"Weary" Dunlop's furniture among strong auction delights

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th July, 2017

A Boulle credenza and table from Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop’s estate – among superb examples of 19th century French and English Regency furniture – should set auction goers into raptures when auctioneer Christian McCann climbs the podium to begin his latest sale from noon Sunday July 23 at 426 Burnley Street, Richmond Victoria.

During World War II, the medically trained Sir Edward enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps and, in 1942 when Java fell to the Japanese, was a Lieutenant Colonel in command of No. 1 Allied General Hospital at Bandung.

As a prisoner of war in charge of fellow “Dunlop Force” prisoners working on the Japanese instigated Burma-Thailand railway, he became famous for labouring tirelessly to save wounded, sick and malnourished men – often putting his own life at risk when standing up to the brutality of his Japanese captors.

As such, his name became legendary among Australian prisoners of war and an inspiration for their own survival.

After the war, Sir Edward resumed his medical career and established a thriving private practice.

While pioneering new surgical techniques (particularly in relation to cancer treatments and gastro-oesophageal conditions) during his long career, Sir Edward was appointed to many significant positions including senior consultant at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and consultant surgeon at the then Peter MacCallum Clinic and later served as executive committee chairman of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria.

Gregarious by nature with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, through his friendship with former Australian Governor-General Lord Casey he became involved with the Colombo Plan and taught and undertook surgery in Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.

Throughout his life, Sir Edward maintained an ongoing concern for the health and welfare of former POWs, many of whom were his patients, and he received numerous honours and awards for his civic, sporting, educational, military and medical achievements.

The auction contains many other highlights among the more than 700 items up for grabs including a rare Chinese Han dynasty horse and tall fat lady and Tang dynasty figures, all with certificates.

Other Chinese attractions to feature are 18th century porcelain, jade and a massive 1840s carved ivory elephant tusk among an outstanding collection of antique ivory.

Clock collectors will be impressed at the examples of French and English 18th and 19th century clock sets, while a collection of more than 30 antique banquet lamps is another strong drawcard.

Ormolu mounted Sevres vases and English Royal Worcester lead a strong porcelain contingent – and art lovers will be keen to see the range of 19th and 20th century Australian and European art.


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