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    Sale 5366

    Christie's Interiors- Style & Spirit

    23 September 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 100

    AN AUSTRALIAN FIDDLEBACK-BLACKWOOD, BLACKWOOD, WALNUT, MAPLE, JARRAH AND TULPWOOD KNEEHOLE DESK

    1935, THE DESK BY H. GOLDMAN LIMITED, THE CARVED FEET PROBABLY BY ROBERT PRENZEL

    Price Realised  

    AN AUSTRALIAN FIDDLEBACK-BLACKWOOD, BLACKWOOD, WALNUT, MAPLE, JARRAH AND TULPWOOD KNEEHOLE DESK
    1935, THE DESK BY H. GOLDMAN LIMITED, THE CARVED FEET PROBABLY BY ROBERT PRENZEL
    The top inlaid with three crossbanded panels, with a moulded edge and nine drawers around a kneehole, the centre drawer bearing a silver plaque inscribed 'Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester from the Commonwealth of Australia with every good wish. 6th Nov.1935.' the drawer lining inlaid with a specimen wood map of Australia and the eight further drawers with patinated bronze handles modelled as a gum nuts, the sides and back with broad crossbanding and with block feet carved with gum leaves and gum nuts, stamped to the underside of the drawers 'MANUFACTURED BY H.GOLDMAN Pty Ltd CHURCH ST. BRIDGE CHAPEL ST. STH. YARRA MELBOURNE'
    30 in. (76 cm.) high; 60 in. (152 cm.) wide; 35 in. (89 cm.) deep


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    This desk was presented to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester by the Right Honourable Earle Page, M.P. as a wedding gift on behalf of the Commonwealth Government of Australia and is documented in a contemporary newspaper article to have cost 'about £100'. Following his marriage to Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott on November 6th 1935, the Duke served as the eleventh Governor-General of Australia from 1945-1947.

    Goldman Manufacturing Co., 394 LaTrobe Street, Central Melbourne was located at this address from 1913-1927 when it moved to South Yarra. Goldman's specialised in custom-made, high quality furniture and won several gold medals at international exhibitions in the first quarter of the century.

    Robert Prenzel's ledger lists work done for Goldman Ltd., however the ledger is incomplete and only lists work completed between 1917-1925 with only a few mentions of Prenzel's work in the 1930's. The gum nuts and foliage are typical of Prenzel's use of Australian motifs.

    Robert Wilhelm Prenzel (1866-1941), woodcarver and cabinetmaker was born on 30th March 1866 at Kittliztreben, Prussia. After completing a four-year apprenticeship in woodcarving and further study and travel in Europe he arrived in Melbourne on 24th November 1888. He married Mina Schelling in 1890 and had three children.

    The specimen woods used in the construction of this desk are specific to the Australian states as indicated by the map of Australia in the central drawer. The timbers are noted in a blue print (now in the Australian National Archives) presented with the desk and relate to the states as follows:

    Blackwood (Accacia Melanoxylon) Victoria
    Walnut (Cryptocarya Palmerstoni) Queensland
    Maple (Flindersia Ghatawalana) Queensland
    Jarrah (Eucalyptus Marginata) West Australia
    Tulipwood (Narpullia Pendula) New South Wales

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage


    Pre-Lot Text

    FROM THE ESTATE OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE HENRY, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, KG., KT., KP.

    A WEDDING GIFT FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA TO THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER