Ornate antique clock highlights a decorative item collection at Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 18th June, 2024

Melbourne auction houses loved Har Siu and she was regarded fondly as one of their favourite customers.

As Philips Auctions director Tony Philips commented, “she collected pretty decorative items over many years – the crowning glory being a fine gilt bronze neoclassical mantel clock ‘a Cercles Tournant’ that she bought from Sothebys for $50,000.”

Har Siu died five years ago and her collection is now being auctioned through Philips Auctions from 3pm Sunday June 23 at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern - with all lots unreserved.

With a $10,000-$15,000 estimate, the early 19th century timepiece (lot 60), after clockmaker Jean-Louis Bouchet (1732-1792), is in the form of an imposing and boldly cast urn entwined with two serpents, their tongues marking time on revolving dials set with enamel Roman and Arabic numbers.

The clock’s ebonised stand is engraved with the words “Bouchet her (horloger) du Roy Paris” and is one of 94 items from her estate.

In 1769, Bouchet was appointed clockmaker to King Louis XV and was among the first of his kind in France to produce skeleton clocks.

A Sevres style bleu celeste ground portrait vase and cover (lot 62) is another item bound to attract plenty of attention and carries a $3000-$5000 catalogue estimate.

An 1876 Royal Worcester moon flask (lot 11), circa 1900 hand decorated flambeau Limoges cabinet plate (lot 18) and 20th century gilt metal mounted box (lot 25) are other interesting porcelain pieces.

Signed by A. Ouvet, a circa 1900 French gilt bronze and ivory statue of a maiden in period costume reading letters (lot 7) should appeal to collectors.

For sterling silver lovers, an Elizabeth II teapot (lot 21) is worth a close look while a fine pair of circa 1830 Russian Karelian birch and elm armchairs (lot 1) would make a handy adornment to any lounge room.

Lot 27 is an interesting 20th century brass and enamel on copper jewellery box with a profile portrait of a lady painted in Limoges enamels and signed ‘Lebrun, Limoges’ and opening to a velvet lined interior.

Another intriguing piece is the 19th century rectangular Berlin KPM porcelain plaque by R. Wagner painted with a scene of two country girls reading a letter in a courtyard (lot 63).

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