Unique sterling silver pieces part of eclectic auction
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 12th June, 2016
A unique pair of sterling silver William IV rococo soup tureens, made in 1836 in Sheffield by Henry Wilkinson, is one of the major attractions of an on site Kim’s Auctions sale at 9 St Georges Road, Toorak featuring an eclectic and extensive collection built up over more than 30 years.
The tureens, part of a collection of about 30 sterling silver pieces, were presented in 1855 to the Victorian Police Depot officers’ mess by Captain Charles MacMahon of the 10th Hussars – who served in Canada and India before arriving in Melbourne three years earlier to assume the role of assistant police commissioner (and later chief commissioner).
In 1871, MacMahon (who was knighted four years later) became speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly – a position he held until the election of the new Berry ministry in 1877.
The auction, from 11am Sunday June 18, features an important George III matching eight-piece set of four covered tureens and four covered entrée dishes by Richard Cooke, hallmarked London 1804. Christie’s sold the set in 1975 for £3500 as part of the Arundel Castle sale.
Another important sterling silver offering is the George IV Chinoiserie four-piece tea and coffee service, hallmarked London 1824 by the respected lady silversmith Hannah Northcote, complete with a Robert Berk 1904 Sheffield silver tray.
Other pieces include a set of four unusually large early George IV rococo embossed scroll candlesticks and a museum quality seven light candelabrum made in 1886 by London’s R and R Hennell.
One of the more unusual auction features is Chinese sculptor Zhang Minghui’s buffalo bone carved mountain landscape with pagodas and immortals, purchased in Tokyo for US$15,000.
A master of Chinese arts and crafts, Zhang is famous for his bone sculpture Boundless Happiness, exhibited in November 2007 and said to be the largest in China.
It took more than 40 people 12 months to turn five tonnes of beef bones into the two-tonne sculpture.
A large Han dynasty (220BC-206AD) pottery warhorse, bought from the Hong Kong antiques market, is another Chinese attraction.
Egyptian offerings include a Sumero-Elamite stone hanging oil lamp from the late 3rd to early 2nd millennium BC.
An Indian 16th century black stone shell depicting the god Vishna with six outstretched arms and a 19th century Nepalese brass figure of the God of Rain “Vaishyas” should also interest auction goers.
The auction features works by several well-known Australian artists including Pro Hart’s The Mallee Races, part of the 1975 Australian Bush Services Exhibition at the Australian High Commission in Hong Kong.
Other paintings of note include Sidney Nolan’s Taking Flight, David Boyd’s Children and Maiden Under the Apple Tree, Bill Coleman’s Nude with Blue Mascara and John Olsen’s Vervet Monkey line etching artist’s proof.
Another interesting art piece is the set of two rare 17th century Japanese SOGA school paintings of stylised eagles.
Other notable auction inclusions are a 1919 pair of large Royal Worcester hand painted blush ivory potpourri vases, a late Victorian long case clock with eight-day Westminster chimes and a classical bronze of Sappho the Tenth Muse by French sculptor Jean Baptiste Clesinger.