25 April 2006

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DINGLE, COUNTY KERRY
DINGLE, COUNTY KERRY
Mabel Young RHA (1889-1974)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 51

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: €4000


OLD WOMAN AT CARRAROE
OLD WOMAN AT CARRAROE
Charles Vincent Lamb RHA RUA (1893-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 52

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: 


DONEGAL LANDSCAPE, circa 1939
DONEGAL LANDSCAPE, circa 1939
Theodore James Gracey RUA (1895-1959)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 53

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: 


CLAMPING TURF, PHOENIX PARK, 1944
CLAMPING TURF, PHOENIX PARK, 1944
George Stephen Walsh (1911-1988)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 54

Published Estimate: €800-1,000

Price Realised: €1100

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed and dated lower right; original inscribed label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 43 by 50cm., 17 by 19.5in.
  • Exhibited: 'An Exhibition of Irish Art' Molesworth gallery, Dublin, and Taylor Gallery, London, 5-28 October 2000, catalogue no. 36 (illustrated)
  • In the original Waddington Galleries frame. During “the Emergency” years 1939-45, the Turf Development Board (the forerunner of Bord na Móna) stockpiled peat in order to compensate for wartime coal shortages. A temporary depot was set up in the Phoenix Park, and German machinery, imported in 1939, was used to clamp the turf. This newly mechanised technique was to revolutionise peat-harvesting in Ireland and became one of the biggest industries in the Midlands during the following decade.

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BUNKHOUSE AT SHANNON, ARDNACRUSHA WORKS
BUNKHOUSE AT SHANNON, ARDNACRUSHA WORKS
Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 55

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: €23000

  • Signature: charcoal and pastel on buff-coloured card
  • Medium: signed lower right
  • Dimensions: 46 by 60cm., 18 by 23.5in.
  • Exhibited: 'Seán Keating; National University of Ireland, Galway, in collaboration with ESB, 31 October - 5 November 2001, as The Bunkhouse (on loan from a private collection)
  • Forever fascinated by machinery and technology, Seán Keating gained access to the building site at Ardnacrusha to paint the modernity rising from the east Clare landscape in the 1920s. The folklore surrounding Keating’s exploits on site is entertaining: apparently, in his enthusiasm to work, Keating studiously ignored warnings to protect himself on site. The stories suggest that the artist was saved on a number of occasions by watchful workmen who quite literally dragged him behind upturned metal waste skips seconds before rock blasting explosions were detonated. As soon as it was all clear, Keating would leap back out again to commence work as though nothing had happened. When on site, Keating lived with the workers in accommodation that was the subject of major industrial and political disputes. Special huts were built to house workers, but as numbers rose, many sought a bed off site, sometimes ending up in totally inadequate outbuildings formerly used to house cattle and sheep. For those with accommodation on site, the facilities were meagre. The Bunkhouse at Shannon, Ardnacrusha Works keenly illustrates the actuality of life on location, the other side of modernity. While some of the sheds that were built were furnished with beds on metal or wooden bases and legs, blankets and wardrobes, this ‘bunkhouse’ contains mattresses on boards which are in turn, placed on top of boxes, suitcases and anything else that would take the weight of a grown man; the bed to the front right actually bends towards the floor. There are no washing facilities, there is a billy can hanging on the wall to the right and clothes are hung over the rafters and on nails in the wall, not a wardrobe in sight. A small solid fuel burner situated at the rear of the shed was the only source of heat with which to keep warm and dry clothing. It is entirely possible that this is the ‘bunkhouse’ in which Keating stayed. While there is no apparent evidence of his presence in the room, the long coat hanging from the rafters to the right of the image contains an indigo blue high collared pullover of the kind that he used to wear. While the other garments hang listlessly over the rafters, the coat seems to contain life, as if a puppet to an artist with a keen sense of humour. Éimear O’Connor The Humanities Institute of Ireland University College Dublin.

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IN THE WEST OF IRELAND, circa 1934
IN THE WEST OF IRELAND, circa 1934
Paul Henry RHA (1876-1958)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 56

Published Estimate: €80,000-120,000

Price Realised: €130000

  • Signature: oil on panel
  • Medium: signed lower left
  • Dimensions: 41 by 61cm., 16 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Gift from Miss Ashworth, Knutsford, Cheshire, to the grandmother of the present owner, circa 1930s
  • The setting for this splendid landscape is almost certainly County Kerry, which Paul Henry visited for the first time in 1933 and to which he returned in September 1934 for a painting holiday. The late 1920s and early 1930s had been a difficult time for Henry, culminating in his final separation from his first wife, Grace, and a period of personal difficulties, all of which are reflected in the dark, often gloomy, colours that characterize much of his work of the time. His visits to Kerry, on the other hand, were a delight and, with his personal problems now in the past, his palette lightened and his handling of the medium became much more fluid. It is in this context that In the West of Ireland should be viewed. Here, the visual emphasis is placed on the sky which, with its bright and fresh cumulous clouds, is the true delight of the picture. Only later does one’s attention descend to the mountains before settling on the narrow strip of ripening rye which in turn leads the eye to the warm blues of the water in the middle distance. The foreground, completely in shadow, mirrors yet heavier, but unseen, clouds in the sky above and the silhouette of the turf stacks contrast with the bright passage beyond. Thus the eye is led around the composition and is never allowed to settle in one place. Overall there is a sense of timelessness and an absence of any human presence, save for the workings around the turf stacks. Characteristic of Henry, the paint has been applied with deliberation and economy in an even layer throughout the composition, and there is little or no overpainting which might otherwise have muddied the colours. Dated circa 1934 on stylistic grounds. In the West of Ireland is numbered 1081 in S. B. Kennedy’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Paul Henry’s oeuvre. Dr S. B. Kennedy Belfast, March 2006

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LIVERPOOL DOCKS
LIVERPOOL DOCKS
James Humbert Craig RHA RUA (1877-1944)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 57

Published Estimate: €10,000-15,000

Price Realised: €17000

  • Signature: oil on board
  • Medium: signed lower right; original label inscribed with exhibition number (no. 52) and prica (£30-0-0) on reverse
  • Dimensions: 30 by 43cm., 12 by 17in.
  • With a preparatory pencil sketch of men in a boat on reverse. Craig’s enthusiasm for boats extended to a keen interest in busy city ports and steam ships. He painted a number of shipping scenes in Belfast Harbour, including Clarendon Dock, Belfast and Leaving Belfast (both illustrated in George A. Connell, James Humbert Craig: The People’s Artist, 1988, pages 119 and 75 respectively). The present view of the Liverpool Docks was painted during the 1930s, at a time when thousands of Irish went to England in search of work. For many of these, Liverpool was their first port of entry. In the foreground a barefoot urchin rushes through the crowd, a horse and dray await unloading, a shawled woman and child stand at the left, balanced by a second family group at the right, standing by their cases, looking on at the busy scene. Beyond them, through the funnels of the docked ship, can be seen the copper cupola of the Royal Liver Insurance Building.

