLK
Augustus Edwin John OM RA (1878-1961)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 77

Published Estimate: €6,000-8,000

Price Realised: €6500

  • Signature: signed lower right; original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: pen and brown ink wash on paper
  • Dimensions: 44 by 25cm., 17.5 by 9.75in.
  • Provenance: Leicester Galleries, London; Whence purchased by Ernest Makower Esq; Thence by descent; Private collection, Dublin
  • Exhibited: ’Augustus John OM RA’, Leicester Galleries, London, May 1943, catalogue no. 32; ’International Art Exhibition’, Cairo, 1947, British Council sponsored exhibition, loaned by Mrs Makower
  • Through his friendship with Orpen and numerous other Irish artists, Augustus John visited Ireland on at least two known occasions, in 1915 and 1930. During trips to the West he would stay with fellow artist Robert Gregory at Coole Park, and startle the local people by driving around the countryside in a sports-car. Several drawings relating to the present work including Galway Group, Galway Shawls and Fisher Folk were exhibited at the NEAC in 1915. These were all working sketches towards a large triptych, titled Galway, which was presented to the Tate Gallery in 1917.

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BOATS AT NICE
BOATS AT NICE
William John Leech RHA ROI (1881-1968)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 78

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed lower right; original exhibition labels on reverse
  • Medium: oil on panel
  • Dimensions: 37 by 46cm., 14.5 by 18in.
  • Exhibited: ’Centennial Exhibition of International and New Zealand Art’, National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 8 November 1939-4 May 1940, catalogue no. 405
  • Leech was great friends with the New Zealand painter Sydney Lough Thompson (1877-1973), through whose auspices he was most probably prevailed upon to send works to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, although Denson records that Leech’s four exhibits were selected in London by Mrs E. Murray Fuller (Alan Denson, An Irish Artist: W. J. Leech RHA (1881-1968), privately published, Kendal, 1968, page 43). In any case the work most likely dates to the mid-1930s and relates to such works as The Harbour, Nice (Derby Art Gallery, 1933; Pyms Gallery, 1985), in which he employed a higher view-point, possibly as seen from a nearby convent where he was staying, and The Port, Nice (RHA, 1935; NGI, 1996), which is a sketchier work than the present example but shares with it a low view-point and close-up detail of the boats and water.

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SPRING IN A RIVIERA GARDEN
SPRING IN A RIVIERA GARDEN
Sir John Lavery RA RHA RSA (1856-1941)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 79

