Collectables galore at Australian history auction
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 14th October, 2016
Maritime items, folk art, Aboriginal and tribal artefacts and artworks, pottery, books and historical documents, silver, convict memorabilia and antique furniture comprise part two of Mossgreen’s Australian History auction from 10am Monday October 17 at 926-930 High Street, Armadale.
Some of the more interesting items include a circa 1905 naval commander’s dress uniform with Queen Victoria buttons once belonging to T.E.J. Bigg and a 61-centimtere long William Ricketts (1898-1993) pottery coolamon with applied kangaroos and an Aboriginal tribal elder.
The coolamon is one of several of his works on offer at the auction that includes a pottery fountain with nine Aboriginal faces.
An Australian potter and sculptor of the arts and crafts movement, Ricketts settled permanently in 1934 in Mount Dandenong, Victoria, in what has now become the William Ricketts Sanctuary.
His vision of a modern Australia embraced Aboriginal spirituality and respect for the natural world – a message portrayed through his artworks – many of which are now on show at his sanctuary.
From 1949 to 1960, Ricketts made frequent trips to central Australia to live with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people – whose traditions and culture inspired his sculptures.
Many of his central Australian works are at Pitchi Ritchi – a bird sanctuary run by his friend Leo Corbet – near Alice Springs.
The auction contains an early colonial (circa 1835) Tasmanian occasional table made from a combination of Huon pine, musk, fiddleback blackwood and pine string inlay.
Another interesting piece is the circa 1825 early colonial Tasmanian cabinet in two sections made from cedar and tulipwood with pine stringing. The top section was originally fitted with glass but now has exotic timber panels.
There are two carved oak 19th century Melbourne Stock Exchange chairs – two of 120 used for 70 years until the close of call trading in December 1961 at the venue.
The 1870s Haughton Forrest (1825-1925) painting The Old Mill at New Town Creek is another auction highlight.
This work was originally displayed at Brownell Bros department store in Hobart before becoming part of Melbourne’s Brownell collection.
The painting is to be included in the forthcoming publication: Ayling, G. et al., Haughton Forrest (1826-1925) Biography, Catalogue and Gallery of Paintings, 4th Edition, 2017, The Forrest Project.