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Christie's Announces The B.J. Eastwood Collection: Important Sporting and Irish Pictures

June 29, 2021

Christie’s announces the sale of The B.J. Eastwood Collection: Important Sporting and Irish Pictures, taking place live on 9 July 2021 at Christie’s London, during the marquee series of sales comprising Classic Week (18 June–15 July). The B.J. Eastwood Collection sale, which comprises 30 lots, represents B.J. Eastwood’s deep interest in equestrian painting and Irish Art. 


9 July 2021 – LIVE 1pm
Lot 5 - Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
A Summer Day, painted in 1914
(Estimate £500,000-800,000)


Works range from 19th century sporting pictures through to defining representations of Munnings’ oeuvre, to an extraordinary group of Yeats’ illustrating key periods of his work. Other leading examples of Irish Art are included in the sale, with works by Walter Frederick Osborne, Sir William Orpen, Roderic O’Conor, Paul Henry, Sir John Lavery, and Gerard Dillon.


Barney Eastwood, known to his friends and family as ‘BJ’, was born in Northern Ireland in 1932, and his dedication to sport began at an early age. Eastwood was a talented Gaelic football player and was a member of the Co. Tyrone team which won the All Ireland Minor Championship in 1948. Both horse and greyhound racing were also significant sporting passions throughout his lifetime, and together with his great friend and erstwhile business partner Alfie McLean, he had many successful runners over the years.


B.J. Eastwood started his collection in the mid 1970s, at a time when he was particularly drawn to collection and house sales. However, it was his abiding love of sport and his eye for quality and detail which translated into an intrigue and fascination specifically with Sporting and Irish artists. He followed the great sales of the 1970s and 1980s, and over time built an outstanding collection of the genres’ greatest examples. Often seeking advice from leading experts, he personally curated a remarkable series of pictures while building a considerable level of expertise on the artists and works himself. His love of horse racing led him to be drawn to both equestrian and racing works of art including the acquisition in the sale of Jim Joel’s Collection (1984), (lot 30) (illustrated below).


Lot 30 - John Frederick Herring, Sen. (1795-1865)
Preparing for the Doncaster Gold Cup, 1825
(Estimate £150,000-200,000).


B.J. Eastwood added well-chosen works by many of Ireland’s most celebrated artists of the late 19th and early 20th century, such as Walter Osborne, Sir John Lavery, Roderic O’Conor, Sir William Orpen, Paul Henry and Gerard Dillon. His twin interests of Irish painting and the turf are drawn together in (lot 22), John Fergus O’Hea’s majestic Punchestown Races, painted to commemorate the Prince of Wales’ visit in 1868. In tandem with the 18th and 19th century sporting paintings there was a lifelong enthusiasm for the work of Sir Alfred Munnings. BJ assembled an extraordinary collection of his paintings demonstrating the full range of the artist’s subjects and showing his skill in every area, from the classic racing subjects, (lot 4), (illustrated below), Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959) Silks and Satins of the Turf, under Starter's Orders, (estimate £300,000-500,000); (lot 1), Eph Smith in the Royal Colours, and Going out at Kempton, (acquired circa 1974/75 and almost certainly the first work by Munnings to enter the collection), through to the impressive hunting portraits of the early 1920s, (lot 11), John J. Moubray, Master of Foxhounds and (lot 24) Major Mead on his favourite Hunter and the two great large scale early works, (lot 13), The Vagabonds of 1902 and (lot 7), The Coming Storm of 1910.


Lot 4 - Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
Silks and Satins of the Turf, under Starter's Orders
(Estimate £300,000-500,000)



Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s International comments, ‘B.J. Eastwood was a very private man and the collection was intensely personal, acquired not for show or prestige but for the enjoyment of himself, his family and those close to him – it was the least ostentatious way of collecting and it was from the heart. I would like to think that he would be both proud of his remarkable achievement in assembling all the superb works in this sale, and perhaps a little amused to see the dispersal of his collection take its richly deserved place in the rollcall of the great collection sales that once inspired him to start his own’.



Further highlights include:


A group of six exceptional works by Jack Butler Yeats that show the breadth of his output across the decades, including, (illustrated on p1 top), (lot 3), Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) A Summer Day, painted in 1914. (Estimate £500,000-800,000). (Lot 2), The Kerry Mascot; On the Road to Croke Park, painted in 1915. (Estimate £200,000-300,000). (Lot 14), (illustrated below), Among Horses, painted in 1947. (Estimate £400,000-600,000).


Lot 14 - Among Horses, painted in 1947.
(Estimate £400,000-600,000)



Lot 13 - Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
The Vagabonds, painted in 1902.
(Estimate £700,000-1,000,000)


Lot 7 - Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
The Coming Storm, painted in 1910.
(Estimate £600,000-800,000).


(Lot 9), Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941) The Terrace, Cap d'Ail, painted in 1921. (Estimate £400,000-600,000). (Lot 12), (illustrated below), Paul Henry, R.H.A. (1876-1958) Mountains and Lake, Connemara, painted in 1934. (Estimate £120,000-180,000). (Lot 18), Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Maisons Rouges à Pont-Aven, painted circa 1894- 95. (Estimate £200,000-300,000).


Lot 12 - Paul Henry, R.H.A. (1876-1958)
Mountains and Lake, Connemara, painted in 1934.
(Estimate £120,000-180,000)



Estimates range from £25,000 - £1,000,000 and the sale is due to realise in the region of £6,500,000-9,500,000. An exhibition and view of the sale will take place at Christie’s, King Street from 3 July - 9 July. The exhibition, viewing and live sale will be taking place under socially distanced regulations, strictly adhering to current government guidelines.






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