By Charlotte Stanes, on 05-Dec-2016

Collectors of Chinese porcelain will be pleased to see a single-owner collection put up for auction, largely unreserved, at Aingers on Sunday 11 December.

Approximately 120 lots of porcelain, furniture and paintings were conscientiously collected over many decades by Stanley Crawford Stevens, beginning in London in the 1950’s with his wife, Constance – importantly, a period long before collecting Chinese porcelain became popular in Western countries. 

The collection was primarily sourced during their many trips to Europe - particularly from the top London dealers and collections of aristocratic families.   The couple always made a point of being in town for the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair and were also particularly attracted to Bond Street, where they formed an association with John Spinks & Son and John Sparks – both highly respected antique dealers specialising in oriental antiques.

Back on home soil, Stevens was a regular client of Windsor Antiques, where his brother was a silent partner and also regularly attended important estate sales such as the Sir Marcus Clark Collection, which took place following Clark’s death in 1953

Much of their extensive collection was sold following Constance’s death in 1999 and in later auctions through Sotheby’s in London and Melbourne.  However Stevens could never bear to part with his best pieces and even pulled out a number of items consigned to a Sotheby’s sale in 2011.

This sale therefore stands as the final dispersal and includes Stevens’ most tightly-held items.

Highlights include a celadon Qing Dynasty vase (Lot 112 ) which Stevens purchased from John Sparks and has an estimated value of $3,500-4,500; a pair of Qianlong Famille Rose figures (Lot 118 ), also from the John Sparks and Fraser Collections carry an estimate of $15,000-25,000; and a Qing Dynasty celadon crackle glaze bowl on tripod feet (Lot 46 ) is valued at $3,000-4,000.

There are several interesting paintings from the Stevens Collection, including two purchased from the auction of the Estate of Sir Marcus Clark.

Arthur Streeton’s Views of London (lot 60), painted in 1918 after cessation of the hostilities of World War I, is thought to have been painted from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath, looking south towards St Paul’s Cathedral.  The charming watercolour is enticingly valued at $6,000-8,000 and should do well.  

An appealing work by James Jackson, Santa Maria Della Salute Venice 1907 (lot 142) is also worth a mention.  This painting was executed during the artist’s first trip to Europe and uses his newly learned techniques from the French Impressionists. Estimated at $7,000-9,000, the Venice scene won’t be breaking any records but its interesting subject matter and freshness to the market make it an attractive purchase.

Among the fine furniture on offer is a Regency mahogany rent table (Lot 62 ) that was purchased from the Sir Keith and Lady Elizabeth Murdoch Collection at Wantabadgery Station and is now estimated at $3,000-4,000.

The total value of the Estate of Stanley Crawford Stevens is estimated at between $150,000-160,000 and the auctioneers are under instructions to sell without reserves.

Sale Referenced: The Estate of Stanley Crawford Stevens, E. J. Ainger Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, 11/12/2016

About The Author

Charlotte Stanes has worked the Australian auction industry from the ground up, starting in 1998 as an auction assistant at Christie’s before moving into marketing management at Bonhams & Goodman, Sotheby’s Australia and most recently at Mossgreen. Charlotte is now a marketing consultant and writer, based in Melbourne.