AUSTRALIAN & HISTORICAL
Here’s our biggest and best auction yet, and what a great way to finish off this strange and most unpredictable year we’ve all experienced; the unforgettable 2020!
Thanks again, to our many wonderful vendors whose consignments enable us to provide you with the striking range of beautiful, rare, exotic and historic items you will find in the coming pages of this catalogue.
We are delighted to be starting this sale with the section we have titled “Gems from the Marvin Hurnall Collection” (Lots 1 – 165) which encompasses some fabulous Australian pottery as well as some other pieces that Marvin particularly cherished. Don’t miss the Lizard vase [Lot 19] from Remued – a trophy piece in any private or public collection, the John Perceval & Arthur Merric Boyd painted coffee set (Lot 79) or the John Perceval tiled coffee table (Lot 80) all of which have previously been loaned to the N.G.V. for exhibitions. Among the other highlights we also love Marvin’s “Possum mirror” by Robert Prenzel (Lot 124); a most remarkable example of the master carver’s art. (See also Lot 569 for more of Prenzel’s work).
The next section of the catalogue continues the Australian Pottery theme, with consignments from many other vendors: don’t miss (Lot 196) the Margaret Kerr pottery jug in a previously unrecorded shape, nor the superb Margurite Mahood pieces (Lots 218 & 219). It’s truly a festival of Australian Pottery right through to Lot 310. Our Scrimshaw & Maritime memorabilia section always contains some surprises and this time you might be interested to see (Lot 357) a 19th century ship’s figurehead painted in bright gold. Some other items that have given us great pleasure have included the incredibly rare Australian-made sundial (Lot 386) by Clint; the very early game of Lotto (Lot 389) which features Sydney Harbour circa 1850; the Emile Galle cameo glass vase featuring gum blossoms (Lot 431); the kitchen dresser with strong provenance linking it to Ned Kelly’s family (Lot 522) and a rare table designed by Walter Burley Griffin (Lot 562).
There is much history, some quirky and some profound, tied up in three items featured in our Silver section (Lots 618 – 646). The first item, a superb four-bottle decanter stand (Lot 618) was presented to the recipient by way of an apology – you’re sure to enjoy the story; (Lot 619) is a superb statue of an Aboriginal warrior, almost certainly by Steiner and typical of the way in which the indigenous Australians were celebrated by European-born artists while still being feared and kept at a distance, and (Lot 620) a silver cup which records the earliest days of volunteer fire-fighting in the young colony of Victoria. The artistry of our earliest goldsmiths is also on show here, especially (Lot 674) a combination vesta sovereign case, and (Lot 675) a horse head brooch.
Most artwork is very serious, let’s face it. But occasionally a work of art will make you smile or even laugh. To observe a great artists having fun don’t miss (Lot 721) Nicholas Chevalier’s amusement at the antics of John Sturt and Robert O’Hara Burke or (Lot 740) Fred Woodhouse’ depiction of a “horseman”. There are fine examples of the work of Thomas Clark (Lot 730), Jessie Traill (Lot 769), Lionel Lindsay (Lots 780 – 784), Ray Crook (Lots 797 & 798), Pro Hart (Lots 847 & 877) and a powerful image by David Boyd (Lot 886). It’s one of our most extensive offerings of Australia art so we hope you’ll enjoy the gallery.
Our recent offerings of books, documents, photographs, and ephemera have been particularly popular with many sections providing 100% sell-through rates. For those of you who have found comfort in the written word or the printed image while spending so much time at home, we think you’ll also find the present offering to be very exciting. Some highlights include a group of early Brisbane views (Lots 933), an album of 19th century albumen prints (Lots 945), an album of Thursday Island and Far North Queensland photographs (Lot 948), an 1878 Melbourne Brewery poster (Lot 972), the first poster produced by the Australian Railways Commission (Lot 975), two rare posters by Gert Sellheim (Lots 984 & 985), a fascinating group associated with the 1934 Centenary Air Race (Lots 998 to 1002), and a recently discovered artwork by Antarctic Expeditioner Gerald Stokely Doorly (Lot 1004). The highlights of the book section are undoubtedly the superb hand-coloured example of Arthur Phillip’s “Voyage to Botany Bay” (Lot 1086) and John White’s “Journal of a Voyage…” (Lot 1087); you will wait a very long time to find better examples of these foundational works.
I could go on and on but we think the catalogue will speak for itself and we are sure that if you get all the way to the great Australian wines at the end of the second day (Lots 1172 to 1216) you’ll see why we are so excited about this auction. Please take your time reading and enjoying the catalogue and we look forward to welcoming many of you to our rooms for what should be a busy viewing and an exciting two days of auctions.
Here’s to a great new year. We wish you all a healthy and happy 2021.
Saturday 28 November– 11.00am AEDT
001-165 Gems from the Marvin Hurnall Collection
311-382 Scrimshaw and Maritime
498-499 Tribal Artefacts & Artworks
613-617 Convicts and Historic
Sunday 29 November– 11.00am AEDT
685-930 Paintings & Artworks
1003-1007 Antarctic & Arctic
1080-1163 Books & Historical Documents