Australia’s Leading Antique Experts – On Show at Melbourne

Sensational 'Regency' stool courtesy David Roche Collection at Adelaide, designed by early nineteenth century Dutch born British designer, collector and connoisseur Thomas Hope

An antique, masterpiece or collectible, whatever you want to call it, something worth restoring, conserving, preserving and collecting should have an aesthetic that pleases the eye, engages the spirit and connects with the soul. It also needs to be made from quality materials and finely and lovingly finished like this sensational ‘Regency’ period stool designed by Thomas Hope (1769-1831). On top of all the rest if it challenges the mind, like a great work of sculptural art, then for me that is the icing on the cake.

One of the featured experts for the Antique Treasure Trove days to be held at the Arts Centre, Melbourne on February 16 and March 16 2013 will be renowned international antiques and art dealer Martyn Cook from Sydney.

For over three decades as a member of the Australian Antiques & Art Dealers Association (AA&ADA) Martyn Cook has introduced clients to the very best of what is available on the international market. He continually champions excellence.

Martyn Cook has, over many years, assisted renowned Adelaide collector David Roche to form what is one of the greatest collections of English Regency and French Empire furniture and objects outside England. Interior design, architectural and garden historical style experts Ann and Alan Gore when visiting Australia in the early years of this century were quite overcome when they first saw it. They expressed their joy that someone had cared enough about their heritage to establish such a fine collection, which is now open regularly in Adelaide for display to the public in a purpose built display and lecture venue.

Connoisseur, architect, furniture designer, author, the son of a banker and merchant of Amsterdam, Thomas Hope travelled widely studying architecture, settling finally in England in 1794 at his London house in Duchess Street. People were admitted by subscription to a showcase of his scholarly adaptation of antique classical elements. His designs are closely aligned with ancient models and he always gave the sources for his ideas. He also avidly studied antique remains in museums and in the private collections of other colleagues and connoisseurs.

Cigar Box made of malachite, ormolu, onyx and camphor wood courtesy David Roche Collection

Hope’s designs for interiors and furniture became central to the development of the much admired Regency style. Hope’s pattern book published in 1807 reached a wide audience. In it he coined the term “Interior Decoration” which came into the English language. From that time onward in England interior decoration and refurbishment became a popular occupation among the burgeoning middle classes.

A French Louis XV Japanese Lacquer Commode by BVRB c1745

Martyn Cook has an innate understanding and gift that has helped him reveal some amazing treasures over the years, none more exciting than on a French commode that had quite taken his ‘eye’ for a client when on an overseas trip. After it had been shipped to Australia and during cleaning at International Conservation Services at Sydney the conservator Julian Bickersteth found a confirmed the signature that Martyn had hoped might be there. It turned out to be that of a man who is the stuff of legends, Bernard Van Risenburgh or BVRB, as the trade knows him, an outstanding cabinetmaker working in Paris from around 1730 – 1767. The value of the piece tripled overnight and it would be an understatement to say Martyn Cook‘s clients were very pleased with the discovery.

It also points out the value of establishing a good relationship with an AA&ADA antique dealer who will assist you to grow your collection.

Clemente Ciuli made the splendid mosaic top on a French manufactured centre table (guéridon) c1810, Paris. Emperor Napoleon's architects and designers Charles Percier and Pierre-Franois Leonard Fontaine, designed the base and the table's production has been attributed to renowned French ebeniste Jacob-Desmalter 1770–1841. The subject is Bacchus the God of wine and good times. Courtesy David Roche Collection, Adelaide

The David Roche Collection will be held in trust for the future of the Australian nation. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose focus has always been on gathering the very best examples of the period. Many of David Roche’s fine pieces went on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2008 in an exhibition entitled Empires and Splendour, which was a great success. A number of works in the collection boast connections to some of the most famous figures in history, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine.

If you would like to become a collector, potential purchaser or, a dealer in antiques and art it is important to spend time gaining and expanding knowledge and so this show would be such fun just to attend and to see what goes on and what people bring along.

An appreciation; the sensitive recognition of good qualities in design and art is only gained through reading and attending shows and auctions, as well as visiting many dealer’s stores and examining their stock. Its exciting learning the theory surrounding design styles and it is as equally intriguing that dealers will often turn up items that challenge many accepted theories.

