ARTICLES

The Johnston Collection at the AAADA Antiques & Art Fair Melbourne

This past April the Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association held its annual Antiques & Art Fair Melbourne. With thousands of visitors immersing themselves in the refined world of antiques in the historic Malvern Town Hall. They explored distinctive collections for purchase, unwound with Scotchmans Hill Evening Drinks, engaged in insightful tours, and appraisals to elevate their experience.

This year we were honoured to have our new Partners The Johnston Collection join us to celebrate our appreciation for antiques & art. Joining forces with our guest Decorator, and

ENGLISH SILVER FOR WRITING

DR ALISON M HOLLOWAY

Little is recorded of silver, used in England for writing, before the time of the Commonwealth (1649-1660). There are references to two standishes in the inventory of plate belonging to King Henry VIII dated 1520. One is of Spanish origin, the other probably English marked with a lion.

Sir Robert Cecil’s inventory dated 1612 lists silver plate at the houses of Theobalds and Hatfield. It groups “white plate commonly used in the house” into different categories including “silver for writing”. Sir Robert had two silver standishes,…

HYAKUMANTŌ DHĀRAṆĪ (百万塔陀羅尼): THE EARLIEST RELIABLY DATABLE PRINTED TEXT

DOUGLAS STEWART

The Hyakumantō Dhāraṇī is the earliest printed text to have survived in Eastern or Western cultures that can be verifiably dated, predating the movable type of Gutenberg by some seven centuries.

In the year 764 CE, the Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇) commissioned one million (hyakuman) miniature wooden pagodas (tō) for distribution to ten major Buddhist temples in Japan. Known collectively as the Hyakumantō (百万塔), each contained a small scroll on rice paper with a Buddhist mantra or prayer (dhāraṇī), which was most likely printed on a bronze tablet -…

FRANK HYAMS THE NEW ZEALAND WATCHMAKER & JEWELLER – GREENSTONE CANDLESTICKS

JOHN HAWKINS

Between 1885 and 1905 Frank Hyams ran a watchmaking and jewellery business in Princess Street, Dunedin. When his first wife Elle Hallenstein died in 1895, he married her London-based cousin Hilda in 1897 and he moved to London in 1898. The Hallensteins founded a clothing, retail and manufacturing empire in Otago with 34 stores throughout New Zealand by 1900. In New Zealand in 1901 he had made the gift from…

TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL (PAKANA) SHELL NECKLACES

ANNE SCHOFIELD

Antique jewellery dealer Anne Schofield recently exhibited a collection of rare Aboriginal shell necklaces from Tasmania, which were on show in June at her Woollahra gallery.

A tradition of adornment extends from the oldest living culture on Earth, and continues unbroken to this day. That’s what excites me about Tasmanian shell necklaces. My love of these delicate jewels began back in the 1990s when I first saw a display of specimens dated about 1870 at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.

A PRESENTATION CASKET WITH CARVINGS BY JOHN K. BLOGG, 1915

SARAH GUEST

The box seen here shows the superb carving of John Kendrick Blogg, a successful and entrepreneurial industrial chemist who was born in 1851 in Canada, settled in the Surrey Hills region of Victoria in 1877 and died in 1936. His day job involved making perfumes and extracting essential oils. Family legend has it that he began making furniture and ornamental wooden carvings after the death of his first wife, Annie, in 1893. This box carries several examples of his carving and, in terms of Australiana, is as good as it gets.

KING ALBERT’S ‘BIRTHDAY BOOK’, 1915

JOHN WADE

After Albert I King of the Belgians refused safe passage to Kaiser Wilhelm’s troops to attack France, Germany invaded neutral Belgium on 4 August 1914. Britain, bound by an 1839 treaty to support Belgium’s neutrality, declared war on Germany the same day. Australian Prime Minister Joseph Cook offered his government’s support to the British Empire.

The invaders captured much of Belgium including the capital Brussels. King Albert, as Commander of the Army, rallied the nation and delayed the German…

WEDGWOOD, JANE AUSTEN AND WHITE WARE

Roger Elliott, on behalf of Zena Thomas: “Wedgwood, Jane Austen and White Ware.” Writer Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra that she visited Wedgwood’s London Showroom where her brother chose a dinner set in White Ware for his household. With notes and illustrations provided by Zena Thomas, Roger told this remarkable tale of the association of the Austens’ with Wedgwood. Zena is a committee member of the Wedgwood Society of Australia, and generously assisted Roger with material to deliver this talk.

A tureen…

A VERY EARLY DEPICTION OF FRENCH EXPLORERS IN THE VIRGIN EQUATORIAL LANDSCAPE OF ISLAND MELANESIA, PAINTED BY LOUIS-AUGUSTE DE SAINSON, THE OFFICIAL VOYAGE ARTIST ON DUMONT D’URVILLE’S FAMOUS 1826-29 EXPEDITION IN THE ASTROLABE.

DOUGLAS STEWART FINE BOOKS

From a historical perspective, this painting is of great significance as a rare example of early nineteenth- century Pacific voyage art. More specifically, its rarity is underlined by the fact that there are no finished watercolours by de Sainson held in public collections in either Australia or New Zealand. Despite the best efforts of David Scott Mitchell, Sir William Dixson and
Rex Nan Kivell – the latter of whom ‘at one stage spent 35 years tracking down a painting ascribed to Louis Auguste de Sainson’ in his quest for a…

CHUAH THEAN TENG 1914 – 2008

LAURAINE DIGGINS FINE ART

Celebrated as the ‘father of batik painting’ Malaysian artist Chuah Thean Teng is credited as the pioneer of developing batik to a fine art painted medium, elevating the everyday craft to an art form. Combining his training at the Amoy Art Institute in Fujian, China with his batik skills, Teng used the technique of batik to create unique paintings of decorative patterns and intricate figure compositions, depicting contemporary life in Malaysia, including landscapes, flora, fauna and figures. Teng held his first solo exhibition at the Arts Council of Penang…

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