Published Estimate: €80,000-100,000

Price Realised: €120000

  • Signature: signed lower right; signed, inscribed and dated [1921] on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 64 by 76cm., 25 by 30in.
  • Exhibited: (?) ‘Pictures of Morocco, the Riviera and other scenes by Sir John Lavery RA, with Portrait and Child Studies by Lady Lavery’, Alpine Club Gallery, London, 1921, catalogue no. 45 (as The Garden, Villa Sylvia); (?) ’Portraits and Landscapes of Sir John Lavery RA’, Robert C. Vose Galleries, Boston, 1925-6, catalogue no. 25 (as A Garden at Cap Ferrat); Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford; ’Sir John Lavery RA 1856-1941’, Spink & Co., London, 1971, catalogue no. 53
  • [THIS PAINTING HAS BEEN SOLD PRIOR TO AUCTION] Every year in January from 1903 onwards, Lavery visited his house in Tangier. His visits lasted around three months and he would return to London at the end of March for the start of the exhibition season. Although he sold the house in 1914, the pattern of extended winter holidays was resumed after the war when he returned to Morocco to visit Marrakesh, Rabat and Tangier. By this time however, a new enthusiasm was emerging. The south of France, with its sumptuous villas, grand hotels, casinos and sanatoria, had become fashionable at the turn of the century. With the laying of railways during the 1870s in the val de Rhone, tourists could not only travel from Paris to Nice, but connecting services made the area accessible from all over Europe and even as far afield as St Petersburg. Edwardian travel writers observed that the area around Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu was attracting “wealthy and leisured people”, who “come here to be quiet, to pass the winter in favourable surroundings and while not disdaining pleasure are not given to undue excitement”.1 Guidebooks of 1910 referred to the current enthusiasms for golf, tennis, roller-skating and motoring, and the region was noteworthy for ‘flash-harrys’, property speculators, card-sharps and pickpockets who hovered around the famous watering holes such as the Hotel de ‘Angleterre in Nice and the casino at Monte Carlo.2 Subdued during the war, the Riviera set re-emerged in greater numbers in the twenties. Nice and Monte Carlo were now talked about as having their own ‘season’ from January to April each year and the era, epitomized by the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, was inaugurated by the commencement of the exclusively first class train bleu in 1922. The côte d’azure had been enduringly fashionable with painters since the turn of the century, supplementing the popular artists’ colonies in Normandy and Brittany. Monet, Renoir, Derain and Matisse had all worked in the south of France and in the years leading up to the Great War, it attracted artists as various as the Irishman, William John Leech, the English, Henry Herbert la Thangue, the Scots, John Duncan Fergusson and the Welsh, Augustus John. Whilst these painters preferred the hill villages and romantic fishing ports, Lavery turned his back on obvious picturesqueness. With his pupil, Winston Churchill, he was an early arrival at the chic villas of Cap Ferrat in 1921.3 In his foreword to the catalogue accompanying Lavery’s exhibition to the Alpine Club Gallery later that year Churchill noted: ”He shows us sunlight in all its variety… gay and pellucid and pleasurable on the Riviera… We are presented with the true integrity of an effect. And this flash is expressed in brilliant and beautiful colour with the ease of long mastery”.4 It and the neighbouring resorts of Villefranche and Beaulieu-sur-Mer, were destinations of choice for an opulent, aristocratic English-speaking community that had included the Duke of Connaught, Lord Salisbury, Sir J. Blundell Maple and Gordon Bennett. Not only did Cap Ferrat satisfy Hazel Lavery’s social ambitions, but its incomparable coastal views drew the painter into a flurry of activity. Two views of Beaulieu were produced in the 1921 season, two other canvases represent the famous headland, the tête de chien, at Monte Carlo and yet others portray the terrace of Cap d’Ail and the steep path up to the village of Eze. Cap Ferrat boasted the best gardens on the Riviera and a micro-climate at Beaulieu, in the area known as ‘Petite Afrique’, produced the most luxurious vegetation in France. Spring, with its exotic blooms always arrived early, before the visitors departed. Whilst the garden in the present work has not been identified, it is likely to belong to the Villa Sylvia on Cap Ferrat. Lavery particularly admired this recreation of an Italian palazzo, and portrayed its white colonnade overlooking the sea on several occasions in 1921. The secluded garden was also a favourite motif – its trees and shrubs appearing in Spring, The Garden, Villa Sylvia 1921 (fig. 1, Ulster Museum, Belfast)5. Although painted from a slightly different angle and containing only the suggestion of figures, the Ulster Museum composition is strikingly similar to the present work. The precedent for depictions of garden tête-à-têtes in Lavery’s work goes back to 1889 when he painted members of Paisley Lawn Tennis Club (fig. 2, Renfrew District Museums and Galleries) under trees in blossom. However in recent years more intimate subjects were found in Tangier – particularly in Lavery’s own My Garden in Morocco, 1913 (private collection), where we sense the murmur of civilised conversation around the tea-table, as in the present example. Lavery preserves the privacy of the resting rich in the Riviera garden. None is identifiable, although they would certainly include Hazel Lavery, possibly the Churchills and maybe the recently married Duff and Diana Cooper, who were holidaying in the area. It is entirely possible in view of Hazel’s intense interest in Irish affairs that having read recent newspapers from London, they are discussing the politics of the emerging state. Kenneth McConkey, University of Northumbria 1 W. Scott, The Riviera, A&C Black, London, 1907, page 94. 2 Lavery was to paint the interior of the Salons Privées at the casino in 1929. See Kenneth McConkey, Sir John Lavery, Canongate, 1993, pages 180-181. Sources for the Riviera lifestyle at this period abound – see for instance, F. Berkeley Smith, Parisians Out of Doors, Funk and Wagnall, n.d., c. 1910, and Capt. Leslie Richardson, Things Seen on the Riviera, Seeley Service and Co., 1927. 3 The Churchills were photographed with the Duchess of Sutherland at Monte Carlo in 1913, and it is possible that Winston Churchill was one of those who recommended the South of France to Lavery. 4 RT. Hon, Winston S Churchill PC, MP, ‘Foreword’, Pictures of Morocco, the Riviera and other scenes by Sir John Lavery RA – Portrait and child Studies by Lady Lavery, exhibition catalogue, Alpine Club Gallery, London, 1921, pages 3-4. 5 Since the present picture appears more finished than that in the Ulster Museum, it may be that it was shown at the Alpine Club Gallery exhibition. A further possibility is the unidentified A Garden at Cap Ferrat, shown in Portraits and Landscapes of Sir John Lavery RA, at the Robert C. Vose Galleries, Boston, 1925-6, no. 25.

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THE GOOD COMPANIONS, 1921
THE GOOD COMPANIONS, 1921
Frank McKelvey RHA RUA (1895-1974)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 80

Published Estimate: €60,000-80,000

Price Realised: €102000

  • Signature: signed lower left
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 46 by 56cm., 18 by 22in.
  • Provenance: The artist's family by descent
  • Exhibited: ’Frank McKelvey: Paintings’, Locksley Hall, the Carlton, Belfast, 8-20 October 1934, catalogue number 26
  • Literature: The Belfast Telegraph, 6 October 1934, page 11
  • Although painted in 1921, The Good Companions composition has been seen only once in public, at McKelvey’s first ever one-man exhibition, held at the Locksley Hall, Belfast, in the autumn of 1934. Reviewing that show, the Belfast Telegraph critic (6 October 1934, page 11) commented on the picture with its “two girls with rabbits”. The paper also admired the artist’s “delicate perception of light” in this and all his works. Although the figures cannot be identified, they were probably relations of the artist. The setting, however, is almost certainly the Maze, near Hillsborough, Co. Down, where McKelvey had taken a cottage a year or so earlier, although the picture would have been painted, from sketches done on the spot, in the artist’s studio at Rea’s Buildings in Royal Avenue, Belfast, where he travelled each day to work. The Good Companions shows the essential genre character that typifies so much of McKelvey’s art. Painted just four years after he left the Belfast College of Art, the picture shows the influence of A. R. Baker (1864-1939), his teacher at the College, who painted genre scenes of country life, rendered in a loose Impressionist technique of great charm. The feeling of space, of fresh air and the spontaneity of the moment seen to strong effect in The Good Companions composition are Bakeresque features that were to remain typical of McKelvey’s work throughout his career. His observation of the two girls who watch over their pet rabbits is sensitive and they are set down naturally and without any contrivance. The even film of paint applied over much of the canvas is characteristic of McKelvey’s early landscape work in particular, as is the device of using slightly heavier impasto to highlight, in this case, the figures and the rabbits, so as to draw attention to them. The handling of paint and naturalistic use of light, combined with the treatment of the figures, expresses the apparent ease of the artist’s technical abilities. There is, too, a clear delineation of space and sense of recession, from the sunlit foreground, where the narrative is set, to the blue-grey haze of the tree-lined middle distance and, beyond, the light blue of the far distant trees. All has been set down directly, with little or no alteration or over-painting. The colours and the paint surface are delightfully fresh and strong in hue, echoing the comment of the Irish Times in 1924 that with McKelvey painting is “an accomplishment, and his pictures declare it. One feels the sunlight in every one of them” (Irish Times, 7 April 1924, page 4). Compositions such as The Good Companions and others like it — compare, for example, McKelvey’s Family Scene or Children in a Park (both reproduced in S. B. Kennedy, Frank McKelvey, 1993, pages 15, 32 respectively), done at about the same time — place McKelvey in the tradition of artists like Walter Osborne or Dermod O’Brien, that is, of those who followed an essentially English tradition of plein-air painting derived, ultimately, from Constable. Besides possessing a superb technical fluency, McKelvey was gifted with an enquiring mind so that his paintings represent not only a sense of discovery, but are imbued with a constant freshness. Dr S.B. Kennedy, Seaforde, October 2005

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EMMA, THE ARTIST'S NIECE
EMMA, THE ARTIST'S NIECE
Frank McKelvey RHA RUA (1895-1974)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 81

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: 


BABBIN AND BETTY, FITZWILLIAM SQUARE
BABBIN AND BETTY, FITZWILLIAM SQUARE
Mainie Jellett (1897-1944)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 82

