Brush with success as renewed interest in art sees prices rise

ONE of the most interesting art collections put together by a Northern Ireland auction house will go under the hammer on the 23 September in Ballymoney.

McAfee Auctions will sell approximately 200 works at their Ballymoney sale room featuring names like Maurice C Wilks, Charles McAuley, George Gillespie, J W Carey, J H Craig, Tom Quinn and Markey Robinson.

Commenting on the sale, the auctioneer, Gerry McAfee, said: "We have noticed at our last few art auctions that there is a renewed confidence in art. People have started buying again we believe because they are realising the potential investment value.

"Coupled with the fact that art can be displayed in one's home to be enjoyed by friends and family and the continuing rising prices it seems the smart way to invest at the minute."

The sale includes well known and respected Northern Ireland artists famed for their renderings of pastoral scenes depicting traditional Northern Ireland life but one painting sticks out from every other.

Gerry said: "There is a painting of the late, great Motorcycle star Joey Dunlop doing what he did best racing on his bike. It's a striking watercolour painted by Barry Cousins which fans will love.

"We have a superb oil painting by Maurice C Wilks entitled, 'Cottages and Chickens', showing chickens feeding outside a barn door in a traditional farmyard setting. The love the artist had for such scenes and his skill with a brush are on full view in this stunning painting.

"The oil measures 20" x 24" and is a particularly fine example of Wilks work and the estimate is in the region of 5,500 - 6,500.

"Another fine oil by Charles McAuley, 'Bringing Home the Turf' measuring 20" x 16" pictures men carrying home the turf in old straw baskets and is estimated at 4000 - 4500"

Other artists featured in the sale include Robert Milliken, Roy Gaston, Des Murrie, G W Morrison, R Cresswell Boak, R Faulkner, Frank Egginton, Max Maccabe, Bobbie Anderson, Sam McLarnon, Carrie O'Duinn, Olive Henry, Susan Webb, R B Higgins and many more.

"Worthy of particular mention are two lots of Victorian English art, one a large oil measuring 24" x 36" of 'Highland Cattle' by R H Hall a well know English artist famous for painting cattle and landscape scenes.

"There are also some superb examples of J P Rooney's work which continues to grow in popularity. One in particular entitled, 'Cutting the Corn' is a wonderful scene of traditional Irish life featuring four women and a young girl busily working.", said Gerry.

The sale takes place in McAfee Auctions, Ballymoney Sale Rooms on Thursday 23rd September at 7.30pm.

Viewing starts on Tuesday 23 September from 7.00 - 8.30pm and continues on Wednesday 22nd September from 3.00pm - 5.00pm and 7.00pm - 8.30pm and on the day of sale from 4.00pm.

For further details or to view the catalogue of sale online log onto or call the auction house direct on 028 276 67669.