Divall went on to become the Music Producer at the ABC, Music Director of the Victoria State Opera and the Principal Resident Conductor of Opera Australia, conducting many concerts, ballets and 151 operas throughout his long and distinguished career.
While conductor’s batons come in an extraordinary range of lengths, it appears Debussy was partial to a rather long version - at 58cm the baton is impressive in comparison to batons used today.
Aingers specialists state that batons of this kind are scarce and highly prized but with the added Debussy provenance there is no telling what this piece may reach. Two batons, once owned by one of his greatest influences, Richard Wagner, are currently listed for purchase through Schubertiade in Massachusetts USA for $40,000 (USD) – which would give some indication of value for such rare and unusual collectables.
How many great musical scores have been brought to life by this very stick? Perhaps we will never know but there are reports of it being used enthusiastically by Divall to demonstrate conducting techniques to the amusement of dinner guests from time to time.
The Divall collection also includes excellent pieces of art, furniture, silver and pewter-ware as well as his own baby grand piano.
Another private collection within the same auction, simply titled ‘The Estate of a Gentleman’, contains a wide-reaching array of desirable items ranging from Colonial Australian, Chinese and European furniture, surrealist artworks, and an impressive collection of clocks and watches.
An important early Colonial Australian cedar table (Lot 209 ) is among the highlights of this section. Beautifully inlaid with exotic Australian woods, the table was made circa 1840 and carries an estimate of $14,000-18,000.
Many further pieces of the family’s 19th century Australian furniture are also featured.
Further into the general sale is a superb copy of Caravaggio’s ‘The Lute Player’ (lot 142), reportedly relined and stretched in the 19th century. While the original Caravaggio painting remains in the Hermitage in St Petersberg, another known copy of the subject sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2010 for $100,000 (USD). This painting is thought to predate the Sotheby’s example and is only expected to set you back $20,000-30,000.