Carl Faberg ?Russia 1846–1920? Paperknife? 1908–17 Moscow? Silver, jade, enamel ?25.0 x 3.4 x 0.7 cm courtesy David Roche Collection Adelaide

So In the days of ‘reality’ television what is it that defines ‘real’ art and what is an antique?

Let me begin by saying it is really nothing about being a hundred years old – we would like to dispel that myth please and if you read Antique, Masterpiece, Collectible – Recycle on a Grand Scale you will understand why.

It also helps that they are emotionally rewarding, according to President of the AA&ADA Jolyon Warwick James.

Superb Charles II Parcel-gilt Silver Porringer and Cover with mark of Jacob Bodendick, London, c1670 exceptional quality, extremely rare and with a distinguished provenance Sold at Christie's Auction House at London for $134,500 in 2010

Jolyon is a silver expert of great renown and has gathered enormous knowledge and experience over a good length of time.

Like his colleagues he has a complete passion for his product. That means if you engage an AA&ADA dealer in conversation you will also gain access to a considerable wealth of knowledge to help expand your own.

Born in St John’s Wood at London Jolyon has found a niche for himself in the world of antiques in Australia for 39 years. He has lectured extensively and has had a busy life advising collectors and consulting to museums, auction houses, Government bodies, commercial enterprise, collectors in Australia and overseas.

His silver is displayed in the premises of Martyn Cook and his demand as a silver consultant has meant that he has to regularly undertake study tours, lectures and other commissions in Britain, Europe, America and Australasia.

Jolyon does this with so much energy and professional enthusiasm that it endears him to many. He has made the pursuit for knowledge and the understanding of all matters relating to the noble metal he has such a high respect for into a pleasure to be shared with others.

Former Sotheby’s London expert Paul Sumner, whose gallery business Mossgreen (moss for old, and green for good marketing) at South Yarra in Melbourne attracts many admirers, will compere the event.

Paul has twenty five years experience working in International and Australian Auction Houses, including Sotheby’s innovative auction houses in Australia and at Hammersmith in London. He is a man who firmly believes in integrity in business.

He also learned to let go of any thought of ‘owning’ great things for himself at an early age, a characteristic necessary in a good dealer. SMH reporter Daphne Guiness reported in 2004, after he had come home again to work in Australia, that he had revealed to her that ‘he always knew he would be an art dealer – decorator’.

His parents were dealers and home was the place where objects would come and go. “My Hornby train set was sold under me at eight to Christie’s in London. It ran on coal and was too expensive for a kid, so off it went.” Paul said.

Event organiser Jamie Allpress of Allpress Antiques at Malvern in Victoria is very excited about the show.

It is a first for The Arts Centre Melbourne and the AA&ADA.

Founded in 1990 Allpress Antiques in the leafy suburb of Malvern is a stylish starting and stopping point for all those seeking quality chic French and English country style furniture and beautiful and rare objects that are truly special.

The mix is eclectic, with the furniture produced between the 17th and 19th centuries, and select engravings, botanicals, watercolours, oils, drawings, silhouettes, maps, globes, photography, contemporary art, early cartoons and some exceptional ceramics.

The selection of stock that Allpress Antiques offers suit a life style choice or those who have a love of beauty and an admiration for proportion, shape, style and form.

The past founding the future - Table by Allpress Antiques, Contemporary Art by Jon Cattapan, photography by Russell Winnell, architecture by Robert Simeoni - Melbourne 2012

They highlight a combination of local materials and inspire a vision of the earth, stone and wood set against the natural colours of a landscape, where the elusive light of a country rich in diversity helps to maintain a physical presence of ‘la difference

The Music Lesson c1760 is porcelain (soft paste) from the Chelsea Porcelain Factory, British made after a design by French artist and designer Francois Boucher (1703-1770) courtesy The David Roche Collection, Adelaide

Thankfully the days are gone when ‘antiques’ only went into ‘period’ settings to ‘match’.

Wonderful pieces, whose design and style provides us with a visual record of private life and of man’s significant achievements in creativity and quality craftsmanship, will suit any setting when viewed as items that stand alone.

This is because they have achieved that certain je ne sais quoi, an intangible quality that makes them singularly attractive and Jamie and indeed, all his colleagues in this enterprise well understand this concept.

Kozminsky, at the Paris end of Bourke Street

For more than 150 years at Melbourne Kozminsky’s, an Aladdin’s cave of gleaming silver and sparkling jewellery in the centre of Melbourne, has attracted admirers from all over the world.

