Classic historical Australian auction to bring collectors running
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 10th November, 2023
History plays an important part in many of Melbourne-based Leski Auctions and the forthcoming two-day Australian & Historical sale from 10am Saturday November 18 followed by the last of Polish Jew Martin Sachs collection on Monday November 20 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale is a classic on two fronts.
One, it contains some of the finest Australian pottery ever to grace the auction scene (lots 1-291) and, secondly, it is a trinbute to the power of the human spirit in overcoming severe adversity.
Martin, who was one of only 500 Holocaust survivors from the German Mauthausen Labour Camp during World War II, migrated to Australia in 1948 and became a successful Melbourne builder and developer.
Perhaps these dreadful wartime experiences – where he lost both his father and mother in Belzec and Stutthof concentration camps – engendered his love for the finer things of life. Nevertheless, he developed a great passion for art, wine, cooking and chess – and was always keen to share his success with friends and family.
Following his death aged 95 in 2020, in the past 18 months Leski Auctions has already sold much of Martin’s collection in two sales – and from 10am Monday November 20 the remainder will go under the hammer.
One of the highlights among the remaining items is John Perceval’s (1923-2000) glazed ceramic entitled Father and Child, circa 1960 (lot 2003).
The first two days will be devoted to historic pottery, glass, convict memorabilia, silver, jewellery, furniture, maritime, photographs, paintings, books and maps.
One of the pottery highlights is a 19th to 20th century grotesque glazed pottery figure (lot 3) Victoria Art Pottery’s William Ferry, while Merric Boyd features with several works including a seated woman statue dated 1935 Murrumbeena (lot 31).
Remued pottery – a line dating from the early 1930s to the mid-1950s – is well represented through the likes of a rare pottery jug with applied pomegranates and leaves (lot 85) and green glazed vase with koala and branch decoration and the engraved words “Remued Hand Made F8” (lot 93).
Among the general items is a Queensland wood specimen writing box (lot 300) by John Wilson Carey (1875-1952) and an antique early 20th century English mantle clock (lot 316) by the Eureka Clock Company presented to H. Austin Esq. by the members of the Manly Amateur Swimming Club on his retirement as honorary secretary. Lot 357 is an exceptionally rare Calyx “Johnnie Walker” ceramic jug.
Convict history always is a fascinating subject for historians and a pair of heavy 19th century leg irons (lot 451) is typical of the items on offer.
An 1856 map of the colony of Victoria is it then was (lot 476) by Tulloch & Brown is an important tribute to Australia’s goldfield days – while among the early silver is a serving tray made from the first silver from the Barrier Ranges (lot 498) complete with inscription to that effect.
Mining brooches are always a strong attraction and the 15-carat gold Coolgardie crossed pick, shovel and bucket nugget specimen (lot 530) is no exception.
Historical furniture plays a strong part in the auction and a major drawcard is the Robert Prenzel signed pedestal firewood box (lot 719) and the Jakob Rudowski sideboard (lot 742).
Scrimshaw and maritime history lots mark the beginning of day two of the auction with lot 748, a pair of whale’s teeth with hand coloured decoration and British and American flags, of particular note.
Among the art on offer is a George French Angas (1822-1886) watercolour (lot 1191) of a mother and child, inscribed on the reverse side with the words “George French Angas, South Australia Banks Island Natives”, and an Emanuel Phillips Fox (1865-1915) oil entitled Incoming Tide, Reefs East of London Bridge, Portsea (lot 1251).
Angas was an English explorer, naturalist, painter and poet who in 1844 emigrated to South Australia and took part in extensive journeys to the Murray river lakes, Barossa Valley and Fleurieu Peninsula presenting his impressions of the newly established Adelaide colony.
His paintings are held in several important Australian public art collections.
Another worthwhile painting is Leonard William French’s (1928-2017) The Soul Cages No. 2 (lot 1324).