A pair of Irish George III commodes
A pair of Irish George III harewood, sycamore, holly and marquetry demi-lune commodes. Attributed to William Moore of Dublin, circa 1780. 32 1/4 in. (82 cm.) high; 37 1/2 in. (95 cm.) wide; 18 in. (46 cm.) deep; Estimate: £150,000–250,000. To be offered in the London sale of The English Collector on 19 November.
Peter Horwood, Head of Department, English Furniture, Decorative Arts: These exceptional commodes are attributed to William Moore of Dublin. Moore was apprenticed to the pre-eminent London cabinet-makers and marqueteurs Messrs. Mayhew & Ince, before establishing his own workshop on Abbey Street, Dublin around 1782. His work shows stylistic similarities to that of his former masters and the commodes illustrated here feature a full repertoire of neo classical decoration, including urns, shaded paterae and flower and husk swags, executed to dramatic effect in contrasting and exotic veneers. The decoration relates closely to that on a commode supplied in 1782 by Moore to the 3rd Duke of Portland, notably the frieze which displays ribbon-tied swags and anthemion (honeysuckle).
A number of other pieces of distinctive demi-lune form with closely related decoration are known and while the early provenance of these commodes is not apparent, the presence of a partial label for ‘Strahan & Co, Kingsbridge, Dublin’, attests to a history in Ireland.
Jack Butler Yeats
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871–1957), The Boat Builder, 1913. Oil on panel; 14 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm.); Painted in 1913. Estimate: £300,000–500,000. To be offered in the London sale of Modern British & Irish Art on 25 November. © Estate of Jack B Yeats. All rights reserved, DACS 2015
Bernard Williams, International Director of Irish Art: In 1905 Yeats toured the poorest districts of the Gaelic-speaking West of Ireland providing illustrations for John Millington Synge’s articles for the Manchester Guardian. This was an area ravaged by the potato famine and emigration but he and Synge found a hard working elderly population living off the poor land and dangerous Atlantic Ocean. Yeats and Synge bonded and the artist went on to illustrate the writer’s book The Aran Islands and in 1907 he also designed the costumes and set for his most famous work The Playboy of the Western World.
The Boat Builder relates to Yeat’s illustration Boat-building at Carna used in a later publication by Synge In Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara which included all the Guardian articles but not published until after the writer’s death in 1911. Around this time the artist switched from watercolour to oil and recorded many of the representative professions in contemporary rural Ireland. He called on his earlier sketch books and in 1913 he was commissioned to paint 12 illustrations in oil for Canon J.O.Hannay alias George A Birmingham’s book Irishmen All. The Boat Builder which follows these illustrations in the artist’s studio book continues the theme of a local character standing beside a clinker built fishing boat, another at sail in the bay beyond. His boat shed door lies open in the distance splatted with lines of boat paint where he has cleaned his brushes.
Sir John Lavery
Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856–1941), The Maid was in the Garden Hanging out the Clothes, 1883. Oil on canvas; 29 x 15 in. (73.2 x 38.2 cm.); Painted in 1883. Estimate: £300,000–500,000. To be offered in the London sale of Modern British & Irish Art on 25 November.
Bernard Williams, International Director of Irish Art: Sir John Lavery was born in Belfast in 1856, the son of a publican, Henry Lavery, in the catholic enclave of North Queen Street. After a few years, his father’s business failed and he booked a passage to New York hoping for better times. He got as far as the coast of Wexford when the clipper he had boarded in Liverpool, foundered and 386 lives were lost including Lavery’s father’s. Within three months of this tragedy John’s mother also died and he was sent to live with his aunt in County Down and later to another relation who ran a pawn shop in Saltcoats in Ayrshire. From here he migrated to Glasgow where he attended art school before moving on to London and then Paris.
