A 10% Goods and Services tax (G.S.T) will be charged on the Buyer's Premium in all lots in this sale
Joan Margaret Dickson (1918-2002) was the daughter of Arthur Purnell, a noted architect who practiced for many years in China. She grew up in one of her father's houses on Punt Road hill. (Its 'Chinese' roof is still a landmark).
In 1972, just a block away, she and her husband, a successful advertising executive, built their famous house in Fairlie Court on land leased from MGGS, her former school.
Since her marriage in 1940, Joan Dickson had furnished homes, apartments and holiday houses in a distinct personal style but at Fairlie Court she was able to express her unique, self-taught talents to the full in the dramatic new spaces.
The idea of combining antique furniture with hard-edge contemporary paintings, so popular overseas yet so rarely used here, made the house a show place.
Its elegant entrance lobby with a central skylight and Venetian chandelier, led into, at a lower level, the symmetrical drawing room. Off this tall central space was the bar that had been sized to fit an elaborate Chinese screen around three walls and a dining room overlooking an internal garden. The vista to the north was across a classic courtyard and pool.
For thirty years, apart from the occasional introduction of a new painting, the assembly was to remain virtually untouched.
The furniture was eclectic: old and new combined for comfort and effect.
The creator fitted her environment perfectly. A notable beauty in her debutante days, Joan Dickson was not only talented in interior decoration but in sport: a holder of downhill skiing records and was Ladies Captain of Metropolitan Golf Club in the 70's. She was also a noted dresser and in 1957 was listed among the Best Dressed in the country.
While the Dicksons were a fixture for years on the Toorak-Portsea axis, she was more at home with the old-money South Yarra-Sorrento connection. She could recall a surprisingly sophisticated Melbourne of Menzies, The Rex, The Embassy and Claridges.