Unusual collections attract auction buyer interest

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 11th December, 2016

The estate of engineer, pastoralist, cattle breeder and discerning antiques collector Stanley Stevens is one of two fascinating collections to be auctioned by E.J. Ainger from noon Sunday December 11 at 433 Bridge Road, Richmond.

Born in November 1920 in Melbourne, Crawford and his first wife Constance began their collection in the 1950s – concentrating on Chinese and English porcelain, Georgian silver, furniture and Australian and European art.

Their extensive travels in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly to London, enabled them to begin collecting Chinese porcelain – long before it was fashionable to do so.

The couple were particularly attracted to Bond Street, where they formed an association with two highly respected antique dealers specialising in oriental antiques – John Spinks and Son and John Sparks Ltd.

They also made a point of being in London at the time of the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair.

In Melbourne, Stanley and Constance were regular Windsor Antiques clients as well as frequenting Archie Meare’s The Connoisseur Store of Collins Street and John Dunn Antiques.

They also attended important estate sales including that of Sir Marcus Clark.

Much of the Stevens’ collection was housed at their country property ‘Ulladulla’ near Holbrook in southern New South Wales.

However, following Constance’s death in 1999, Stanley sold much of the collection.

The unreserved collection for this sale comprises Stanley’s favourite items from his property on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The second collection is from the estate of Winifred McCook, a fiercely independent woman who died aged 92 in November last year.

The only daughter of the late Reverend William and Hannah McCook, Winifred had two brothers, Eric and Allan, and spent 83 years in the family Box Hill North home.

A member of the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club, Winifred was great bush lover and explorer.

She travelled to both New Zealand islands and from 1959 to 1965 extensively traversed the Australian outback collecting Aboriginal artefacts.

In 1969 and 1970, her love of indigenous culture led to a thorough exploration of Papua New Guinea where she added to her collection. 

In accordance with Winifred’s wishes, all auction proceeds will be donated to RSPCA Victoria. 

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