A growing interest from collectors on the Emerald Isle has lifted prices in the field, especially for middle-market pieces priced in the low five-figure region.
Mayo-based sculptor Rory Breslin (b.1963) is a relatively new name to watch on the secondary market. His series of River God bronzes based on Edward Smyth’s monumental keystones on Dublin’s famous Customs House are proving popular sellers at auction.
In May, Dublin auction house Whyte’s sold a River Blackwater god mask from an edition of three for €11,500 (£10,900). Fast-forward five months to October 1 and the auctioneers had sourced another “larger than life-size” anthropomorphic depiction of the River Suir, also made in an edition of three.
With a flowing ‘spun wool’ beard and weaving bobbins on his head symbolising the cotton trade in the riverside town of Carrick-on-Suir, the 2ft 11in x 16in (89 x 41cm) bronze sold for €24,000 (£21,428), over three times the guide.
Northern Irish sculptor FE McWilliam (1909-92) is a more established name on the secondary market who is appearing on a growing number of buyer wish lists. A week earlier on September 26, Adam’s offered a harrowing work from McWilliam’s Women of Belfast series exhibited in Dublin in 1973.
His inspiration for the piece came from images circulating in the media following the bombing of the Abercorn Restaurant and Bar in Belfast where two women were killed in March 1972. The 12½in (32cm) high bronze figure of a woman caught mid-fall bracing herself against the blast sold towards its upper guide for €28,000 (£25,000).