Intriguing history to Melbourne auction venue

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 25th September, 2019

When Christian McCann was invited to auction the entire contents of a Victorian mansion at 34 Brewster Street, Essendon, little did he realise the intriguing facts he would uncover about its past.

The mansion features a tower where the original merchant owner would sit to watch for the ships carrying his imported cargo to sail into port – but that is not what makes this historic property so fascinating.

Any visitor who looks up will see ceilings painted by an artisan who unfortunately would never complete his work.

Why? Because he was one of the 1500 passengers who on April 15, 1912 lost his life on the ill-fated Titanic’s maiden voyage when it hit an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

And not to forget the frustrated 19th century wife who, in a passionate rage, shot bullet holes in the bedroom ceiling.

Despite this, the onsite auction, from noon Sunday October 6, promises to cater to a strong cross section of auction goers.

The auction features an exceptional collection of English and French antique furniture including a palatial mahogany mirrored back sideboard (lot 186) and Chippendale extension table with matching chairs.

Other English attractions include a two-door display cabinet signed by Maple & Co, 19th century walnut mirrored back three-door credenza (lot 71) and exhibition quality 19th century four-door kingwood bookcase (lot 60).

Among the 19th century French furniture offerings are parquetry and inlaid pieces, mounted boulle salon furniture, kingwood vitrines with hand painted panels, salon and over mantel mirrors and bombe shaped commodes.

Clock collectors will be rushing to check out the outstanding collection of clocks including a George III longcase example, an English rosewood bracket  timepiece striking on 10 bells and French ormolu and marble clock garnitures such as lot 97 – a quality 19th century ormolu salon clock under a glass dome with hand painted Sevres panels depicting a romantic couple.

Australian and English art is another drawcard including works by such well-known artists as J.A. Turner, Hugh Sawrey, Pro Hart, David Boyd, Hans Heysen, Robert Dickerson and Darcy Doyle.

Signed English and European bronzes (lot 254 – maiden on rouge marblebase) by such famous sculptors as Bergman, Barbidiene, Robert and Shippard add to the auction’s attraction along with an extensive collection of Royal Worcester porcelain (lot 67 – hand painted ewer and lot 244 – jardinière), signed by artists like Sebright and Stinton, 19th century French Sevres, Japanese Meiji period Satsuma (lot 282) and Kutani.

There also are Chinese antiques, including carved cherrywood pedestals, carved jade and hand painted porcelain.

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