An Irish auction house is offering film fans a chance to own a piece of cinematic history: a piece of furniture from The Banshees of Inisherin.
The Irish Vernacular auction at Adam’s auction house in Dublin is offering a range of objects from dressers, to fire irons, to cups and saucers in the so-called Irish Vernacular style – homemade, upcycled and amateur-built pieces of functional homeware.
About 18 lots in the auction, including dressers, chests and cupboards, were used as set dressing in the 2022, Oscar-nominated film, set on an island off the coast of Ireland during the Irish Civil War (1922 – 1923) .
According to FurnitureandFilm.com, “Irish vernacular” refers to handmade Irish decor from the 18th century, which often has a folksy or outsider vibe to it. The pieces are often one-of-a-kind. Makers were usually amateurs, who used whatever materials were available, such as old furniture, bogwood and driftwood, and crafted with traditional techniques.
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“It was upcycling in its earliest form,” a spokesperson for Adam’s told Furniture and Film. “[It] serves as a reminder of the importance of craftsmanship in Irish culture.”
At least one of the lots is clearly visible in key scenes of the film. Lot 118, a red, 19th century pine dresser sat against the back wall of Padraic’s home, near the fireplace. It is expected to sell for between €3,000 – €4,000 (NZ$5250 – NZ$6980)
Other lots from the film include a green, two-legged stool; a yellow dowry chest; a pine step ladder, and a green pine settle press (an early kind of Murphy bed). Lot 135, another settle press, was a museum piece before being bought for the film, having been exhibited at Bennettsbridge Folk Museum in Kilkenny, Ireland.
Banshees, which follows a senseless, escalating feud between former friends, Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), makes use of the decor in its storytelling.
Just as the film can be seen as a complex, blackly humorous metaphor for Ireland’s Troubles (“Inisherin” literally means “the island of Ireland”), the decor of the main characters’ homes seems to reflect their personalities: simple and rustic for “boring” Padraic, a weird mix of functional and whimsical for “complex” Colm.
Production design was by Mark Tildesley (Empire of Light, No Time To Die, The Phantom Thread), with set decoration by Michael Standish. The earthy, homey look they created for the early 20th century period caused a bit of a buzz in design circles when the film was released.
The auction kicks off on April 13 (NZ time). The Banshees of Inisherin is streaming now on Dinsey+.