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ROUNDSTONE HARBOUR, 1908
ROUNDSTONE HARBOUR, 1908
Lady Kate Dobbin WCSI (1868-1955)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 58

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €3600

  • Signature: watercolour
  • Medium: signed and dated lower left
  • Dimensions: 30 by 41cm., 12 by 16in.
  • Exhibited: Possibly exhibited as 'Evening in the Village' or 'In the Harbour, Roundstone', at the RHA, Dublin, 1909, catalogue nos. 232 and 253 respectively
  • Lady Kate Dobbin was born in Bristol, the daughter of William Wise, a solicitor. In 1887 she married Alfred Graham Dobbin who was knighted in 1900 for his role as High Chief Sheriff of the City of Cork. Lady Dobbin studied at the Crawford Municipal School of Art between 1891 and ‘95. She submitted her first picture to the RHA in 1894 and continued to show there until 1947 exhibiting a total of one hundred and five paintings. She worked mainly in watercolour painting, scenes of Cork and the surrounding countryside.

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WOODLAND WITH SNOWDROPS, EARLY SPRING
WOODLAND WITH SNOWDROPS, EARLY SPRING
Mildred Anne Butler RWS (1858-1941)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 59

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: €11000

  • Signature: watercolour heightened with whtie
  • Medium: signed lower right; remains of original inscribed label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 27 by 37cm., 10.5 by 14.5in.
  • Most likely a view near Kilmurry, the artist's home outside Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. In the original giltwood frame of A. W. Johnson, gilder and picture frame maker, 152 High Street, Kensington, London.

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THE LAST LAMP, THAMES EMBANKMENT AT DUSK, 1886
THE LAST LAMP, THAMES EMBANKMENT AT DUSK, 1886
Rose Maynard Barton RWS (1856-1929)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 60

Published Estimate: €18,000-22,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: watercolour
  • Medium: signed and indistinctly dated lower left
  • Dimensions: 25 by 34cm., 10 by 13.5in.
  • Provenance: E. Meinartshagen Esq, London; Private collection, Lincolnshire
  • Literature: Rose Barton, Familiar London, A & C Black, 1904, plate 28
  • In Familiar London the artist describes an evening walk, such as gave rise to the present work: … One still November afternoon I went out for a stroll at dusk along the Chelsea Embankment. The lights were just being lit; all outlines were lost in mysterious beauty; and as I walked along I meditated on how truly Whistler had interpreted the scene: “And when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall chimneys become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairyland is before us – then the wayfarer hastens home; the working man and the cultured one, the wise man and the one of pleasure, cease to understand, as they have ceased to see, and nature, who for once has sung in tune, sings her exquisite song to the artist alone” (pages 91-92).

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THE OLD CHAMPION, circa 1899
THE OLD CHAMPION, circa 1899
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 61

Published Estimate: €35,000-45,000

Price Realised: €39000

  • Signature: watercolour over black chalk
  • Medium: signed lower left; inscribed on reverse
  • Dimensions: 37 by 27cm., 14.5 by 10.5in.
  • Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin; Sold to Rosie Black in 1962; Dan McInerney, Dublin; Christie's sale, Carrickmines House, Co. Dublin, 10 February 1986, lot 351 (illustrated in catalogue); James Adam, Dublin; Leslie Waddington, London; Private collection
  • Exhibited: ’Jack B. Yeats: Watercolours and Pen and Ink Drawings’, Dawson Gallery, Dublin, November - December 1962, catalogue no. 35; ’Watercolours: Yeats, Hayden, Féininger’, Waddington Galleries, London, 1962, catalogue no. 8; ’North West Arts Festival’, Derry, organised by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, April 1964, and touring to Belfast for the May Festival, catalogue no. 29
  • Literature: Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: His Watercolours, Drawings and Pastels, Irish Academic Press, 1993, no. 201, listed and illustrated page 84
  • Hilary Pyle describes this as “an aging athlete, featured at a country race meeting, which forms a background behind him”.

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A PATRIOT, circa 1902
A PATRIOT, circa 1902
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 62

Published Estimate: €35,000-45,000

Price Realised: €36500

  • Signature: watercolour
  • Medium: stamped with monogram lower left; exhibition label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 36 by 17cm., 14 by 6.75in.
  • Provenance: Victor Waddington, London; Whence purchased by A.S. Alkin Esq.; Sotheby's London, 21 May 1999, lot 341
  • Literature: Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: His watercolours Drawings and Pastels, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1993, no.393a, p.112, illustrated
  • As Hilary Pyle observes "a picture of Robert Emmet is seen through the open doorway, hanging over the fireplace".

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THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE FOREST OF CRECY, NORMANDY, SEPTEMBER 1925
THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE FOREST OF CRECY, NORMANDY, SEPTEMBER 1925
Dermod O'Brien PRHA HRA HRBA HRSA (1865-1945)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 63

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €2700

  • Signature: oil on canvas board
  • Medium: inscribed on reverse
  • Dimensions: 16 by 24cm., 6.25 by 9.5in.
  • Provenance: By descent to the present owner and in private hands for over fifty years
  • In the original gilt wood frame of Bregazzi, 10 Merrion Row, Dublin

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HOLLAND, 1895
HOLLAND, 1895
Stanhope Alexander Forbes RA (1857-1947)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 64

Published Estimate: €8,000-10,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: oil on panel
  • Medium: signed lower left; exhibition label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 19 by 29cm., 7.5 by 11.5in.
  • Provenance: Gift of the artist to a Mr Dimmock, 1896; Christie's, South Kensington, 27 March 2003, lot 465 as Dutch River Landscape; Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dublin; Private collection
  • With the remains of a letter formerly pasted to the reverse of the frame, on the artist’s headed notepaper (Trewarveneth, Newlyn, Penzance), dated 4th March 1896, to the original owner, Mr Dimmock, requesting that he accept “a little sketch which I did in Holland last year. It is merely a trifle but it is characteristic of that interesting country”.

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THE SWING
THE SWING
George Russell Æ (1867-1935)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 65

Published Estimate: €15,000-20,000

Price Realised: €24000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed in monogram lower left; inscribed "Quinn" on the stretcher and with the framing label of Frederick Keppel, art dealer, New York, onreverse
  • Dimensions: 41 by 61cm., 16 by 24in.
  • Provenance: Formerly in the collection of John Quinn, New York
  • John Quinn, the renowned American collector of paintings, antiques and books, was the foremost patron of both Russell and John Butler Yeats. Russell frequently reserved his best works for Quinn. In a contemporary carved frame from Frederick Keppel, New York.

