History galore in Melbourne furniture auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 4th October, 2019

Auctioneer John Ainger is over the moon about his forthcoming auction featuring the contents of the estate of Edrina Caroline Tarring Dunstan, a direct descendant of James Henty (1800-1882) – an influential pioneer, merchant, banker and politician in early Melbourne.

The auction, from 9.30am Tuesday October 8 at 433 Bridge Road, Richmond, also features furniture items from a Toorak mansion and a Glen Iris estate.

The eldest son of Thomas Henty from Tarring in West Sussex, James assisted his father in their farming pursuits before joining the family bank and then in 1834 migrating with two brothers to Australia – to which the family brought its own ships and staff of 50.

In 1851, James established the successful merchant business James Henty and Company in Melbourne and became one of the city’s leading businessmen.

The following year, he was elected to the unicameral Victorian Legislative Council and in 1856 was one of the inaugural members for South-Western Province when it became the Upper House – a position he held until his death.

An early promoter of the first Victorian railway, the Hobson’s Bay Railway Company, James also was commissioner of a savings bank and had many other business interests.

The estates feature several dining tables including (from Toorak) a magnificent heavy rectangular marble top specimen on an iron floral decorated base.

Two are contemporary Victorian extension boardroom tables, each with 10 chairs, and there is a Queensland silky oak dining room suite with a matching pair of serving tables.

The auction also features Tasmanian Huon pine and Australian cedar furniture along with English Regency and Victorian mahogany and walnut in the form of bookcases, display cabinets, sideboards, credenzas, occasional desks, card tables and drawing room chairs.

Other auction features include gilded wall mirrors and lounges and settees.

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