Potential Christmas gifts in Australian decorative arts auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 26th October, 2022

For anyone who has never attended a decorative arts and collectables auction, Melbourne-based Leski Auctions live sale from 10am on Saturday November 5 and Sunday November 6 is the perfect time to go and have a look to see if there is anything that might appeal as a Christmas present.

Catalogue estimates for the comprehensive range of items on offer (1296 in all) are extremely reasonable and affordable and the 727-729 High Street, Armadale address easy to reach.

Categories on the Saturday cover silver, porcelain and ceramics, glass, Chinese and Asian art, and jewellery, watches and luxury accessories.

Sunday is a mix of religious icons, clocks, furniture, rugs, lamps, paintings, scientific instruments, cameras, tribal artefacts, books, posters, photographs, music, movie memorabilia and toys.

While the silver is representative of several countries, lot 18 – a fine Burmese silver box with repousse decoration and figural finial – is a great example of what is on offer.

Likewise, a stunning pair of 19th century Minton pâte-sur-pâte porcelain vases adorned with butterflies and flowers (lot 118j) is extremely appealing.
There are several antique porcelain plaques in the auction including the 19th century German artist Franz Wagner’s portrait of a friar and barmaid (lot 118u).

Two 1950s creations by leading Italian Murano glass artist Alfredo Barbini (1912-2007) are particularly eye catching.

One is a Cenedese Murano aquarium glass fish block table lamp base and shade (lot 315) and the other an impressive fish block adorned with seahorse, jellyfish and six fish (lot 317).

Among the Chinese and Asian art on offer is an 18th century bronze Foo dog censer with the remains of its gilt decoration (lot 376).

There is a comprehensive selection of jewellery including a circa 1700 unusual English Stuart period yellow gold mourning ring (lot 571) – while from the great range of clocks available a circa 1890 Archille Brocot (1817-1878) French gilt mantel clock with painted Renaissance inspired panels (lot 762) is particularly picturesque.  

Brocot was not only a clockmaker but an amateur mathematician who, independently of German number theorist Moritz Stern, discovered the Stern-Brocot tree – a mathematical structure useful in approximating real numbers with rational ones, an important part of gear ratio design in clock making.

Brocot also is responsible for several improvements in clock design including the “Brocot Suspension” enabling time keeping to be regulated by altering the length of the pendulum spring through a key turned in the dial.

Furniture items are many and varied but a stunning 19th century French parlour cabinet with amboyna and ebonised finish and Sevres porcelain panels is a particularly fine example to behold.

For those buyers who love tribal artefacts two Mali, West African Dogon sculptures (lots 1112 and 1113) are worth a closer look.

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