2017-11-22-2018-09-26 --- 2018-09-26 13:47:03--18
Hover to zoom in

LOT :89
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
The Past and the Present
Oil on board, 50.5 x 61cm (19¾ x 24'')
Estimate EUR : €12,000.00 - €16,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
The Past and the Present
Oil on board, 50.5 x 61cm (19¾ x 24'')

Provenance: Previously in the Merrion Hotel Collection.

Literature: 'The Art Collection at the Merrion Hotel', (1st edition), full page illustration p.14.

Cycling around the Aran Islands during the War, Dillon was fascinated by the wealth of archaeological and cultural material on the Islands. His interest in Irelands ancient past coincided with meeting Drogheda artist Nano Reid (1900-1981), who had a lifelong interest in the Prehistoric remains in Irelands Ancient East. Together they visited the passage tombs and monastic ruins in the Boyne Valley throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s to seek out inspiration for subject matter.


In the late 1940s, Dillon was focused on two themes, the living and the dead and the past and the present. This work, The Past in The Present belongs to the latter and was probably executed after staying with Nano Reid in Drogheda in 1949. In the same year, Dillon held two exhibitions, a solo exhibition of watercolours in May at the Drogheda Municipal Art Gallery and a joint exhibition with Allen (Tate) Adams at the CEMA Gallery in Belfast. The influence of Celtic Crosses in the Boyne Valley is evident in both exhibitions. Reviewing the exhibition in Drogheda, one critic noted Dillons interest in High Crosses, There are panels from the High Crosses at Monasterboice, painted with a restricted palette and convey the simple dignity of these designs. (Drogheda Independent 7/5/49)


The past confronts the viewer by way of a doorway of carved stone panels and through an open door, the present is represented by two women in a landscape dressed in shawls and petticoats. In the 1940s, women in the West of Ireland traditionally wore red petticoats and woven black woollen shawls to protect their upper bodies. The large panel on the right depicts two monks in ceremonial robes with shaved heads and curled moustaches. The monks with curled moustaches resemble the artist and are repeated in another work The Community exhibited a year later at Dillons solo exhibition at Victor Waddington Galleries. The door surround consists of smaller panels of animals and figures which were inspired from the medieval carvings located in the Boyne Valley. After his visit to Drogheda, Dillon returned to London to prepare for his exhibition in December with Tate Adams. From his basement flat in Abbey Road, he wrote a letter to John Hewitt in December, 1949 who was writing an introduction essay for the catalogue.

When I was in Monasterboice I was carried away by the old carving on the Celtic

Crosses. I loved the wee mens Walrus moustaches. They all looked like

bowlegged Douglas Hydes. Im now working on the panel idea. Its great fun

dividing up the canvas into sections and trying to make each section a complete

thing yet holding it all together.


Dillon continued to develop the panel idea in the 1950s where self-portraits and walrus moustaches appear in other mediums. Strings of beads act as a moustache attached to a Papier- Mâché head and bald heads and curling moustaches and are visible among Celtic knots and interlacing patterns bordering watercolours usually seen in ornamented Celtic manuscripts.


Karen Reihill

October, 2015


Hammer Price : €10,000.00
  • en
  • fr
  • es
  • it
  • de
  • ru
  • zh-CN
  • el
  • nl


1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

2. Artists Resale Rights (Droit de Suite) is NOT payable by purchasers

3. Paddle Bidding (In Person)

All intending purchasers must register for a paddle number before the auction. Please allow time for registration. We recommend reading "Buying at Adam's" for first time buyers from our web site for more information. Please be aware that photographic identification by way of passport or driving licence will be required for new registrants, together with a secure valid credit card. This is for security purposes only. Potential purchasers are recommended to register on viewing days.

3. Buyer's Premium, Payment & Delivery

Buyers Premium:

The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


All purchases must be paid for within two calendar days of the sale. Our payment terms are cash, banker's draft or cheque drawn on an Irish bank. Cheques will take a minimum of five working days to clear the bank, unless they have been vouched to our satisfaction prior to the sale, or you have a previous cheque payment history with Adam's. We also accept the following Credit Cards: Visa & Mastercard, subject to a credit card surcharge of 1.5% of the total invoice value, & American Express, subject to a surcharge of 3.65%. Debit cards, including Laser card payments, are not subject to a surcharge, however there are daily limits on Laser Card payments. Bank Transfer details are available on request. Please ensure that all bank charges are paid in addition to the invoice total, in order to avoid delays in release of the items. Goods will only be released upon clearance through the bank of all monies due.

Delivery takes place the day after the sale from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Uncollected lots may be subject to storage and handling charges unless specific arrangements have been made with the department. It is important to make contact with us in this regard to avoid any unnecessary charges. Adam's outsource all carriage & shipping requests to recommended third parties whom we deal with on a regular basis. This list is available upon request.

4. VAT Regulations

All lots are sold within the Auctioneer's VAT Margin Scheme unless advised to the contrary. Revenue Regulations require that the Buyer's Premium must be invoiced at a rate which is inclusive of VAT. This is not recoverable by any VAT registered buyer.

The VAT on buyer's premium may be zero rated for lots exported outside of the EU. This facility is available to non-residents and has strict guidelines in relation to availing of this scheme. Please contact a member of the accounts department to enquire further.

5. Absentee and Telephone Bids

We are happy to execute absentee or written bids for bidders who are unable to attend or can arrange for bidding to be conducted by telephone. Bid forms are available from our web site or you can leave absentee bids online by registering on Cancellation of bids must be confirmed 24 hours before the auction.

Bidding by telephone may be booked on lots with a minimum estimate of €500. Early booking is advisable as availability of lines cannot be guaranteed.

6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

All lots are being sold under the Conditions of Sale as printed in the sale catalogue and on display in the salerooms or via our web site