Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The top seller at the Bonhams/Brooks sale was Bone’s enamel of Nelson which made £38,000 (plus 15 per cent premium) but as the enamel offered at James Adam was of a less famous figure, no such sum was expected in Dublin.

That said, the enamel on copper portrait of Miss De Visme was an attractive subject in itself and was well provenanced, having passed by descent to the Dublin vendor. Bone, who was appointed enamel painter to the Prince of Wales in 1801, was a prolific painter and Miss De Visme was an example of his practice of copying from large oil portraits by other artists – in this case Sir William Beechey RA (1753-1839).

Inscribed on the backing paper and set in a black passe-partout frame, the miniature was described by auctioneer Stuart Cole as a “first class thing”. It had previously been exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1796 and took a double-estimate IR£6200 (£4770) from an Irish collector underbid by the English trade.

Mr Cole explained the failure of a number of highly estimated pieces of furniture as due to the extreme winter weather keeping potential buyers away from the saleroom. This may well be the only explanation for the buying-in of a fine Victorian burr walnut and ebonised rectangular foldover card table bearing the stamp of the currently in-vogue Gillows.

Other disappointments included an Edwardian painted satinwood serpentine front cabinet painted with a vignette of lovers in a garden landscape. Estimated at IR£6000-10,000, the cabinet failed to get away in the room yet was taken after the sale for the bottom estimate (£4615). However the bulk of pieces did manage to find buyers with the majority above estimate.

The top seller was a Regency inlaid mahogany cabinet which more than doubled its top estimate. The 5ft 8in (1.72m) wide cabinet was decorated to its frieze with applied cast brass anthemions, rosewood banding and brass stringing. It had twin cupboard doors flanked by twined gilt spiral turned columns all on raised gilt turned feet and was of “excellent” quality and in “excellent” condition.

And it was these two attributes which saw the successful trade bidder “go that extra mile” by tendering IR£12,500 (£9615).

Mr Cole claimed to have never seen anything before in his career quite like an unusual Edwardian painted satinwood circular chest. Hand painted with swags, flowers, musical instruments and a vignette of lovers in a garden landscape, the chest, at 2ft 2in by 2ft 10in (66 x 88cm) was fitted with two drawers and ring handles on a raised platform base.

In good condition, the chest fell to an Irish private buyer who saw off the trade with a winning bid of IR£5400 (£4155).

Exchange rate: £1 = IR£1.30
James Adam, Dublin,
February 28
Number of lots: 390
Number of lots sold: 304
Sale total: £350,000
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent