While in Adelaide I was fortunate enough to spend both an evening and a day wandering and admiring Lady Porter’s immaculately presented collection, just as she had lived with it. Inevitably collections tell stories and this very Adelaide collection was no exception. What struck me was its sheer diversity – international in character, often adventurous in subject matter and objects and not just of silver and gold. By Saturday evening I knew my favourites and I am not surprised that they all enjoyed spirited bidding. If I was to bookend my five highlights it would begin with lot 15, the imposing Queen Anne chest on stand that greeted visitors to June’s apartment. At auction it realised an impressive $9,160 and confirmed that there remains a serious appetite for fine pre-Victorian English furniture. At the other end would be the bold design and materials deployed in lot 82, the Jaeger LeCoultre desk clock. The glamorous 1970s design of this timepiece explained perfectly for me how unrestricted June was in her approach to collecting and I have no doubt it was acquired on some international adventure! Put more simply, it did not have to be “old” to be part of June’s aesthetic, and it realised almost $2,000.
Between these results of the old and the new were other notable highlights. Lot 215, the rare watercolour by McQueen, a landscape artist recognised for his unique approach to light and composition, realised $9,300. The property was also carefully decorated with sculpture and the bronze of dancers by the artist Dowie, lot 229, perfectly captured June’s lifelong commitment to the arts and ballet. This joyous sculpture realised $9,300. And lot 281, the necklace of South Sea pearls and topaz that often adorned June on arts-related special and public occasions, sold for $12,400. This collection of almost 400 lots told numerous stories, both local and international in character, and I have little doubt that many of those stories will be maintained with the new owners of this now celebrated collection.
& National Head of Private Collections