This month, Christie’s presented a small sale (30 works) featuring sporting and Irish art from the collection of B.J. Eastwood. Eastwood, who passes away last year, acquired most of the works decades ago. This was a perfect storm; a collection of great quality works, in good condition, that were were fresh-to-the-market… something I have always said is essential for a successful event. (All prices include the buyer’s premium)
Taking the top spot was Sir Alfred Munning’s The Vagabonds. This large work (50 x 80 inches) carried a £700k-1M estimate and sold for £1.94M/$2.68M. Eastwood acquired the painting in 1990 for £187K/$307K, so I am sure his estate was pleased – but that is just the beginning. Sir Munnings also captured the second and third spots when The Coming Storm (est. £600-800K) and John J. Moubray, Master of Foxhounds, dismounted with his wife and two mounted figures with the Bedale hounds in a landscape (est. £400-600K) each made £1.2M/$1.6M. He purchased The Coming Storm in 1989 for £352K/$558K, and the other was bought in 1986 (I am still trying to determine the purchase price). Rounding out the top five were two Irish works; Jack Butler Yeats’ A Summer Day (est. £500-800K), and a beautiful works by Sir John Lavery, The Terrace, Cap d’Ail (est. £400-600K); each brought £1.16M/$1.6M.
There were other strong results, among them were John Fergus O’Hea’s Punchestown Races, 1868 at £695K/$960K (est. £100-150K), Paul Henry’s Mountains and Lake, Connemara at £623K/$860K (est. £120-180K – it was purchased in 1990 for £64K/$103K), Munnings’ Point-to-Point – £413K/$570K (est. £30-50K), William Orpen’s Portrait of Lady Evelyn Herbert – £313K/$432K (est. £80-120K), and James Pollard’s The London-Edinburgh Royal Mail coach setting a brisk pace on a summer day – £106K/$147K (est. £25-35K).
By the end of the sale, 28 of the 30 works found buyers, giving them a sell-through rate of over 93% (excellent). Their presale estimate range was £6.55-9.84M, and the total take was £14.2M – this result shows you what a sale of excellent quality, fresh-to-the-market works can do!