Pottery a big part of historical Australian auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 17th June, 2022

Pottery lovers will be delighted to see the late John Stephens collection hit the auction market when Melbourne-based Leski Auctions holds its two-day Australian & Historical sale from 10am Saturday June 25, continuing from 10am Sunday June 26, at 727-729 High Street, Armadale.

His collection is covered in lots 207-338 and follows immediately after the first auction section of Australian pottery that features a Grace Seccombe “Billie Blue” koala statue tree stump vase (lot 62) and an Una Deerbon pottery vase adorned with grapes, leaves and Bacchus face masks (lot 95).

Highlight of the Stephens collection is a pair of Robert Prenzel carved wooden portrait panels of an Aboriginal man and woman in a headscarf (lot 308) – but also worth noting is the Stone’s Bristol Pottery “Kangaroo” teapot with mauve and grey glaze (lot 213) and the William Ricketts pottery tree stump teapot with applied koalas (lot 253).

Furniture is a particularly strong element of this auction with Tasmanian historic relics a feature. One is an 1815-1825 early colonial cedar chest of drawers (lot 536), another a circa 1825 colonial secretaire bookcase from Hobart (lot 538) and the third an 1830-1840  colonial cedar bookcase (lot 544) among the attractions.

An unusual auction feature is the collection of destination rolls that form the core of the railways trams and buses section (lots 655-732) – while the following politics and prime ministers section (lots 733-769) has several intriguing items including a bust of World War I Prime Minister Billy Hughes (1862-1952) who led the country from 1915-1923 (lot 739).

Second day highlights include a Franz Bergmann circa 1900 pair of Austrian cold painted bronze statues of cockatoos (lot  813), a vintage Australian fairground laughing clown (lot 869) and an 1872 illustrated map of Melbourne and its suburbs showing government sections and allotments (lot 961) that Leski Auctions believes to be unique.

Another strong attraction is a circa 1878 photograph of legendary Australian bushranger Ned Kelly’s younger brother Dan (lot 1126) taken by photographer Arthur Burman at his Bourke Street East studio in Melbourne.

The auction also contains a range of artworks (lots 1159-1483) including paintings by English-born Conrad Martens (1801-1878) and John Llewellyn Jones (1866-1927) Portrait of a lady (lot 1221).

An Australian artist and photographer, Jones was associated with the Australian impressionism Heidelberg School art movement and was an early member of Box Hill artists’ camp.

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