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Irish Vernacular Auction featuring original furnishings from 'The Banshees of Inisherin'

March 24, 2023

Irish vernacular furniture began emerging out of the rural Irish home in the eighteenth century. Each piece was simple and functional in form, yet unique in design. Making use of materials that were affordable and available to the everyday Irish person, it was a non-specialised craft, accessible to those without formal training such as local craftsmen who used traditional techniques and locally sourced materials, including old furniture, and ‘found’ timbers like bogwood or driftwood; it was upcycling in its earliest form, and serves as a reminder of the importance of craftsmanship in Irish culture.

Featuring eighteen lots from the set of nine-time Oscar nominated movie ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ our Irish Vernacular Auction takes place on Wednesday 12th April at 11am, with viewings as follows:

Friday 7th April: 10am – 5pm
Saturday 8th April: 2pm – 5pm
Tuesday 11th April: 10am – 5pm

Whether you are coming to view in the salesroom in Adam’s or through the virtual tour on our website, here is a selection of lots to keep an eye on:

Estimated at €5,000 - €7,000, Lot 10 is a rare early 18thcentury Irish Penal Cross carved in yewwood. Penal Crosses were simple devotional relics, featuring a carved relief of Christ at its centre, with various symbols representing the Passion of Christ around his figure. The Penal Cross serves as an important historical and cultural artefact, a reminder of the devotion of Irish Catholics to their faith, even as they faced great persecution under the Penal Laws.

Lot 194 is a 19th century painted pine marriage dresser, with a moulded cornice above a frieze pierced with interlocking hearts, and is estimated at €1,200 - €1,800. This dresser was one of the original furnishings from the set of the Oscar nominated movie ‘The Banshees of Inisherin.’ Bog pine was a material commonly used in Irish vernacular furniture, preserved in the bog lands even after much of Ireland’s native woodland had disappeared. The use of local material and rustic design show the true character of Irish craft heritage.

James Dixon’s ‘Giant Muldoon at the West End Village, Tory Island’ (Lot 91), estimated at €6,000-€8,000, depicts Irish rural life through a flattened perspective and crowded composition. His expressive use of colour evokes a childlike perception of his surroundings, adhering to the cosmopolitan understanding of rural life as simple and uncomplicated.

Featuring vernacular furniture, Irish silver, paintings of rural Irish life and more, this auction caters to anyone who might be looking to collect a piece of Irish history.

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Niamh Corcoran
Fine Art Department

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