Published Estimate: €6,000-8,000

Price Realised: €8400

  • Signature: signed and dated [1918] lower right
  • Medium: watercolour on paper
  • Dimensions: 25 by 22cm., 9.75 by 8.5in.
  • Provenance: The artist's estate; Collection of Mavis Arnold; De Vere's, 25 November 2003, lot 31; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • From an early age Jellett painted her youngest sisters Babbin and Betty (or Rosamund and Elizabeth), both on holidays in Co. Donegal and at home, on Fitzwilliam Square. The present work relates to an oil painting of the same year, Babbin and Betty, illustrated in Bruce Arnold’s book, Mainie Jellett and the Modern Movement in Ireland, page 27.

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PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE GIRL, 1917
PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE GIRL, 1917
William Conor RHA RUA ROI (1881-1968)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 83

Published Estimate: €8,000-12,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed upper left; original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 69 by 51cm., 27 by 20in.
  • Exhibited: Belfast Art Society, 1917, catalogue no. 89
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THE COMFORTER, 1952
THE COMFORTER, 1952
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 84

Published Estimate: €150,000-200,000

Price Realised: €240000

  • Signature: signed lower right; exhbition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 36 by 46cm., 14 by 18in.
  • Provenance: Victor Waddington Galleries, Dublin; Mrs Jobling-Purser, Dublin; Private collection
  • Exhibited: ’Jack B. Yeats: Oil Paintings’, Victor Waddington Galleries, Dublin, October 1953, catalogue no. 1; ’Jack B. Yeats, Loan Exhibition’, New Gallery, Belfast, 14-26 June 1965, catalogue no. 9; ’Irelandskt - Exhibition of Irish Paintings: From Yeats to Ballagh’, Lunds Kansthall, Lund, Sweden, April - May 1972 (organised by the Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon), catalogue no. 57
  • Literature: Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Andre Deutsh, London, 1992, Vol. II, page 1026, catalogue no. 1125; also Vol. III, full page illustration, page 568
  • Hilary Pyle has described this work as follows: “A girl with a sallow complexion, wearing a black hat, has a numb absorbed expression. The face of the man who leans towards her, speaking gently, is brightened by the light of the sky seen above the landscape which opens beyond the wall before which their upper parts are seen. There is a sketch for this in pencil in the final workbook. Yeats painted many pictures of personalities in conflict or in accord, and was always interested in the psychological relationship of one person with another. At this late stage, he may also have been considering the theological implications of the title”. (Pyle, op. cit., Vol. II, page 1026). Bruce Arnold, author of Jack Yeats (Yale University Press 1998) writes: For a late work The Comforter has a powerful simplicity, rich colour and assured composition. The thought behind it, a narrative of kindness offered and comfort taken from it, binds the central figures together. Both of them, though particularly the woman, are given clear characterisation, not always so successfully done by Yeats, whose technique, so full of the flamboyant use of impasto, created at times a riot rather than a resolution of event. Here, the emphasis that he sought and has achieved is one of calmness and consideration. The full-face presentation of the woman is unequivocal, though whatever grief she is holding to her heart is under a measure of control that makes the comforter’s role that much more difficult. Yeats had three years to go, and some fabulous works to paint; yet few in the last cycle of his output have the determination of thought and intent, as well as the control, achieved here. Bruce Arnold, Dublin, October 2005

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SALVADOR, POOR PEASANT
SALVADOR, POOR PEASANT
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 85

Published Estimate: €8,000-10,000

Price Realised: €8000

  • Signature: signed lower left; inscribed and with original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
  • Provenance: Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, Dublin; Whence purchased by the father of the present owner, October 1969
  • Exhibited: ’George Campbell RHA’, David Hendriks Gallery, Dublin, October 1969, catalogue no. 7 (95 gns)
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DON QUIXOTE AND SANCHO PANZA
DON QUIXOTE AND SANCHO PANZA
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 86

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: €19000

  • Signature: signed lower left; original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 89 by 74cm., 36 by 30in.
  • Exhibited: 'George Campbell RHA", David Hendriks Gallery, Dublin, October 1969, catalogue no. 1 (200 gns)
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CURRACHS OFF ROUNDSTONE
CURRACHS OFF ROUNDSTONE
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 87

