An Auctioneer's Lot
by Damien MatthewsEntries Posted Weekly on Fridays
Christies & Sotheby, the acknowledged big boys of my business – even stating this seems the waste of words – tend to get first pick of the crop. Everyone else, myself included, gets the leftovers. Occasionally treasures fall through the cracks, that’s the great thing. One never knows what’ll turn up, or when. But having [...]
Not surprisingly, sad news reaches me from Egypt, a country I again visited with some well informed older historian friends. Just tagged along, feeding off the knowledge and helping make up the numbers at the dinner table. An immensely enjoyable trip. The man who actually owns the whole of Howth was with us. Honestly, the [...]
Attended a private preview of Deirdre Kinahan’s new play Wild Sky at the house of a friend last Friday. A powerful piece exploring the extraordinary energy and complexity of events in the lead up to the 1916 Easter Rising, it was not in any way twee. Outstanding performances from the three young players – and [...]
Knowing the blogs were neglected for the past few months I made a new year’s resolution, one a week, hell or high water. It’s February 19th, 2016 and still not a child washed. Truth is, we’ve been exceptionally busy; general valuations, probate valuations, dealing with executors, the lining up of auctions, all supply a fair [...]
Took time during the summer to visit Haywood Gardens in County Laois. Once part of the Haywood Estate (the main house unfortunately gutted with flame in 1950) they are now, given their importance, relatively forgotten. A disappointment, part is a rare surviving Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869 – 1944) commission. Sadly only a portion of this [...]
Recently we conducted a house clearance auction in Donegal. Lovely people. Thought I’d treat it as a busman’s holiday and spend the week relaxing amongst scenery I rarely visit. Of course it didn’t work out that way but I did take time to visit Glebe House, the home of Derek Hill. A now deceased portrait [...]
Hidden Ireland, a select listing of superior accommodations, is a fine resource for a man of my occupation – someone whose regularly traverses the country on valuations, but who also wishes to keep the comforts of home. Pleasant interiors in historic Irish houses allow restful sleep while their hearty breakfasts set up the day [...]
It’s definitely creeping back in. Over the past six years all was death. The phone goes, executor on the line, old Aunty Maura recently marched off the human coil needs her house cleared. Now though, mostly due to the upturn, separations & divorces are making headways again.
In the tough times of the recent past [...]
One summer as a child I worked in an abattoir, herding nervous sliding beasts one at a time to the grip. Clean shot, a bolt, the chain rattled across the ceiling, and surprisingly – given the weight, hoisted away like butterflies. Vroom, Vroom, the chain sawed, now they really were butterflies. Destined for our tables.
I’m very, very careful about what we accept for sale. Have to, antiques, art, jewellery and all the rest don’t come with logbooks or owner’s certs. Every day judgements have to be made, not just of value but sometimes character. It’s rare enough that I’d turn something down because of a personality type – selling [...]