Melbourne socialite exquisite tastes now revered at auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 11th March, 2020

When Glenleigh Antiques in High Street, Armadale was a major fixture in Melbourne’s antique furniture scene in the early part of this century, one of its greatest customers was a wealthy Toorak socialite whose exquisite tastes were easily indulged by an open cheque book.

The furniture she bought at the time is now a major part of E.J. Ainger’s special two-day auction from 10am Saturday March 14 and 11am Sunday March 15 at 433 Bridge Road, Richmond.

Because it is a deceased estate, the executor has instructed Aingers that all the items must be sold.

Managing director John Ainger said one of the lots, 372, an outstanding pair of 19th century Venetian Nubian figured torcheres, was the only pair he had ever had the opportunity to sell at auction.

“The socialite purchased the pair in 2004 for $24,000,” he said. "A Napoleon III ebonised and profusely ormolu mounted credenza with three Pietra Dura panelled doors is another spectacular piece purchased the previous year for $36,500."

Other items in the deceased estate are equally impressive. A 20th century French Louis XV style commode (lot 365) was bought in 2004 for $32,000, along with a 19th century Louis XV style and Vernis Martin panelled bombe shape single door vitrine (lot 295) for $16,000.

Auction goers no doubt also will be impressed with the outstanding 19th century French walnut marble top two-door display vitrine decorated with porcelain panels featuring cherubs (lot 459) and matching 19th century French walnut marble top corner cabinets (lot 460) bought from Glenleigh Antiques in 2006 for $28,500.

For porcelain collectors, a set of six Royal Worcester cabinet plates (lot 408) by A. Shuck retailed in 2003 by Waring & Gillow in London for $10,000 is another bonus from the estate.

Likewise, the French bronze and ormolu pink Sevres hand painted clock garniture set (lot 458), signed by maker Nathan & Co Paris, and bought for $17,500.  

Other auction highlights include a signed pottery mask by Australian sculptor William Ricketts – famous for his works featuring Australian Aboriginals at his Mt Dandenong sanctuary outside Melbourne – along with a strong selection of paintings from such notable Australian artists as Kenneth Jack and Leonard Long.

A diverse range of high quality jewellery to suit all tastes and budgets is being offered by Australian Fine Assets as part of the auction.

The sale features 315 pieces of contemporary, vintage and antique jewellery ranging from estate items to significant pieces accompanied by valuations of more than $500,000.

Australian Fine Assets managing director Robert Haigh claims the auction features an exceptional collection ranging from antique and vintage to modern and contemporary pieces.

“Brands such as Cartier, Bvlgari, Tiffany, Rolex and Omega are among the items along with impressive gold, diamond and gemstone pieces,” he said.

Highlights include a tanzanite and diamond pendant and earrings (lots 850 and 851), a rare antique Australian brooch (lot 830), a circa 1890 diamond and emerald necklace (lot 830), a pair of 2.5-carat brilliant cut diamond earrings (lot 23) and a 54-carat Burmese ruby and diamond necklace (lot 875).

Other pieces include more than a dozen gents and ladies wristwatches including several vintage items (lots 883, 886 and 887) and modern Rolex, Omega and Dior (lots 885, 892 and 893), an early 20th century Russian silver box (lot 68) and a Victorian starburst brooch pendant.

Another strong attraction is lot 853 – a pair of icy jadeite, tsavorite, garnet and diamond earrings – and lot 860, a diamond and ruby flower brooch.


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