Australian clock collection an auction mecca

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 7th September, 2021

Christian McCann’s forthcoming online auction of the late John and Rose Barnham’s collection is a mecca for clock collectors.

Known affectionately throughout Melbourne’s auction rooms as JBX, John Barnham was an avid clock and watch collector and over many years had assembled a comprehensive international collection of timepieces.

Of the 708 lots on offer at Christian McCann Auctions sale from 12pm Sunday September 12 at 7 Harper Street, Abbotsford, 20 per cent (or 139) are clocks or watches.

With Victoria’s continuing COVID-19 lockdown, viewing is only online with online, telephone and absentee bidding available.

The highest catalogue estimate among the timepieces is $40,000-$60,0000 for lot 50 – a rare English George II chinoiserie lacquered long case clock signed William Bennet 1726.  

Forty-one timepieces are listed in the first 100 lots including the opening item, a West End company pocket watch with engraved case and enamel dial presented in 1911 to W. Dorian.

Lot 5 is an outstanding 19th century French ormolu salon clock with hand painted porcelain panels, while lot 24 is a rare 19th century brass cased cylinder timepiece.

Other clocks of note include a 19th century French marble salon clock with ormolu mounts and a central bronze reclining child figure with grapes (lot 147).

There is an interesting collection of porcelain including a fine pair of 19th century French Sevres vases with hand painted maidens and cherubs (lot 161) and a superb pair of 19th century English Royal Worcester lidded vases (lot 203).

Nineteenth century English ruby glass is another attraction including lot 138 – a pair of vases with central portrait panels – and a 19th century blue and amber glass flared neck vase (lot 136).

For furniture buffs there is plenty to choose from including a fine 19th century French kingwood and rosewood marble top two drawer commode (lot 56) and a fine English George III four drawer mahogany chest (lot 51).

Among the art on offer are works by such well-known Australian artists as Kevin Charles ‘Pro’ Hart Taking a Break (lot 146), John Loxton’s Still Life (lot 105) and Septimus Power’s Figures in Landscape (lot 145).

Sculptures also are prominent with a 19th century French gilt bronze and ivory maiden carrying a jug by Ch. Mongionot (lot 168) a typical example.

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