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TWO WOMEN LOOKING OUT TO SEA
TWO WOMEN LOOKING OUT TO SEA
George Russell "Æ" (1867-1935)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 66

Published Estimate: €12,000-15,000

Price Realised: €11500

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed in monogram lower left
  • Dimensions: 41 by 53cm., 16 by 21in.
  • Provenance: Thomas and Anne Dunne, friends and neighbours of the artist; Thence by descent to the present owner
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BRETON LACE MAKERS, 1909
BRETON LACE MAKERS, 1909
May Guinness (1863-1955)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 67

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: €6800

  • Signature: oil on panel
  • Medium: signed in monogram lower right; inscribed on reverse
  • Dimensions: 19 by 24cm., 7.5 by 9.5in.
  • Provenance: By descent to the present owner and in private hands for over fifty years
  • Exhibited: Belfast Art Society, 1909, catalogue no. 136
  • This vigorously painted little oil sketch was created on what was most probably the artist’s first trip to Brittany, in 1909. Earlier, in 1894, she had studied with Norman Garstin at Newlyn in Cornwall, and had taken painting trips to Florence in 1902 and 1903. In 1909 she first exhibited three Breton subjects at the Belfast Art Society: Street in Pont l’Abbaye, Brittany, A Breton Cross and the present work, all priced at £2-10-0. Further works appeared in subsequent years; the modest prices would indicate they too were small oil sketches, as were those later shown at the Irish Impressionists exhibition (NGI, 1984). James White considered May Guinness to be a “courageous innovator”, responsible for introducing Post-Impressionism to Ireland, and the first Irish artist “to paint her way into the heart and spirit of the new movement of the 20th century” (introduction to the May Guinness memorial exhibition catalogue, Dawson Gallery, Dublin, April 1956).

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T-TE DE FEMME or PORTRAIT OF RENÉE HONTA, circa 1923
T-TE DE FEMME or PORTRAIT OF RENÉE HONTA, circa 1923
Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 68

Published Estimate: €70,000-90,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: oil on canvas board
  • Medium: signed upper right; inscribed on reverse: "Roderic O'Conor / 102 rue du Cherche Midi / Paris / Tete de femme 2000 frs"; also stamped "atelier O'CONOR" on reverse
  • Dimensions: 46 by 38cm., 18 by 15in.
  • Provenance: Sale, Hotel Drouot, Vente O'Conor, 7 February 1956; Roland Browse and Delbanco, London; Private collection, London
  • Literature: Jonathan Bennington, Roderic O'Conor: A Biography with a Catalogue of his Work, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1992, catalogue no. 281, listed page 223
  • Female models abound in the later work of Roderic O'Conor when he worked out of a studio-cum-flat in the Montparnasse district of Paris, a fashionable artistic quarter otherwise known as the Right Bank. Most of these pictures showed the figure placed in an interior setting, with accompanying props of furniture, ceramics and coloured drapes. It was comparatively rare, however, for O’Conor to adopt a sufficiently close-up view of the model for it to be described as a portrait (this was a privilege he usually reserved for his own features). The present picture is so carefully studied and thoughtfully coloured – with its complimentary swathes of red and green – and its features bear so much resemblance to other images of Renée Honta, that one has to conclude it is a portrait of her. Renee Honta (1894-1955), who came from Pau in the Basses Pyrenées, started working as a model for O’Conor in Paris during the First World War. She later became his mistress and wife, learnt to paint under his guidance, and cared for him when his health started to decline. A photograph of her taken during the 1930s, showing her walking with friends in the country, shows the same rounded outline to the face, the same prominent features and bobbed hairstyle. In O’Conor’s painting the model's head is turned towards the light, accentuating the shapes of eyes, nose and mouth, and all but eliminating the shadow in her neck and left cheek. She strikes a reflective pose, with her faraway gaze and her left hand raised unselfconsciously to her shoulder. O’Conor applied a similar clarity of observation to another depiction of the same model, Seated Nude, Half Length (Benington number 267), in which her face is turned slightly to the right (rather than the left), and both arms are dropped to her side. Tête de femme, which is the smaller (though more colourful) of the two pictures, makes greater play of gently curving contours that tend to flatten the pictorial space, articulating the head and upper body as a sequence of rhythmic lines. Indeed, so pronounced is the elongated, ovoid shape of the head that the classical figure paintings of Cézanne, Picasso and even Modigliani spring to mind, with their emphasis on geometric design. O'Conor was in fact an enlightened and early admirer of Cézanne and Modigliani, owning two lithographs by the former and a Portrait de femme in oils by the latter (plus two works on paper). The classical rigour these two artists seem to have inspired in the Irishman is, however, tempered by his innate skills as a colourist, which come through most notably in the abstracted patches of red, blue, mauve and green used for the model’s dress and sleeve. The young woman’s left cheek is streaked with parallel stripes of an ochrous orange, an echo of O’Conor’s famous ‘striping’ technique of the 1890s, and at the same time a highly perceptive record of the skin’s reflection of the adjacent red upholstery. It would appear that Tête de femme has not been exhibited in public since 1923. In that year he contributed a picture with the title Tête de femme to the Salon d'Automne exhibition in Paris. In the catalogue the asking price was quoted as 750 francs, which could have been a mistake or change of mind bearing in mind that the price inscribed by the artist on the reverse of the present picture is 2000 francs. In any case, the title Tête de femme does not appear anywhere else in O'Conor's exhibition history. There can be no doubt that O'Conor was very pleased with this carefully composed portrait, for in signing it twice (on the back as well as the front) he singled it out for special treatment. The majority of his paintings were left unsigned. Jonathan Benington Bath, March 2006

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Illustrated letter to James Guthrie, 1908
Illustrated letter to James Guthrie, 1908
Jack Butler Yeats 

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 69

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €2100

  • Signature: pen and ink on paper
  • Medium: manuscript letter addressed to "My dear Guthrie", 5 September, 1908, sent from the home of Rev. T. A. Harvey BD, Lissadell Rectory, Ballinfull, Sligo
  • Dimensions: 18 by 11cm., 7 by 4.25in.
  • As founder of the Pear Tree Press and editor of The Bookplate Magazine, artist engraver James Guthrie (1874-1952) was largely responsible for the revival of private presses in England. He shared with Yeats a great interest in prints and etched a bookplate for him (illustrated in Pyle, The Different Worlds of Jack B. Yeats, page 46). In the letter Yeats thanks him for the book plates, adding “you must explain the process that gets such fine results to me sometime”. He also requests that Guthrie send him a poem for the next issue of the Broadside, advising “the sort of thing the Broadside wants is the old fashioned ballad … but nothing about that Empire on which the sun refuses to set”. Guthrie evidently complied, for his poem, Of one journeying, appeared in A Broadside no. 5 (October 1908), illustrated by Yeats. He goes on to write “I am sorry your health is a bother to you / your work with acids and all that is I expect not very wholesome. I imagine the impressionist is the only man who has a real chance to be robust”. This is followed by a sketch of an imaginary Impressionist vigorously flinging paint at a large canvas. The letter was sent from the home of Reverend Arnold Harvey, former tutor of Robert Gregory and the Rector at Lissadell; Jack and Cottie Yeats stayed with Harvey at Lissadell in the summer of 1908 (see Bruce Arnold, Jack B. Yeats, page 150).