Artists, actors and prime ministers including the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been known to drop in as have Cher, Elton John, Brett Whiteley, Linda Evangelista, Imran Khan and, not forgetting the pollies, Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating.

The business was established by a Polish immigrant Simon Kozminsky at the start of the Victorian gold rush and it is now the state’s oldest registered business and Australia’s oldest jeweller.

Kirsten Albrecht is at the helm of this estate and antique jewellery and glittering objects showcase, one that has defined her life since she was a child. Her brother Ben offers fine art by young artists upstairs.

She puts the whole success of the relationship between a dealer and their client as being about trust, that once broken is hard to redeem. Much like a marriage, although perhaps a marriage of minds.

“Everybody from the captains of industry and prime ministers to Hollywood stars have walked through these doors,” Ben has said. “But we try to treat everybody with the same level of attention and courtesy.”

The antiques trade in Australia, as watched over by the dealers of the AA&ADA, is all about running an ‘elite’ establishment while safeguarding a heritage industry that should never be elitist.

While we have only been able to bring a profile of a few of the dealers involved in the Antique Treasure Trove days to be held at the Arts Centre, Melbourne the list below reveals that all the dealers involved have considerable expertise. Combined they are a powerful force!

Antique Treasure Trove in The Famous Spiegeltent
When: Saturday February 16 and March 16, 2013
Where: Forecourt – Arts Centre, St Kilda Road Melbourne next to National Gallery Victoria (NGV)
Timed Sessions starting at 9:30 ending at 4pm
Bookings: Arts Centre Melbourne Website

Facade of The Famous Spiegeltent, forecourt Arts Centre at Melbourne

The Arts Centre Melbourne will be providing an expert to talk about the famous Spiegeletent itself, a ‘masterpiece’ in its own right. Together with the NGV they will also dig into their own collections to display some of their own treasures. So come aloong and enjoy the display, bring along something special you would like appraised by some of Australia’s leading experts in the fine trade of antiques and art. See our list of dealers below.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013

Images: courtesy David Roche Collection, Adelaide

Adelaide collector and S.A. Art Gallery benefactor David Roche has established the David Roche Foundation to maintain and preserve his amazing collection of 18th & 19th century fine and decorative arts,
which he has bequeathed to the people of South Australia. Catalogue of 2008 exhibition available at

Isis Clock c1807 designed by Thomas Hope and made in Paris of bronze, ormolu, marble and glass, courtesy David Roche Collection


Martyn Cook
Martyn Cook Antiques, Sydney NSW

English, Continental and Australian 18th and 19th century fine and decorative arts, including furniture, period decorative items, Anglo Indian furniture, clocks and barometers

Jamie Allpress
Allpress Antiques, Malvern VIC
16th – 19th century English and French town and country furniture and engravings of same period

Paul Sumner
Mossgreen Collection, South Yarra VIC
Australian and European Art and Antiques

Jolyon Warwick James, President AA&ADA
Jolyon Warwick James Antique Silver, Sydney NSW
British European, North & South American as well as Australian Colonial silver

Ian Perryman
I & B Perryman Oriental Carpets, Sydney NSW
Antique and decorative rugs, carpets, textiles and tapestries

Hercules armchair c1790 attributed to Giacomo Quarenghi Designer Italy-Russia 1744-1817 giltwood and woven silk upholstery courtesy The David Roche Collection, Adelaide

Kirsten Albrecht
Kozminsky, Melbourne VIC
Antique, Estate and modern jewellery

Peter Arnold
Peter Arnold, Prahran VIC
Antiquarian books, diaries, maps, globes, photographs and manuscripts

Robert Joyce
Kazari Collector, Prahran VIC
Chinese and Japanese antique furniture, Japanese Fine Art and prints and objects

Martin Gallon
Martin Gallon International Art, Camberwell VIC
British and European paintings

John and Paul Rosenberg
Moorabool Antique Galleries, Geelong VIC
Specialist ceramics from antiquity to the modern age

Douglas Stewart
Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Prahran VIC
Rare books, diaries, maps, globes and manuscripts

Peter Valentine
Valentine’s Antique Gallery, Bendigo VIC
19th and early 20th century English & Australian furniture and associated objects

Kent Virtanen
Virtanen Antiques, Armadale VIC

Scandinavian furniture and decorative arts, including Biedermeier, Art Deco and Gustavian style pieces


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