Published Estimate: €40,000-50,000

Price Realised: €40000


COTTAGE INTERIOR, circa 1952
COTTAGE INTERIOR, circa 1952
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 88

Published Estimate: €35,000-45,000

Price Realised: €90000

  • Signature: signed lower left
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 36 by 61cm., 14 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to his sister Molly; Purchased from Molly Dillon by the present owner
  • Relates to Kitchen Interior (Radio Telefis Éireann collection), featuring the same woman in a blue vest and black skirt seated on a stool, and indeed some of the same household objects such as the dustpan and brush. In composition however, Dillon employs his trademark technique of inviting the viewer in by arranging his figures around the edge of the frame. This is used for instance in The Yellow Bungalow (Ulster Museum) and Cottage Interior, Moyard, circa 1953 (private collection). In the present work, the central figure with her back to the viewer is Dillon's mother. Possibly because of this family connection, Dillon held this work in high regard, keeping it for many years as a personal favourite, before giving it to his sister Molly, with whom he shared rented accommodation for many years in London.

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MISS ROGERS DRIVING THE CATTLE HOME
MISS ROGERS DRIVING THE CATTLE HOME
James Dixon (1887-1970)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 89

Published Estimate: €4,000-5,000

Price Realised: €4000

  • Signature: signed, inscribed and dated [2 July 1964] lower right
  • Medium: oil on paper
  • Dimensions: 56 by 76cm., 22 by 30in.
  • Exhibited: ’James Dixon: Paintings of Tory Island’, Dawson Gallery, Dublin, 2-13 June 1967, catalogue no. 20
  • The title of this work was incorporated into a poem, Dixon on Tory, by Paul Muldoon (Knowing My Place, Ulsterman Publications, 1971).

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PORT OF THE WEST END VILLAGE, TORY ISLAND
PORT OF THE WEST END VILLAGE, TORY ISLAND
James Dixon (1887-1970)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 90

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: €8000


WOMAN DREAMING IN A CHAIR
WOMAN DREAMING IN A CHAIR
Anne Yeats (1919-2001)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 91

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed lower left; original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 91 by 61cm., 36 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin; Private collection
  • Exhibited: Irish Exhibition of Living Art, Dublin, 1964, catalogue no. 5 (£75-0-0); 'Anne Yeats', Sligo Arts Society and The Arts Council, August 1965, catalogue no. 26 (75 gns)
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FIGURE IN A FOREST
FIGURE IN A FOREST
Basil Ivan Rákóczi (1908-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 92

Published Estimate: €3,000-4,000

Price Realised: €4600

  • Signature: signed lower left
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 46 by 55cm., 18 by 21.5in.
  • Provenance: Artist's studio; Jacqueline Robinson, Paris; Private collection
  • Exhibited: ’Basil Rákóczi 1908-1979 Retrospective’, Galerie Arte Viva, Levallois-Perret, Paris, 7 April – 3 May 1992, illustrated on front cover of the exhibition invitation
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STAG IN A FOREST
STAG IN A FOREST
Basil Ivan Rákóczi (1908-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 93

Published Estimate: €1,000-1,500

Price Realised: €2500

  • Signature: signed lower left;dated [1951] and signed again on reverse
  • Medium: monotype - oil on paper
  • Dimensions: 41 by 50cm., 16 by 19.5in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Victor Bewley (1912-1999); Thence by descent to the present owner
  • Exhibited: Possibly exhibited as The Forest, WCSI, 1951, catalogue no. 38 (£15-15-0)
  • Rákóczi gave both this and the following lot to his friend, businessman Victor Bewley. Bewley and Rákóczi’s friendship can be dated as far back as December 1944, when Bewley officially opened Rákóczi’s one man exhibition at the White Stag Gallery, 6 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin.

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TWO FIGURES HOLDING CANDLES
TWO FIGURES HOLDING CANDLES
Basil Ivan Rákóczi (1908-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 94

Published Estimate: €6,000-8,000

Price Realised: €8700

  • Signature: signed lower right; signed again on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 91 by 122cm., 36 by 48in.
  • Provenance: Gift from the artist to Victor Bewley (1912-1999); Thence by descent to the present owner
  • With a second completes work on reverse.