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BILLY ORPEN DRAWS AT AN EARLY AGE IN DUBLIN, 1924
BILLY ORPEN DRAWS AT AN EARLY AGE IN DUBLIN, 1924
Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 70

Published Estimate: €2,500-3,500

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: pen and ink with wash on paper
  • Medium: signed, inscribed and dated December 1924 lower left
  • Dimensions: 25 by 18cm., 10 by 7in.
  • Provenance: Gift of the artist to Stanley Austin; Thence by descent
  • Original drawing on one of the preliminary pages of Orpen's autobiography Stories of Old Ireland and Myself. This is copy no. 2, signed and numbered by Orpen, of the deluxe “large paper edition”, which was 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 the 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 Walk, Chelsea, he joined the Arts Club in Dover Street in 1920 and there became a friend and confidante of Orpen’s.

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GIRL READING
GIRL READING
Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 71

Published Estimate: €3,500-4,500

Price Realised: €4000

  • Signature: black crayon on paper
  • Medium: atelier stamp lower right
  • Dimensions: 33 by 25cm., 13 by 10in.
  • Provenance: Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Vente O'Conor, 7 February 1956; With Milmo Penny FienArt, Dublin, by circa 1990s; Private collection, Co. Dublin
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THE WAITER, JAMMETS RESTAURANT, DUBLIN
THE WAITER, JAMMETS RESTAURANT, DUBLIN
Sir William Orpen RA RWS RHA (1878-1931)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 72

Published Estimate: €1,500-2,000

Price Realised: €3200

  • Signature: sanguine conté on paper
  • Medium: inscribed by the original owner on reverse
  • Dimensions: 14 by 14cm., 5.5 by 5.5in.
  • Provenance: Collection of the artist's biographer, Bruce Arnold; By whom given to the present owner in 1980
  • Accompanying this lot are two books: Orpen’s Stories of Old Ireland and Myself, Williams and Norgate, London, 1924, trade edition, cloth boards and remains of dust-jacket; and Konody and Dark, Sir William Orpen: Artist and Man, Seeley Service and Co., London, 1932, cloth boards in pictorial dust-jacket.

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CORNER OF THE STUDIO, 1930-31
CORNER OF THE STUDIO, 1930-31
James Sinton Sleator PRHA (1885-1950)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 73

Published Estimate: €30,000-40,000

Price Realised: €34000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: label inscribed by original owner on reverse
  • Dimensions: 61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
  • Provenance: Dr T. G. Wilson, who obtained it from the artist; James Adam Salesrooms, Dublin, 17 June 1992, lot 93; Gorry Gallery, Dublin, October 1992; Private collection
  • Exhibited: RHA, Dublin, 1932, catalogue no. 28 (£84-0-0); ’Exhibition of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Irish Paintings’, Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 30 October - 12 November 1992, catalogue no. 4 (illustrated on front cover of catalogue)
  • In the original frame of Alfred Stiles and Sons, Hammersmith, London. As a student at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin James Sleator was a pupil of Sir William Orpen, but, like many others at the time, Orpen had an overbearing influence on him so that he never reached the heights he might otherwise have done. He is, however, one of the most important figures — Margaret Clarke, Seán Keating, Albert Power, Patrick Tuohy and Leo Whelan, were his contemporaries — on the academic side of Irish painting of the years before the onslaught of American-inspired Modernism in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was, too, with Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, one of the founding members in 1920 of the Society of Dublin Painters. In 1927 Sleator settled in London, where he worked with Orpen while also establishing his own practice as a portrait painter. This picture, Corner of the Studio, therefore, dates from these years. Although Orpen died in 1931, Sleator spent the rest of the decade in London before settling permanently in Dublin in 1941. During the thirties, however, he kept in touch with Ireland and often holidayed at Newcastle, Co. Down, with his friend T. G. Wilson, the first owner of this picture. Orpen’s studio in South Bolton Gardens, London, was in fact the setting for Corner of the Studio. The composition is Dutch in feeling, with a hint of Vermeer and de Hooch, and the theatricality of the lighting—a veritable tour de force — is a typically ‘Sleator’ device. Of a pensive disposition, still life and floral subjects were ideally suited to Sleator’s personality. His ability to differentiate between materials and surface textures — a characteristic of all his work — is clearly evident here and the Impressionist hint of the brushwork betrays his knowledge and understanding, which was keen, of recent French painting. Notwithstanding the otherwise traditional nature of his work, Sleator developed an assurance and a sense of purpose which, with the passing of Modernism, are rare nowadays. Dr S. B. Kennedy, Seaforde, March 2006

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THE HERRING SEASON
THE HERRING SEASON
James Humbert Craig RHA RUA (1877-1944)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 74

Published Estimate: €12,000-15,000

Price Realised: €18000


THE TURF CART, ROUNDSTONE, circa 1940s
THE TURF CART, ROUNDSTONE, circa 1940s
Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1878-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 75

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: €32000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: inscribed with title and original price (£50) on reverse
  • Dimensions: 41 by 61cm., 16 by 24in.
  • Letitia Hamilton, known as May to her family and friends, was born at Hamwood, Co. Meath. Described by Hilary Pyle as a typical ‘horse Protestant’, she enjoyed a privileged start in life: educated at Alexandra College, she was afterwards studied art under Orpen at the Dublin Metropolitan School, partly, no doubt, through the influence of her elder cousin Rose Barton, then an established professional artist. In Belgium she studied with Sir Frank Brangwyn; further study ensued at the Slade in London. She began exhibiting with the WCSI in 1902, showing mostly garden scenes in the manner of Mildred Anne Butler, a family friend. In 1910 she painted in northern France, and is thought to have then encountered the work of the Impressionists. Certainly by 1920, at which time she was a founding member of the Dublin Painters Society, her work reveals an interest in matters of light and shade, and a painterly concern for texture. This was to increase over following years, leading to her mature trademark style of chalky pastel colours applied in thick impasto, as seen in the present work. Her first recorded visit to the West of Ireland was in 1922, when she took a house in Sligo in order to paint. In 1929 she first showed a Connemara landscape at the RHA, but it was not until 1942 that Roundstone began to figure among her painting subjects. In that year she exhibited three Roundstone scenes at the RHA and further works followed every year or two thereafter throughout the forties and fifties. Her final Roundstone subject was exhibited at the RHA the year before her death. Hamilton seems to have delighted in the village’s distinctive harbour front with its impressive backdrop of the Twelve Pins. In the present work the bold touches of red in the Galway women’s skirts and the donkey-drawn turf cart act as visual punctuation, arresting the eye as it sweeps along the arc of the harbour road.

