Australiana auction has something for everyone

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 21st March, 2018

A comprehensive selection of Australiana items will be up for grabs at Leonard Joel’s latest Australiana auction from 2.30pm Thursday March 22 at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

Among the highlights is an 1800s colonial scrimshaw and turtle shell desk set, a 1930s arts and crafts long case clock and a copy of John Gould’s Birds of Australia 1971-75.

Two plaques featuring Aboriginal faces by Australian potter and sculptor William Ricketts (1898-1993) are other strong attractions, along with Ola Cohn’s early 20th century Mother and Children figure and timber bust.

Born in Richmond Victoria, in 1934 he settled permanently in Mount Dandenong and from there made frequent trips to central Australia to live with Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal Australians, whose traditions and culture inspired his sculpture.

His memory is perpetuated through the William Ricketts Sanctuary where many of his major works are exhibited and via smaller works at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Ola Cohn (1892-1964) was an Australian artist, author and philanthropist best known for her modernist style sculpture and famous for her Fairies Tree in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.

Born in Bendigo Victoria, she studied drawing and sculpture at the Bendigo School of Mines and from 1948 to 1964 was president of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors.

Cohn also was a founding member of the Australian Sculptors Society and active in the Victorian Artists Society, Victorian Sculptors Society and Melbourne Contemporary Artists.

Through these memberships, Cohn was able to give lectures and demonstrations to make sculpture more accessible to the public.

In 1952, she won the Crouch Prize at Ballarat for her woodcarving, Abraham – the first time the prize had been awarded to a sculpture.

Her studio home in East Melbourne was bequeathed to the Centre for Adult Education and is now known as the Ola Cohn Memorial Centre.

The auction features several pottery works by Australian artists such as Marguerite Mahood, Castle Harris, Merric Boyd, Henry Beck and one of Premier Pottery’s trade names Remued, used from the early 1930s to the mid-1950s for a line of its pottery. 

Intriguing is the early 1900s mystery clock with a kangaroo motif.

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