Picasso pottery plaque an auction treasure

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 15th February, 2021

A cute little pottery plaque by the late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (lot 178) is one of the intriguing attractions at Melbourne-based Leski Auctions Decorative Arts & Collectables two-day sale from 11am Saturday February 27 and at the same time Sunday February 28 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale.

The 1956 plaque, entitled Joûeur de Flute et Chèvre and from an edition of 450, appears in Alain Ramié’s 1988 Picasso catalogue of Edited Ceramic Works 1947-1971.

The circa 1900 painting Knitting Lesson at School (lot 899) by German artist Ernst Hugo Von Steglin (1862-1914) has been chosen by the auction house for the wrap around front and back catalogue cover to draw attention to fine artistic works.

At his creative peak between 1890 and 1910, Von Steglin – whose work is rarely seen in Australia – is a traditional artist who preferred to focus on his craft and creating images that gave him pleasure at a time when many of his contemporaries were striving for new horizons, formats and controversy to attract attention.

A fellow German artist from the same period, Rudolf Hellgrewe (1860-1926), has a circa 1900 Landscape at Sunset (lot 898) oil on canvas for art collectors also to consider.

The perfection of Chinese ceramics can be seen in a pair of vases (lot 379) where the painter has created amazing renditions of objects and plants – while an unusual 19th century Godwin Anglo-Japanese occasional table (lot 593), most likely made by William Watt, is a joy to behold. 

Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) was a progressive English architect/designer initially renowned for his “Ruskinian Gothic-style” creations of mid-Victorian Britain including The Guild Hall in Northampton.

He was among the first European designers to include the arts of Japan, which in 1853 had opened its doors to the Western world, in his works.

Later, similar Godwin designs were produced by the firms of William Watt and Collinson & Lock and the occasional table up for auction is a classic example of the former’s creations.

Among the clocks on offer is an impressive 19th century French figural mantel timepiece (lot 685) – time and strike movement with silk suspension in a gilt bronze case – and the dial marked “Muirhead a Paris”.

A 17th century Tyrolean violin from Austria (lot 1047), labelled “Jacobus Stainer in Absam Prope Oenipontum 1644” but more probably from the workshop of his apprentice Matthias Albani (1621-1673) is bound to set musicians’ hearts racing. It is accompanied by a 2019 certificate from world expert Leon Petroff in which he expresses his opinion about the origin, condition, rarity and value ($25,000) of the instrument.

Antique woodworking tools such as the 19th century skew rebate plane (lot 1016) should attract plenty of handyman attention and lots 1129-1304 will no doubt toy collectors, particularly 1930s-40s action hero plate toys (lot 1129) and solid cast lead figures of Roman legionnaires (lot 1138).


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