Extraordinary collection a family affair

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th March, 2015

Keen collectors of art and other collectables, Dr Peter Brew and his wife Monica lived at 1269 High Street, Malvern for almost six decades.

They bought the turn of the 20th century house in 1959 and in it raised seven children. To some degree, Peter Brew followed in the collecting footsteps of his prominent ophthalmologist grandfather, Dr George Alexander Brew, who, among other items, obtained several prominent pieces that once belonged to Lord Kitchener and notes from Captain Cook’s diary.

Despite inheriting several items, Peter Brew continued to amass a collection derived from a combination of overseas travel endeavours and astute local purchases.

Auction house E.J. Ainger Pty Ltd will auction the collection on site from 10am Sunday March 29.

One of these is an early 1900s post-Carolean period Jacobean-style London dining suite – the scene of many joyful celebrations.

Another is a Persian Varamin rug (circa 1900s), along with an exquisite late 19th century Victorian plated candelabra, 19th century basket chandeliers (lot 398) and an exceptional French ormolu electrolier with original ruby shades.

Of significance is a 17th century Dutch oak and ebonised cupboard (lot 405) from Christie’s Amsterdam that originally cost $14,000.

An Antonio Frilli white marble statue of a young lady (made and inscribed by the artist in 1881) on a verde marble pedestal (lot 170) is another significant piece, purchased for $58,000 from the former Bonhams and Goodman in Sydney.

A fine Louis XVI 18th century ormolu mantel clock (lot 624) is a must have for clock collectors, while an 1830s liquor set featuring three cut crystal decanters and 12 glasses on a circular gilt metal tray with central gilt figure handle (lot 572) is another interesting find.

The art collection is equally impressive – boasting the J.A. Turner painting The Grub purchased in 1974 from Leonard Joel, works from early 20th century artists Tom Garrett and John Loxton and several Japanese woodprints.

Pro Hart’s Shearers Dream signed and dated 1975 (lot 627), for which the Brews paid $21,000, is also worth considering.

The auction has outstanding examples of Royal Worcester, including Frank Roberts, George Owen and John Stinton vases (lots 177, 586, 589 and 592), and a book of original satirical drawings by George W. Lambert (1873-1930).

An early Qing dynasty jade piece (lot 457) owned by Lloyd Bendall (who has several items including the Royal Worcester in the auction) was obtained under unusual circumstances.

Many years ago, Bendall was at the Darwin Cup where he met and purchased several opals from a racegoer who was about to be sent to jail. The opals he swapped for the jade piece once he returned to Melbourne.

Important pieces of outdoor iron furniture, including part of a late 19th century Creswick E.J. Sinclair iron single furrow mouldboard plough, cast iron table with marble top (one of the best examples from the Victorian period) and a bronze sculpture entitled Leapfrog (lot 497) round out the auction.

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