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A c.1800, 4½in (11.5cm) miniature of the architect Edward Smyth (1749-1812) by John Comerford sold for £2300 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) as part of the Chiswick Auctions sale of the Comerford collection. Smyth was the first Master of the Dublin Society School of Modelling and Sculpture.

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The anonymous Irish private buyer bought 81 miniatures, including the majority of the Irish examples, under the guidance of Eamonn McEneaney, curator at the Waterford House of Treasures museum.

The 121-lot collection had been put together over a period of over 40 years by the late John and Pauline Comerford, who were directly descended from the early-19th century Irish miniature painter John Comerford (1773-1832).

The family, who had a home in Comerford’s native Kilkenny, put on four exhibitions of their collection between 1999 and 2007 at venues including Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House in Kilkenny and the Irish Architectural Archive.

Art historians have traced more than 200 miniaturists who worked in Ireland mostly painting between 1730-1850.

Most of the items destined for the Waterford museum were bought during the sale on March 25 with others acquired post-sale in a deal worth a total of £98,000 including buyer’s premium.

Suzanne Zack, head of British and European art at Chiswick, told ATG: “Guided by Eamonn McEneaney, the collector was focused on buying the Irish miniatures during the sale. After the sale he offered to buy the remaining unsold lots from the Comerford consignment to keep the collection together in the museum.”