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ARDFERT CATHEDRAL, COUNTY KERRY, circa 1961
ARDFERT CATHEDRAL, COUNTY KERRY, circa 1961
Bea Orpen HRHA (1913-1980)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 76

Published Estimate: €1,200-1,500

Price Realised: €1800

  • Signature: gouache on board
  • Medium: signed lower left; inscribed on reverse
  • Dimensions: 37 by 51cm., 14.5 by 20in.
  • Exhibited: RHA, Dublin, 1961, catalogue no. 127 (£12-12-0)
  • In the original Dawson Gallery frame.

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NEWFOUNDWELL HOUSE, DROGHEDA
NEWFOUNDWELL HOUSE, DROGHEDA
Bea Orpen HRHA (1913-1980)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 77

Published Estimate: €800-1,200

Price Realised: €1700


WARM AFTERNOON, CLOGHERHEAD, 1952
WARM AFTERNOON, CLOGHERHEAD, 1952
Bea Orpen HRHA (1913-1980)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 78

Published Estimate: €800-1,000

Price Realised: €2300

  • Signature: gouache on board
  • Medium: signed and dated lower right; inscribed on reverse
  • Dimensions: 23 by 34cm., 9.25 by 13.2in.
  • Exhibited: WCSI, Dublin, 1953, catalogue no. 119 (£8-8-0)
  • In the original Dawson Gallery frame.

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BOATS BEACHED AT MORNINGTON
BOATS BEACHED AT MORNINGTON
Bea Orpen HRHA (1913-1980)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 79

Published Estimate: €1,000-1,200

Price Realised: €1600


RURAL VILLAGE WITH HIGH CROSS AND CASTLE, POSSIBLY KELLS, COUNTY MEATH
RURAL VILLAGE WITH HIGH CROSS AND CASTLE, POSSIBLY KELLS, COUNTY MEATH
Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1878-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 80

Published Estimate: €12,000-15,000

Price Realised: €14000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed with initials lower left
  • Dimensions: 41 by 51cm., 16 by 20in.
  • Provenance: Frederick gallery, Dublin; Whence purchased by the present owner
  • Exhibited: Frederick gallery, Dublin, December 1997
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THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, 1941
THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, 1941
Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 81

Published Estimate: €80,000-120,000

Price Realised: €78000

  • Signature: oil on board
  • Dimensions: 61 by 86cm., 24 by 34in.
  • Provenance: Purchased directly from the artist by the late owner, a former pupil of Keating's, circa 1955
  • Exhibited: 'Exhibition of Irish Art', organised by Victor Waddington fro the Spring Show, Roayl Dublin Society, 1941, and toured to Cork and Limerick later that year
  • The title of this painting is taken from the eponymous traditional Irish folk song written by Doctor Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830-1883) to commemorate the 1798 rebellion. The song eloquently details the choices to which the narrator was driven over the two great loves of his life; his woman and his country. Keating’s delightfully rendered painting, so evocative of Connemara, is replete with emblematic images of the west of Ireland. This is a living landscape, the presence of human life obvious in every aspect of the view; the sub-divided fields in which a gentle wind shakes the barley, whitewashed thatched cottages, newly planted tiny fir trees and dry stone walls. The painting presents an apparently idealised view of the west of Ireland idyll, which is all the more lively for the presence of the traditionally clad woman and the working man who bends, in an unconventional pose typical of the artist, gathering turf to place in the donkey’s wicker-work creel. Among the fields, the old cottage suggests working domesticity, a vision enhanced by the woman clothed in red-dyed homespun. Thus, beneath the clear skies, humankind’s pantheistic life and labours continue until, as the words of Joyce’s song foretell, all are returned to the very earth from where life is wrought. Yet, the exceptional veracity of Keating’s image is manifest. Set under a low horizon and in a rocky and barren landscape, the vital necessities of life must be gathered in fields carved from the earth and held together by stones laboriously laid over generations. The presence of barley and young fir trees is unusual in Connemara but is indicative of the use to which land had to be put during the Second World War and the Emergency years when food was scarce and good turf was practically unavailable in Irish cities and towns. Seán Keating frequently utilised metaphorical and picturesque titles from literature, music and theatre, the language of which fuelled his creativity. The fact that he chose to return to the historic past and to this particular song in 1941, when Ireland was overtaken by the ‘Emergency’, seems therefore, deeply significant. Manifestly, the title and the intention of Joyce’s words contained meaning and resonance for Keating at a time of great and now, unimaginable, social stultification and upheaval. The song from which Keating borrowed the title was written in the nineteenth century to commemorate the 1798 rebellion and to illustrate the complex human difficulties caused by aggression. Over the course of his life Keating had known many who had experienced those choices to which Joyce’s song refers. He knew the hardship caused for his compatriots and friends during the early years of the formation of the State and later during World War Two. He followed the course of the war in the newspapers, and particularly on the radio. Yet again in his life, he was utterly horrified at the uselessness of what the world was doing. It is not inconceivable to consider, given that Keating chose a title for the painting that is laden with historic meaning, that The Wind that Shakes the Barley is in fact a picturesque comment on the extreme importance of life, the appreciation of which is obvious in the painting, but in actuality was lacking in the world during the war years. Ultimately, the painting, a visual and intellectual conflation of history and modernity, can be understood as an observation on the terrible beauty born from the futility of war. Éimear O’Connor The Humanities Institute of Ireland University College Dublin.

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SEASCAPE
SEASCAPE
Edith Oenone Somerville (1858-1949)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 82

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €2000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed lower right
  • Dimensions: 33 by 51cm., 13 by 20in.
  • Provenance: Warren's Boathouse Gallery, Castletownshend, Co. Cork
  • Probably a view near the artist's home in Castletownsend, West Cork.

