A great nephew finds famous uncle's painting in attic

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 29th April, 2014

William Beckwith (W.B.) McInnes is recognised as one of Australia’s greatest portrait painters and during his lifetime won the Archibald Prize seven times.

Born in 1889, McInnes studied at the National Gallery of Victoria under Frederick McCubbin and won his first Archibald Prize in 1921.

In later life, his great nephew Malcolm McInnes turned whatever creative genius he might have inherited to the collection of fine porcelain, glassware, furniture and art – some of which he is now selling through Christian McCann Auctions from noon Sunday May 4 at 426 Burnley Street, Richmond.

“I only began collecting seven years ago (aged 48) when I picked up a piece of Royal Doulton,” Mr McInnes said. “Since then we have frequented auction houses, antique shops and bought online from overseas.”

His collection is extensive and includes Royal Worcester, works by Rubery Bennettt, Andris Jansons, Ernest Buckmaster and two W. B. McInnes paintings bought at auction – one a portrait of a young girl the auctioneer found among 30 unframed paintings in the attic of an old house.

“We framed it with an original Thallon frame, which were used for all the quality Australian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” Mr McInnes said.

Other auction items include Coalport pate sur pate (signed by Thomas Bott) vases, along with exhibition Satsuma and Sevres examples and antique Chinese and Japanese furniture, jade and ivory.

There also is rare English Regency brass inlaid rosewood furniture, a centre table, a bookcase attributed to Bullock and a rare library Coramandel bookcase.


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