VIEWING BEGINS this morning at the RDS in Ballsbridge for Whyte’s first art auction of 2012 which offers a mix of Irish and British art. A painting titled On the Courthouse Steps by Jack B Yeats is the top lot with an estimate of €90,000-€120,000. The oil-on-canvas dated 1946 – when the artist was aged 75 – shows a tramp lying on the steps of the courthouse at Naas, Co Kildare.
The unedifying scene also features a “strutting cockerel” which auctioneer Ian Whyte said could be “a humorous allusion to the self-importance of the legal establishment”.The subject may attract the proverbial deep pockets of that profession. The picture last changed hands at Christie’s Irish Sale in London six years ago when it sold for £120,000 (€143,000).
The highlight among the British lots is Lovers in a Garden by Charles Edward Perugini which comes from a private collection in Westport, Co Mayo. Work by this Victorian artist – who was married to Kate, youngest daughter of Charles Dickens – is rarely seen in Ireland and has never previously appeared at auction here. Whyte believes this “exquisitely painted image of lovers seated on a stone bench framed by roses and foliage is sure to enchant bidders”. The estimate is €50,000-€70,000.
A selection of delightful watercolours by English artist Henry George Gandy (1879-1950) depicts colonial-era Asia during the 1920s when he was serving with the Royal Engineers in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The 16 pictures will be auctioned individually with estimates from only €300 and are likely to have very wide appeal – especially to anyone with a family connection to, or interest in, the British Empire before the sun set.
Many of Gandy’s images – of old Peking, Hong Kong, Burma and Ceylon – were reproduced in books and on postcards and have evocative titles including Temple of the Tooth, Kandy; Burmese Rice Boat on River Irawaddy and A Junk in Hong Kong Harbour. These could prove to be excellent investments.
Viewing of the 270 lots continues until the auction at 6pm on Monday in the Clyde Hall, RDS, Dublin.