In 1883 he settled in Grez-sur-Loing where he painted his well known The Bridge at Grez. (sold at Christie’s in 1997 and still the world record auction price for any work by Lavery). During this same year he produced Ye maid was in the Garden hanging out the clothes using the same local model as La Laveuse (The Laundress) which depicts the maid carrying the heavy laundry basket down some steps heading towards the drying green. Lavery went on to become a much renowned artist in Glasgow (he was commissioned to paint the various pavilions at the International Exhibition in Glasgow in 1888) and later as a War Artist in France, but it was during the 1880’s that he settled on a style that made him easily recognised throughout Europe and then America right up until his death in Ireland in 1941.
A George I Irish silver cup
A George I Irish silver cup, mark of John Cuthbert Junior, Dublin, 1715; 8 in. (20 cm.) high; 31 oz. 8 dwt. (978 gr.); Estimate: £3,000–5,000. To be offered in Centuries of Style — Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes on 1-2 December.
Kate Flitcroft, Silver Specialist, Decorative Arts: This cup is a representative example of the early 18th century silver cups produced in Ireland. The tapered sides and moulded foot are in-keeping with the Queen Anne and George I style in England, however, the slightly over-size harp-shaped handles make it distinctively Irish.
The quirky aspects of design are treasured characteristics of Irish decorative arts and silver. Irish silversmiths certainly understood and followed the trends and fashions of the day, then interpreted the designs in their own way. The best quality Irish silver is typically heavy in gauge and as a result, is satisfying to hold.
William Ashford, P.R.H.A. (1746–1824), A view of a rustic bridge at Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Signed and dated ‘W.Ashford. 180[?]1’ (lower centre, later changed to read ‘1821’ (lower centre); oil on canvas; 39 1/2 x 49 5/8 in. (100.5 x 126 cm.); Estimate: £100,000–150,000. To be offered in the London sale of Old Master & British Paintings on 8 December.
Nicholas White, Senior Director, Old Masters: This picture is one of a series of five views of Charleville, in County Offaly, which was commissioned from William Ashford by Charles Bury, Viscount Charleville (later 1st Earl of Charleville), in 1801, the year that he was elected an Irish Representative Peer.
Charleville Castle, sometimes known as Charleville Forest for its ancient oak woods, was the fantastical creation of Charles William Bury, 1st Earl of Charleville (1765–1835) who inherited the property in 1785. An amiable dilettante with antiquarian and architectural interests, he had done the Grand Tour to Italy and sought plans from the Romano-Scottish virtuoso James Byers for a huge Palladian house. However, Lord Tullamore, as he then was, changed his mind and sketched out gothic schemes for a dramatic asymmetrical castle with interiors in the spirit of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill. Lady Louisa Conolly wrote to his wife on 8 November 1800: ‘I am very glad to hear that you have begun your castle for I think there are few occupations more entertaining than building and Lord Tullamore will enjoy it much having planned it all himself’. The great Irish architect Francis Johnston put these plans into practice and Charleville is certainly the finest gothic castle of its date in Ireland. The interior with its Fonthill-like hall, vast fan-vaulted gallery, stables with coroneted stalls and the surrounding woods and river made Charleville a most picturesque property. Sir Charles Coote was full of praise for Charleville writing that its fifteen hundred acres ‘are delightfully wooded with fine full-grown timber’ and that: ‘the river Clodiagh runs with rapidity through the demesne, which is well supplied with several mountain streams, and with several rustic bridges, which with cascades have altogether the most charming effect.’
Ashford, who was a self-taught artist, received commissions for his landscapes from many of the most prominent landowning families in Ireland, including the Duke of Leinster and Earl FitzWilliam, and was elevated to the post of first President of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1823. He exhibited his series of views of Charleville at the Society of Artists in Dublin in 1801. An anonymous critic who singled them out at that exhibition commented: ‘There is here an abundant scope for an exertion of the artist’s genius in the delineation of foliage. The articulation is perfect and the colouring so beautifully rich, and various, that I could with pleasure have spent hours in viewing them’.