Famous masthead sees Leski Auctions go live once more
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 4th June, 2020
The masthead figure of Don Francisco de Assis Maria Fernando de Bourbon – in English more commonly known as Francis of Assisi after the saint of the same name (lot 10) – from a 19th century sailing ship will be among the items to greet auction goers as Leski Auctions cautiously transcends back to live auctions following the easing of restrictions after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in Australia.
At this stage, up to 20 people are allowed to view its forthcoming two-day Melbourne Australian & Historical auction from 12pm Saturday June 13 and continuing from 1pm Sunday June 14 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale in accordance with Federal and State Government directives.
Born the Duke of Cadiz, Assisi (13 May 1822-17 April 1902), was Queen Isabella II of Spain’s husband and king consort from 1846-1868 when they both went into exile in France.
Two years later, Isabella abdicated in favour of their son Alfonso XII, whom the 1874 restoration placed on the throne.
The auction’s early maritime theme includes a group of cased display model ships (lots 15, 16, 24 and 26) but Australian timbers and craftsmanship also are on show through a rare pair of colonial boxes (lot 75) – made from Tasmanian musk and myrtle – and apprentice furniture pieces (lot 86).
For woodwork extraodinaire, however, it is hard to go past Francis Edmond Streizel’s creations in lots 104 and 105. Although he worked with well-known sculptor Robert Prenzel, his works are not as well known.
There are several porcelain and pottery examples not to be missed including a circa 1880 “Australian Flora” set of six dinner plates, Klytie Pate’s luminous pierced table lamp (lot 243) and combined works by Arthur Merric Boyd and Neil Douglas (lots 246 and 247).
Books, documents and old newspapers on offer pay important tribute to historical events – none more so than an extremely scarce 1665 London Gazette (lot 268) which carries the title Oxford Gazette because for the first six months of that year the paper was published in Oxford due to the fact that Charles II and the Royal Court had moved there to escape the Great Plague of London.
Other early newspapers include the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser of October 6, 1789 (lot 287) featuring a column headed “Congress of the United States” detailing the Twelve Articles of Amendment just approved by Congress, a report in the New York Herald of November 20, 1863 bringing news from Gettysburg (lot 323) and the New York Times of April 17, 1865 reporting Abraham Lincoln’s assassination (lot 325).
Hawkesworth’s “Accounts of voyages undertaken by the order of His present Majesty for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret and Captain Cook” (lot 286) is interesting because of the presence of all maps, charts and plates.
Australian history is well represented, among them original documents about Reverend Marsden of Norfolk Island, New South Wales and new Zealand fame (lot 292) and Thomas Mitchell (lot 305).
Furniture is another key feature and includes a library bookcase (lot 417), an exhibition Anglo-Indian centre table (lot 430), a Huon pine seven drawer chest (lot 444), and an example of Sol Shapiro’s designs (lot 500).
Other items of note include Aboriginal subject postcards ( lot 383), a Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) engraved powderhorn (lot 397), a document about one of the few female convicts sent to Norfolk Island (lot 403), a Western Australian goldfields brooch by Charles Henry May (lot 559), a Victorian Imperial Bushmen’s Regiment trooper medals and associated ephemera (lot 593) and a Melbourne Cavalry tunic and helmet (lot 594).
War related items include a march-past photograph from Melbourne (lot 600), a rare Gallipoli image (lot 606) and a prisoner’s piece of artwork from the Hay Internment Camp (lot 650).
Day two of the auction features a range of posters and Australian artwork by Tom Roberts (lot 760), Jessie Trail’s a view of Darwin (lot 761), S.T. Gill (lots 768 and the catalogue front cover 777), Hugh Sawrey (lots 853 and 854), and a group of paintings by Norman Lloyd (lot 818) that have never been on the market.