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MENAUAN CLIFFS, ACHILL ISLAND
MENAUAN CLIFFS, ACHILL ISLAND
Grace Henry HRHA (1868-1953)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 83

Published Estimate: €4,000-6,000

Price Realised: €4000


THREE ACHILL CHILDREN, c.1929
THREE ACHILL CHILDREN, c.1929
Hilda Roberts HRHA (1901-1982)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 84

Published Estimate: €10,000-12,000

Price Realised: €10000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed lower right
  • Dimensions: 69 by 89cm., 27 by 35in.
  • Exhibited: ’Hilda Roberts HRHA: Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture from early 1920s – 1978’, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, 25 May - 9 June 1979, catalogue no. 1 (as Three Little Girls), illustrated on front cover of catalogue
  • Born into a Dublin Quaker family, Hilda Roberts excelled at art whilst at school and received her first artistic commission at the age of seventeen, when she illustrated the Lorimers’ translation of Persian Tales. In 1919 she enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, where she was taught by Patrick Tuohy. He later introduced Roberts to the New York dealer Helen Hackett, who in 1929 commissioned Roberts to paint what was to become her best known portrait, that of George Russell ‘Æ’, now in the collection of the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The Russell portrait was widely exhibited in America, including at the 1933 World Trade Fair in Chicago. Roberts continued to specialise in portraiture. In 1929 she spent some months on Achill Island, painting portraits of local children. Her first solo show was held later that year at the Dublin Painters Gallery and featured these Achill portraits, exhibited as genre studies under titles such as The White Pinafore and Brigid. This latter work may well be the same Little Brigid, 1929, which is reproduced in the Crawford Gallery’s retrospective catalogue of Robert’s work. That work was certainly a study for the present larger composite work, in which Brigid is flanked by two little girls, presumably her sisters.

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ARAN SEASHORE AND SEAWEED, circa 1935-1941
ARAN SEASHORE AND SEAWEED, circa 1935-1941
Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 85

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €1900


NIGHT, GLENGARRIFF, 1944
NIGHT, GLENGARRIFF, 1944
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 86

Published Estimate: €60,000-80,000

Price Realised: €82000

  • Signature: oil on panel
  • Medium: signed lower left; inscribed in another hand and with the original loan exhibition label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 23 by 36cm., 9.25 by 14.2in.
  • Provenance: Victor Waddington Galleries, Dublin; Through whom sold to David Sears, 1944; Dr Karl Mullen, Dublin; Private collection
  • Exhibited: Jack B. Yeats National Loan Exhibition, National College of Art, Kildare Street, Dublin, June-July 1945, catalogue no. 162
  • Literature: Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings, Andre Deutsche, London, 1992, Vol. II, page 541, catalogue no. 589
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PRESENTATION COPY OF BOOK TO REEVES LEWENTHAL, WITH SKETCH OF A HORSE, 1946
PRESENTATION COPY OF BOOK TO REEVES LEWENTHAL, WITH SKETCH OF A HORSE, 1946
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 87

Published Estimate: €1,500-2,000

Price Realised: €2600

  • Signature: cast bronze art medal; from a limited edition of seventeen
  • Medium: inscribed by Jack B. Yeats to New York art dealer Reeves Lewenthal, Dublin, July 1946, with a thumbnail sketch of a horse on the front of the free endpaper
  • Dimensions: 8 by 0cm., 3 by in.
  • Special edition, limited to 250 copies, of Thomas MacGreevy, Jack B. Yeats: An Appreciation and an Interpretation, Victor Waddington Publications, Dublin, June 1945. In the original papered boards stamped with Yeats’ monogram on upper board, red cloth at spine, and black and white plates at rear. In a slipcase covered with marbled paper. A fine collector’s item.

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AENGUS AND THE BIRDS - THE LADY GREGORY MEDAL FOR THE IRISH ACADEMY OF LETTERS, 1934
AENGUS AND THE BIRDS - THE LADY GREGORY MEDAL FOR THE IRISH ACADEMY OF LETTERS, 1934
Maurice Lambert RA (1901-1964)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 88

Published Estimate: €1,000-1,500

Price Realised: €2100

  • Signature: cast bronze art medal; from a limited edition of seventeen
  • Medium: signed in monogram "ML" lower right; lettered IRISH ACADEMY OF LETTERS on reverse
  • Dimensions: 8 by 8cm., 3 by 3in.
  • Provenance: Commissioned by W. B. Yeats on behalf of the Irish Academy of Letters, February 1934
  • Exhibited: 'Maurice Lambert', Lefevre Gallery, London, May 1934
  • W. B. Yeats commissioned this medal “to be awarded at rare intervals to the best Irish book of the year”1. He sought to raise the necessary funds for the commission whilst on a North American lecture tour in 1933 and by December of that year had been promised £200 for the project, mostly from Judge R. Campbell and Patrick McCartan. After canvassing a number of artists “of international reputation”, he selected the English sculptor Maurice Lambert to carry out the commission; “he is exactly what I wanted and he is still inexpensive”2. Letters between Yeats and Lambert in the National Library of Ireland reveal that Lambert chose the subject Aengus and the Birds, but that Yeats interpreted the image as being symbolic of “Inspiration” and “Genius”. Yeats was very pleased with the final work, deeming it “a beautiful design”. In November 1934 he wrote to tell McCartan: “Lambert has now finished the Academy Medal. (Fifteen medals are in the charge of the Bank of Ireland placed there by the Academy). It is an admirable thing. It is to be presented once every three years, irrespective of age... Owing to the fact that it is cast like the old medals, not struck from a die, no more copies can be made than these 15, and one given to me by the sculptor, and one purchased from the Mint (a great compliment)”3. The award became known as the Lady Gregory Medal. The first three were awarded to George Russell ‘AE’, George Bernard Shaw, and to Yeats himself. With sincere thanks to Dr. Declan Kiely of the Berg Collection, New York Public Library, and to Prof. Roy Foster, Oxford University, for their generous assistance in cataloguing this item. 1 W. B. Yeats to Judge R. Campbell, circa 20 January 1933 (NLI) 2 W. B. Yeats to Patrick McCartan, 16 February 1934 (NLI) 3 W. B. Yeats to Patrick McCartan, 30 November 1934 (NLI)

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TWO GIRLS BEFORE A RING FORT
TWO GIRLS BEFORE A RING FORT
George Russell Æ (1867-1935)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 89

Published Estimate: €10,000-12,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 41 by 53cm., 16 by 21in.
  • Provenance: Gift of the artist to author Frank O'Connor (1903-1966); Gift from Frank O'Connor to Nancy McCarthy Allitt, Co. Cork; By whom bequeathed in 1988 to Frank O'Connor's widow, Harriet O'Donovan Sheehy; Sold privately to the present owner
  • The friendship between Irish writer Frank O’Connor (the pen name of Michael O’Donovan) and George Russell is attested to in O’Connor’s autobiography, My Father’s Son. Accompanying this lot is a letter of provenance from O’Connor’s widow, Harriet O’Donovan Sheehy.

