Friday, October 7, 2016


Catalogue of  highly important  Old  Anlaby  sale .

From the files of Magnetic Island  researcher Gary Davies , undergoing a  Spring clean ,  has  surfaced  this fascinating 1978 catalogue of  the  most   interesting  and  varied  contents  of  the Dutton  clan, accumulated over a period from 1839. The clearance took place during the  ownership  of Professor  Geoffrey Dutton , wartime pilot ,  republican, poet, publisher, author who sold  the property and with his  wife, Ninette,  moved  to  a  smaller   residence .

Included in the  sale were  works of art  by  Dutton's mother , Emily ,  said to have partly inspired  Mrs  Polkinghorn  in  Nobel writer  Patrick White's  story The Letter .  White  described her as  a great  and capricious beauty , who  played the  piano, the  violin  and, like her husband , Henry Hampden  Dutton ,   enjoyed motoring .  In 1907-8 , he , with co driver/ mechanic  Murray Aunger,  made the  first car crossing  from Adelaide to Darwin   in  a  Clement  Talbot;  the auction  included  a 1904/5 Clement  Talbot  radiator   which  sold  for   $1500 , other motoring  items including  veteran and vintage spare parts, a case of automobile club insignia , drive shafts and  a  Buick spring , an early Vauxhall radiator , Peugeot  shock absorbers.

In 1921 , the  epic  crossing from Adelaide to  Darwin was repeated , but  in  two  Dodge cars , one  driven  by  Emily . More  overland adventure followed in  1924  when  both she and her husband took part in  the   expedition to  Alice Springs  staged by  Arctic explorer  Vilhjalmur  Steffansson  and Australian geologist  Sir Edgeworth David ; on  that occasion , Mrs  Dutton  drove  the  Anlaby   Dodge light truck .

Listed in the  auction  catalogue  were  four stone Tjuringa   from Central Australian, possibly  obtained  during that   trip . A note said  they were collected at  the  turn of the century , would  not  be  on public display, but  could  be shown on  request .   Also listed  was  an  Elcho Island   artefact .  

 Emily Dutton   enjoyed   the high society life of   Britain and Europe and was  in London  when  her  husband , aged  53,  died   at  home  in  l932 .   It was said that  "the  widow  triumphed " for  several years  in  London , much admired by King George 11 of Greece ; her death took   place  at  Anlaby , named  after  a  Yorkshire village ,  with  a   magnificent garden , on  May 11,1962 .

A  number  of  firearms were  included  in the auction  and may have included   a small  bore  gun  she  used  to  pot  birds  which  damaged  her  roses . In his  frank  autobiography, Out In The Open ,  Geoffrey Dutton  wrote  that  his mother  once said : " What with  rats, the rosellas and the Labor Government  you  can't grow a decent rose nowadays ."

While entertaining  Lady Spencer , whose son John  Althorp , Princess Diana's father ,  an  ADC  at Government House in Adelaide , she  grabbed  the gun  and  shot a bird on the wing-which landed  in the centre  of Lady Spencer's   full  teacup.

Dutton also   said his  mother and father had separate bedrooms  and  father, an alcoholic, had  once taken  an  axe  to  mother's locked  bedroom door . Geoffrey  also referred  to  the unexplained .22  bullet hole  in  a window  in his father's room .

The  catalogue cover illustration , an oil painting on canvas , Three  Horses Heads , signed and dated   1861, was by J. F. Herring . If this  be Herring  senior , (1795-1865),   he was renowned  for  equine art and  painted   the  sides of coaches and made  inn  signs .   A painting such as this   would appeal to Anlaby, being   the  oldest Clydesdale and merino stud in  South Australia .
The  Russian born  painter and sculptor   George  Washington  Lambert (1887-1930) ,  war artist  with  the  Australian Light Horse in Palestine ,  fond of  horses ,   painted   Emily Dutton's   portrait , the dress she wore for the sitting  kept  in  one of  her many packed  wardrobes.  At the auction , Lambert's  oil  painting, Flower Piece Number  10 , signed   1916, was  bought by the  Australian  National Gallery, Canberra, for  $8000.
 Sir Hans Heysen was  a  regular visitor to Anlaby and  several of  his signed ,  inscribed and  dated  drawings and paintings  ,done  over a period from the l920s to l960,  were listed along  with  works  by a number of  artists including  lithographs after S.T. Gill, entitled  Native Spearing Emu and Native Corroboree, plus others  ;  coloured engraving  after   George French Angas , one  South Australian Botany , published  1847;  early maps of South Australia , New Guinea and Africa  ; a coloured print  after  Paul Gaughan , Tahitian Woman .
There was an extensive offering of  sterling  silver, jewellery , a Lalique blue glass  vase  , ship decanters, a 12 stop organ by Hugo Wertheim of New York , a brass  asthray  in  the shape of  a  fly , Persian rugs, fine old china , some pieces bearing  various  Dutton  family  initials , a wide range of Chinese and Japanese  items from chairs to  bowls , netsukes, boxes of  lead  soldiers , Staffordshire pottery figurines in the form of Bonnie Prince Charlie , Flora standing by  a beehive,  Italian pottery.

In all  there were  1299 items offered for sale  ... an extremely rare 17th century carved oak  draw-table ; a hand tinted lithograph dated  1813 depicting action between Her Majesty's ship Shannon and the United States  frigate Chesapeake , engraved by  Joseph  Jeakes ; straw sun hats from the famous  Liberty  store , London ; an American  oak child's high chair ; an old English farm dray  and a quantity of horse  drawn vehicle  parts ; a box of Australian garnets; croquet mallets; a folio of interesting historical records including the Federation issue of the South  Australian Register , the announcement of Queen Victoria's death , petrol ration tickets , a Trans-Siberian Railway timetable and London wool auction  catalogues   for 1886; mounted shooting trophies ; a brass  ship's bell from  HMAS Australia ; two large clam shells ; trays of interesting objects including fossils, Aboriginal artefacts, a walrus tusk, animal skulls , a swordfish sword, rough opals and   part of  a Mammoth tusk .
People attending the sale were  "strictly prohibited "  from   taking  cuttings  from  the garden, which  once  employed  14  gardeners .    

During  the  auction , the  fountain  at  Anlaby,above ,   blew its  top, symbolising  the end  of  the  fabulous   Dutton  empire and  reign. ( See earlier Little Darwin post WHEN AUSTRALIA RODE ON THE OLD SHEEP'S BACK  which contains a  1936 aerial  photograph of  Anlaby in an article in the American  National Geographic Magazine  ).