Faberge items all the rage at Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 14th October, 2019

A Faberge enamel and sterling silver bedroom clock in its original case (lot 64) will be a major highlight of Christian McCann Auctions forthcoming on site sale bristling with 18th and 19th century antiques from noon Sunday October 20 at 9 Barnard Road, Toorak.

Featuring portraits of Tsar Nikolia II Romanov and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna (both executed following the 1917 Russian revolution), the clock was made by Faberge’s leading work master Michael Evlampievich Perkhin (1860-1903), who until his death also supervised production of the imperial royal eggs.  

Born in Okulovskaya, Perkhin was one of Faberge’s most important work masters. Working initially as a journeyman in Erik Kollin’s workshop, in 1884 he qualified as a master craftsman. Two years later, Faberge had appointed him its head work master – his workshop producing all types of objects in gold, enamel and hard stones.

Perkhin’s time as head work master is generally acknowledged as Faberge’s most artistically innovative period with a range of styles from neo-Rococo to Renaissance.

Lot 63 also is a Faberge item dated 1887-1898 – a silver gilt and jewelled blue enamel desk set hallmarked Alexander Rappoport.

Born Isak Abromovich in 1851 in Kovno, Lithuania, Rappoport trained in Berlin and was one of Faberge’s few Jewish craftsmen.

After opening his own workshop in St Petersburg in 1883, three years later he moved to Moscow to become a Faberge work master and was the company’s most important supplier of large silver objects.

The auction features an exceptional 19th century French bronze and crystal chateau 12-branch chandelier imported from France by Antique Décor (lot 21) and a fine collection of Sevres porcelain including a 19th century exhibition vase (lot 44) incorporating a hand painted central panel of a mother and child with their dog.

Among the furniture is a superb 16-seat extension dining table and chairs along with an early 18th century oak sideboard, refectory table and chairs, salon cabinets, vitrines, commodes and bedroom items.

The art on show is worth a second look – particularly a major Fred Williams work (lot 302) and lot 19, an important late 17th /early 18th century museum quality oil on canvas depicting a maiden at rest with nobles in a courtyard.

Dated 1978, the Williams oil on canvas depicts a green tractor at the foot of You Yangs hillside.

The artist first spotted them in 1957 from the deck of the ship on which he was sailing home to Melbourne from London and commenced on site gouache paintings five years later.

The You Yangs geography provided Williams with various vantage points from which to focus on the rocky outcrops and vast country beyond. These works led what is now considered the artist’s class or signature interpretation of the Australian landscape.

Other artists to feature include John Perceval, Tim Storrier, Hugh Sawrey, Sidney Nolan, Pro Hart, Taylor Ghee and Darcy Doyle.

Sculptures include a work by Robert Kippel (lot 209), an important work entitled ‘MO 253B Metal Construction’ and dated 1971.

Clocks are another important auction feature and include lot 95, an outstanding 19th century English mahogany long case example with nine tubes and Westminster and Whittington chimes, and lot 301 – a French 19th century serpentine shaped kingwood long case clock.


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