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A GENTLEMAN ASLEEP OVER HIS NEWSPAPER
A GENTLEMAN ASLEEP OVER HIS NEWSPAPER
Samuel McCloy (1831-1904)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 90

Published Estimate: €2,500-3,500

Price Realised: €3400


PORTRAIT OF A LADY WITH GREEN DROP EARRINGS, 1931
PORTRAIT OF A LADY WITH GREEN DROP EARRINGS, 1931
Frank McKelvey RHA RUA (1895-1974)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 91

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: €3000


CONSTANCE GLADYS GRIMSHAW (MRS C. ALEXANDER)
CONSTANCE GLADYS GRIMSHAW (MRS C. ALEXANDER)
Sarah Henrietta Purser HRHA (1848-1943)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 92

Published Estimate: €20,000-30,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: inscribed on reverse beneath lining
  • Dimensions: 102 by 76cm., 40 by 30in.
  • Provenance: By descent from the sitter to Hilda Alexander (Mrs J. W. Griffith); Auction,, 1985, catalogue no. 380; Milmo-Penny Fine Art Dublin, Dublin, by June 1990; Thomas P. Adams, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, by February 1991; Private collection
  • Exhibited: 'Exhibition of Irish Art', Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dublin, 21-27 June 1990, catalogue no. 5 (illustrated page 8 of catalogue)
  • Literature: John O'Grady, The Life and Work of Sarah Purser, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1996, page 250, catalogue no. 404
  • Constance Gladys Grimshaw was the daughter of Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw CB MD. In 1906 she married Col. Conn Alexander, the third son of the Earl of Caledon, of Castle Caledon, Co. Tyrone. O'Grady suggests this portrait may have been painted to commemorate the occasion of her marriage.

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SETTING OUT and SORTING THE CATCH (A PAIR)
SETTING OUT and SORTING THE CATCH (A PAIR)
Eugene J. McSwiney (1866-1936)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 93

Published Estimate: €3,000-4,000

Price Realised: €4800

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed lower left and lower right respectively; contemporary inscribed labels on reverse
  • Dimensions: 30 by 41cm., 12 by 16in.
  • Born and educated in Cork, McSwiney studied at the Cork School of Art receiving numerous awards including the Mayor’s Prize in 1886. He also studied for a period at the Royal College of Art, London. At the age of seventeen he exhibited at the Cork Industrial Exhibition, showing there again in 1902. He exhibited four works at the RA and nearly ten times this number at the RHA. In 1913 he was represented by two works at the Whitechapel Exhibition of Irish Art; others appeared occasionally at the Munster Fine Art Club. Publicly he is now represented in the collections of the Crawford Gallery and the Kinsale Museum, Co. Cork. (See Snoddy, page 402).

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FISHING BOATS IN A HARBOUR, 1904
FISHING BOATS IN A HARBOUR, 1904
Alice S. Kinkead (1871-1926)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 94

Published Estimate: €1,800-2,200

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed and dated lower left
  • Dimensions: 56 by 69cm., 22 by 27in.
  • Alice Sarah Kinkead was born in Tuam, Co. Galway, the daughter of a medical professor at Queen’s College, Galway. In 1895 she first appeared among the list of members of the Belfast Art Society, and within two years she had begun sending exhibits to the RHA and the Salon de la Nationale in Paris. By 1898 she had taken a studio in London, from where she evidently made painting excursions to the Continent - a Breton subject was shown that year at Liverpool’s Walker Gallery. However Irish connections were maintained: she held sketching classes in Newcastle and Portrush in 1899, and participated in the 1904 Guildhall Exhibition of Irish Art, where she showed a portrait of W. B. Yeats. The present work, painted in 1904, is possibly a view of Naples, where she had visited the previous year. (See Snoddy, pages 324-5).

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MAN IN GRECIAN COSTUME HOLDING A SILVER CHALICE
MAN IN GRECIAN COSTUME HOLDING A SILVER CHALICE
Nathaniel Hill RHA (1860-1930)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 95

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: 


VIEW OF THE WEST CONVENT, ON THE CLADDAGH, GALWAY, 1844
VIEW OF THE WEST CONVENT, ON THE CLADDAGH, GALWAY, 1844
George Sharpe RHA (1802-1877)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 96

Published Estimate: €200,000-300,000

Price Realised: €200000

  • Signature: oil on canvas
  • Medium: signed and dated lower right
  • Dimensions: 83 by 159cm., 32.7 by 62.7in.
  • Provenance: RHA, Dublin, 1844;whence Whence purchased by Sir Charles Coote (1794-1864), ninth Baronet, Ballyfin House, Co. Laois; Sold with the contents of Ballyfin House to the Patrician Brothers, 1920s; Property of the Patrician Brothers College; Sold as an unidentified painting, Ballyfin House contents sale, public auction conducted by Patrick O’Farrell, Portlaoise, 5 October 2002; Private collection
  • Exhibited: RHA, Dublin, 1844, catalogue no. 281
  • View of the West Convent, on the Claddagh, Galway, 1844, has a pleasing freshness; it is painted in bright colours, with sunlit clouds and blue sky. At first sight it could almost be a Continental scene in the manner of David Cox, with Dutch or Italian fishermen wearing broad-rimmed round hats, waistcoats and white shirts, resting, and an air of relaxation, rather than industry or poverty. There are small groups of different figures: on the left mariners are relaxing, chatting to one another. Beside them are a seated woman and child. In the foreground is a large pile of fish, probably herring. In the middle distance are the figures of other men and women, some seated, some standing or walking, and moored boats. What is striking is the fact that there is a lack of unifying clothing; each person wears different costumes. This may have been to convey the different ethnic groups of Galway people: Claddagh fishermen, market women, town people, artisans, or mariners from Spain; or perhaps artistic licence on the part of the artist. But the line of tumbledown thatched cottages with smoking chimneys to the right is distinctly Irish. Directly in front of these is a narrow dock. The beach stretches in the distance, and behind a wall can be glimpsed the thatched roofs of the village. As the painting is signed and dated 1844 by Sharpe it can thus be identified as the picture entitled View of the West Convent, on the Cladagh [sic], Galway, which he exhibited at the RHA that year. Sharpe had exhibited another picture entitled Claddagh Fishermen opening Mussels for Bait the previous year, and his Claddagh Fishermen, Galway was the Royal Irish Art Union Prize picture for 1843. So the present canvas and its companions are products of one or two visits which he made to Galway between circa 1842-44, perhaps making studies in situ, and completing the canvases in his studio in Dublin prior to exhibition. From the late 1830s there had been a small community of artists working in the Claddagh.9 William Evans painted in Galway in 1836. Samuel Lover had painted Women of the Claddagh of Galway, selling fish in 1839, and Frederick William Burton’s An Aran Fisherman’s Drowned Child was set in the Claddagh. These pictures had been exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1839 and 1841 respectively. Three English artists, Frederick Goodall, Francis W. Topham and Alfred Fripp, were painting in the Claddagh in 1844, the year that Sharpe’s picture was exhibited. Other artists including Erskine Nicol, Washington George Brownlow and Walter Osborne, worked in the Claddagh in subsequent years, as did a number of British illustrators, John Leech among them (see fig. 1). The Claddagh was an old fishing village of thatched cottages beside Galway harbour. It was separated from the walled town by the mouth of the River Corrib, and across the river was the market square where the women sold the fish. There had been a fishing settlement there since the fifth century.10 By the early nineteenth century there were about five hundred families there, the majority of them involved in the herring fishing industry. They were a distinct Irish-speaking community. Julius Rodenberg, who travelled through Ireland in the late 1850s, published a vivid description in 1860: ”The men of the Claddagh go out to sea to fish, and lounge about, the ‘lazzaroni’ of the West … when they have returned from fishing. These cabin aristocrats do not trouble themselves with trade. The rotting boat, the crumbling cabin are their abode … [but] there are no braver men on the sea than the Claddagh fishers, when they set sail with their priestly blessing and consecrated salt and ashes aboard”.11 The painting does not yet display the realism of his later works. There is a certain naivety evident in the grouping of some of the figures. The figures on the left are reminiscent of some of Lover’s West of Ireland scenes, for example, The Kelp Gatherers, 1835. Sharpe may have taken a certain amount of artistic licence, placing different elements of the scene; the activity on the beach, the line of cottages, the church, and the white-washed house, close together. There is attractive detail in the figures standing in the doorways of the cottages, and smoke rising from the chimneys. The ‘modern’ two-storeyed house is typical of Galway, and similar to those in the nearby fish market square. The sky, with its darkening cloud to the right, is painted with great skill. The ecclesiastical building, with its straight, slate roof and distinctive bell-tower, is a convent of the Dominican order. There had been a church on this site since the 13th century, and a friary was built by the Dominicans in 1488. It became a priory in 1612. It became known as ‘St. Mary’s on this hill’.12 After a period of troubled history and destruction a new slated church was built close to the beach in 1800, as can be seen in Sharpe’s picture. This was replaced by a modern Dominican church, constructed in 1891. The old church with its bell tower can be seen in at least one contemporary illustration of the Claddagh (see fig. 2). The canvas is signed and dated, lower right, ‘G. Sharpe, 1844’. Another signature of the artist, written in capital letters, has been discovered beneath the slip of the frame, at the lower edge of the canvas. The gilded frame is of interest and antiquity, dating from c.1620-40, ie. two centuries older than Sharpe’s painting. The rediscovery of Sharpe’s painting is of significance for social and historical reasons: it is one of the very first oil paintings of the Claddagh. It shows a scene of tranquil West of Ireland life in the mid-nineteenth century, painted in 1844, the year before the Famine brought such devastation upon County Galway. It shows Sharpe’s interest in rural West of Ireland life. In the context of Sharpe’s career it is the earliest painting and the largest canvas by him presently known. For an artist more associated with studies of single figures, it includes many figures in the foreground and background. Finally, it is the only painting by Sharpe to come on the market in recent years. Julian Campbell, Crawford College of Art, Cork

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY AND A GENTLEMAN, 1840, (A PAIR)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY AND A GENTLEMAN, 1840, (A PAIR)
Thomas Cooley ARHA (1795-1872)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 97

Published Estimate: €1,500-2,000

Price Realised: €1500

  • Signature: watercolour and bodycolour (a pair in matching gilt frames)
  • Medium: each signed with initials and dated lower left
  • Dimensions: 58 by 43cm., 23 by 17in.
  • Born in Dublin, Cooley showed precocious artistic talent, despite having been born deaf and mute. His studies of antique casts, made in London before he had turned fifteen, were donated to the RDS Drawing Schools as examples for other students to copy. He began exhibiting at the RA in 1813, and the following year returned to Dublin to exhibit twenty portraits at the Hibernian Society in Hawkins Street. In 1826 he was elected an Associate of the RHA and two years later appointed Portrait Painter to the Lord Lieutenant, the Marquess of Anglesey. In all he showed fifty-two works at the RA and sixty at the RHA. (See Strickland, Volume 1, pages 205-207). The view from the window in the gentleman’s portrait is thought to be Blackrock castle, Cork.

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YOUNG WOMAN AND TWO CHILDREN ON A COUNTRY LANE, WITH HEDGEROW AND STILE BEYOND
YOUNG WOMAN AND TWO CHILDREN ON A COUNTRY LANE, WITH HEDGEROW AND STILE BEYOND
Samuel McCloy (1831-1904)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 98

Published Estimate: €6,000-8,000

Price Realised: 


FINGAL'S CAVE, STAFFA, HEBRIDES
FINGAL'S CAVE, STAFFA, HEBRIDES
Andrew Nicholl RHA (1804-1886)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 99

Published Estimate: €5,000-7,000

Price Realised: €5000

  • Signature: watercolour and pen and ink and sgraffito
  • Medium: signed lower right; exhibition label on reverse
  • Dimensions: 58 by 43cm., 23 by 16.7in.
  • Provenance: Bell Gallery, Belfast; Whence purchased by George McClelland; Private collection, Dublin
  • Exhibited: Bell Gallery, Belfast, 1963, catalogue no. 25
  • In a John Magee Gallery frame. A similar view is in the collection of the Ulster Museum, Belfast

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CLASSICAL PILLAR, ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, circa 1846-1850
CLASSICAL PILLAR, ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, circa 1846-1850
Andrew Nicholl RHA (1804-1886)

Auction Date / Lot No.: 25 April 2006 / 100

Published Estimate: €2,000-3,000

Price Realised: 

  • Signature: watercolour over pencil with white highlights and sgraffito
  • Medium: signed lower left
  • Dimensions: 36 by 51cm., 14 by 20in.
  • Exhibited: Almost certainly exhibited at the Irish exhibition of Arts and Manufacturers, Dublin, 1882, as Pompey's Pillar, Egypt, catalogue no. 1581, lent by E. B. Roche
  • In August 1846 Nicholl sailed to Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) to take up a position as art master at the government school there. On the journey out he travelled across northern Egypt via Alexandria, sending a view of Mount Sinai to the RHA the following year. This work was painted either on the outwards or return journey, circa 1850. It is interesting to see the foreshadowing of his later series of views with banks of flowers in the foreground; here the vista of Alexandria is dominated by the giant monument in the foreground.

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