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MAGNETIC LANDSCAPE
MAGNETIC LANDSCAPE
Colin Middleton MBE RHA (1910-1983)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 95

Published Estimate: €35,000-45,000

Price Realised: €58000

  • Signature: signed and dated [1942] lower left; inscribed and signed again in monogram on reverse
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 46 by 61cm., 18 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Purchased by the mother of the present owner, circa 1950
  • Exhibited: ’Colin Middleton’, Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, August 1943, catalogue no. 37
  • Opus I, no. 37 Group IV Colin Middleton was selected to be the first artist shown in the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery when it reopened in 1943 after the blitz. Remarkably for an artist still working as a damask designer, Middleton was able to include well over one hundred paintings, in a variety of styles which demonstrated the diversity of his response to European art since the late nineteenth century and above all to Surrealism. Dali and de Chirico are the most obvious influences on the series of surrealist landscapes that Middleton painted in the manner of Magnetic Landscape, but he does maintain a consistently individual style and atmosphere within them. The emphasis on repeated patterning, the manipulation of perspective and ideas of space and reality are threads that carry through these paintings and are picked up again by Middleton in the 1970s. His early design training suited him ideally to work in this manner and he also used the Opus I strand of this first exhibition to explore his own personal theories and ideas. These seem primarily to have been organised around the idea of our relationship to the earth, our impermanence contrasted with its seeming permanence and the place of the artist in society (ideally “a vital link in the social chain” whose work must communicate within the society in which it is made). In Magnetic Landscape the enduring cycles of nature are contrasted with features of a modern industrial landscape. The sea and the eclipsed moon create an uneasy backdrop to the train tracks and telegraph poles, and the title and elements of the painting direct us towards a sense of magnetic fields in nature that are silently and powerfully present beneath the currents we have imposed above the earth. While Middleton seems to have adopted Surrealism as the most suitable language to communicate his ideas, the essence of his work and the elucidation of these ideas seem to have a central humanist or neo-Romantic theme, which foreshadows his future development as a painter. Dickon Hall Killinchy, Co. Down, October 2005

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THEATRE SCENE
THEATRE SCENE
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 96

Published Estimate: €8,000-10,000

Price Realised: €11500

  • Signature: signed lower left; inscribed on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
  • A very early example of Campbell's work, most likely relating to his 1947 and 1949 RHA exhibits Clowns Waiting and Three Waiting Dancers. The theatre depicted is thought to be the Gaiety in Dublin.

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ARIES MOON
ARIES MOON
Patrick Collins HRHA (1911-1984)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 97

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed and dated [1967] lower right; inscribed on reverse; also with original exhibition label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 46 by 61cm., 18 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Tom Caldwell Galleries, Dublin and Belfast; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • Exhibited: 'Patrick Collins', Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, Dublin, May 1967, catalogue no. 22, (90gns)
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THE SECOND FALL
THE SECOND FALL
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 98

Published Estimate: €6,000-8,000

Price Realised: €8200

  • Signature: inscribed and with original exhibtion label on reverse
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
  • Literature: Michelle Baily, ‘The Life and Word of George Campbell RHA 1917-1979’, in George Campbell 1917-1979, Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, 1992, page 24
  • ”The 1960s marked a highpoint in Campbell’s career. Returning to Dublin at the beginning of the decade he was to find new patronage in the form of the Catholic Church… Religious images were many during this period and mark his entry into stained glass work. This work, The Second Fall, was awarded a prize by the Church Exhibitions Committee at an exhibition of Irish art held in Merrion Square, Dublin in 1962, and was subsequently exhibited at the Salzburg Biennale of that year.The dark brooding air which characterised much of his work was considered eminently suitable for religious art as was his use of strong black outlines and his ability as a colourist, which both the stained glass artists Manus Walsh and George Walsh have remarked upon” (Michelle Baily, op. cit.).

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DALKEY ISLAND
DALKEY ISLAND
Patrick Collins HRHA (1911-1984)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 99

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: signed and dated [1968] lower left
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 25 by 36cm., 10 by 14in.
  • Provenance: Apollo Gallery, Dublin; Whyte's, 13 June 2001, lot 57; Whence purchased by the present owner
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EVENING, CONNEMARA
EVENING, CONNEMARA
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 29 November 2005 / 100

Published Estimate: €8,000-10,000

Price Realised: €11000


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