Leonard Joel

The year that was…


A monumental event for Leonard Joel Sydney this year was our change of address in September! Our new home, within the historic building, The Bond, at 36-40 Queen Street, sits in the heart of the art and antiques district and provides us with the space to host valuations, viewings and auctions. Our first auction in the showroom, Decorative Arts, was a roaring success and we look forward to showcasing more auctions in 2019.

Undoubtedly one of the rarest clocks ever to be sold at auction in Australia is the exceptional George II musical organ clock by renowned English clockmaker, Charles Clay. Made in London circa 1735, the clock is housed in a large mahogany bell-topped case with gilt brass feet and an exquisite, hand-painted frontispiece depicting allegorical scenes and featuring moving figures. Clay was a master clockmaker and two very similar models to this were acquired for the British Royal Collection in the 1700s. This was one of many unique pieces featured in The Hose Collection of Clocks sold in June this year.

The Thursday Auction always presents rare and unusual objects, and this year was no exception. We were particularly intrigued by a hand-painted Georgian red leather fire bucket from the 19th century. It is incredible to think about the history of this piece and it’s journey from the UK to Australia.

We were surprised and delighted when this beautiful Clarice Beckett painting Boats on the Shore passed through the doors of Leonard Joel in February as a highlight of the El Tovar Collection. Not only is it a beautiful work, it was also purchased by the vendor’s mother in 1944 and still bears the original Leonard Joel paper label to verso. It’s beautiful to see a piece coming back to us 74 years after it was last sold.

Wivine and Roger De Stoop moved from Belgium to Australia in 1952 with their five children, some twenty employees and their families, and instantly connected to the vibrant and progressive cultural scene in Melbourne. Their home, Middlefield House, became an important place for artists such as John Perceval, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman and Joy Hester to connect and exchange ideas with the new wave of European émigrés that included Georges and Mirka Mora. The De Stoop’s also became great patrons of many of the artists, and we were thrilled to auction their collection as part of our June Fine Art auction this year, which included Charles Blackman’s Trumpeter and Boy in the Bush and Joy Hester’s Girl with Cocky.

The piece of jewellery that stays ours minds from this year is a Georgian eye locket. Georgian pieces are rare in Australia and miniature portrait eye lockets exceptionally scarce in any country. The provenance of purchase in Australia, from the renowned Anne Schofield Antiques, Sydney, with the original purchased from Christie’s London, Miniatures & Objets de Vertu, Property of the Earl of Warwick, Warwick Castle, added immensely to the value of the piece. However, and most importantly, the locket was just beautiful. Exquisitely crafted with embossed and engraved worked case, set with turquoise and a single seed pearl, the reverse set with a single diamond and emerald, opening to reveal a hair locket and a hand painted miniature of a female right eye within a cloud surround.

The July Modern Design auction included a rare collection of Italian furniture manufactured by Cassina. The selection of pieces honoured luminaries such as Ettore Sottsass, Gio Ponti, Achille Castiglioni and Gerrit Reitveld. Their designs and aesthetics have stood the test of time, continue to break new ground and propose a type of European lifestyle. We were excited to auction a selection of works that are so iconic and admired by true lovers of design.

Our Collectables auctions never fail to attract a crowd. Our June offering, which included The 1970 TV Week Logie for Best Overseas Show, created a stir amongst clients and media alike. The 1970 awards, the 12th iteration of the ceremony, was hosted by show biz stalwart Bert Newton and the award for ‘Best Overseas Show’ was presented to The Mod Squad. That category no longer exists, as the awards focus on local productions and talent. On the day of the auction, there was fierce bidding, resulting in a record-breaking hammer result of $7,000.

The Melbourne and Sydney salerooms will be closed from Wednesday 19 December for the summer holidays and will reopen on Monday 14 January, 2019.

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