International decorative arts auction heralds new Mossgreen era

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 17th April, 2016

When Mossgreen’s head of international and decorative arts Jenny Gibson climbs the podium at 4pm Sunday April 17 to start the company’s first three-day International Decorative Arts auction, it will signal a new era in its auctioneering procedures – the inaugural evening-day sales.

These replace the former quarterly sales and will be held three times a year – April/May, July/August and November.

This forthcoming auction, at 926-930 High Street Armadale, is a massive 1200 lots of high quality Chinese, Japanese and South-East Asian arts – along with European fine art, French and English antique furniture, silver and objects of vertu.

The evening session on Sunday is followed by 10.30am starts Monday and Tuesday with the auction split into fine Chinese and Asian works of art and European decorative arts.

Both sections contain private collections and estates – the former with highlights that include a 14th-early 15th century Longquan celadon barb rimmed plate that belonged to the late Dick Austin, former Chairman of Trustees at the National Gallery of Victoria.

An Army officer during World War II, from 1942-45 Austin was a POW in a camp near the Burma railway, where he acted as a translator after teaching himself Japanese.

After the war, he joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and was sent to the Japanese Embassy in Tokyo, a posting that sparked his interest in Asian art and culture.

Six years after his 1979 NGV appointment, Austin and his wife moved to Buderim in Queensland – where he became Chairman of the Art Gallery board from 1987-1995.

Another major attraction is a rare Chinese “Junyao” jar from the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) along with the catalogue cover piece – a fine Japanese two panel folding screen from the Meiji period (1868-1912) – and a Perth collection of Chinese silverware.

The European decorative arts section includes items from the late Sir Tristan and Lady Antico’s estate in Sydney, the collection of the late Margaret (Maggie) Lockwood and the vibrant eclectic collection of entertainer and TV personality Jeanne Little and her husband Barry - with one of their items a 20th century tortoise shell veneered hall table.

Of particular interest to auction goers in this section will be the back catalogue cover featured piece – an Irish Regency rosewood writing table made about 1820 by William and Gibton for Viceregal Lodge in Dublin – and a 17th century Spanish vargueno chest. 

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