As a Christie’s art auction seller & buyer over many years I receive their international updates – well the collection of Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Berge just blew me away Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Here I was Monday evening sitting at our bureau plat upstairs, online checking out the upcoming sale on the Macbook Pro after dinner . . . the pre-sale pics with links to Christie’s Flickr site were awesome. Next I started to work through the lots in Sale 1209. Number#4 was an impressionist pastel by Edgar Degas of a woman crouching over her bidet (obviously a prostitute douching herself after her client’s attractions . . . I thought ‘what a most erotic subject matter – certainly not surprised though – when great budgets mix with scholarship and great taste what else would you expect. (I’d have bought it myself, so there). Below is the snapshot of the catalogue entry – look at the estimate . . . it’s a only a pastel over monotype:

Tuesday evening I couldn’t wait to go upstairs and check out the results of the first day’s sale – that’s right it sold for US$697,154.00.

I raced through looking at the others I’d marked down to buy (my wish list that is)! Lot 27, the Balla early Eucalyptus abstraction from 1912 – realised US$2,199,880.00 . . . Lot 37 was another absolute favourite, Marcel Duchamp’s Beautiful Breath: Veil Water that he made with Man Ray in 1921. Everyone who knows modern art knows it, the shot of Duchamp dressed in drag. The bottle of beautiful breath – well I lost my breath, this artwork realised US$11,236,407.00. And this was only the start of my second night’s work, I went to bed after I finished perusing the boy’s crystal collection – WOW! Then this mornings national newspaper The Australian published the news – Femme à sa toilette was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia’s representative. The published price paid for the “saucy but delicate nude was A$1,100.000.00″ it was revealed. Gee, Ron Radford I would have been happy to go to Paris to buy it for you!

UPDATE: After failing a week ago to purchase the x5 catalogues on-line, I called London 7:00pm Brisbane time to catch them at 9:00am London time – ” We are so sorry Mr Enright, the demand has been so fierce – the few remaining are for local collection only”. Two people in Tasmania have copies, Leo of course is on the Australian board of Christies . . . I’m desperate to scan the only x3 clocks in the offering for my NAWCC Chapter 104 newsletter I’m about to edit and design.

A late 18th century version of what we call Leaf Lattice design, the one of our own has become a signature © Barbara Heath pattern Friday, Feb 20 2009 

We are currently drawing up this pattern just to have saved for possible use at another time and place – here’s the story so far . . . this photo taken of the air vent in a convict built church along the beautiful old side road at Jericho, Southern Midlands, V. Diemen’s Land. St James (Church of England – now deconsecrated and in the hands of our host for the visit – Steph Burbury). The church now houses a display of local family history, objects, pottery, *photos, ephemera all saved and gifted from local residents. The church itself is in a state of dis-repair where we found the graves and mementos of many of the founding families in the area. There are significant early colonial stained glass windows funded by early settler families but as far as their surviving relations are concerned no one, it seems, is prepared to put hard cash away to assist the building’s preservation. As we have found with our own building, often the locals would rather these old buildings just fall down, that way they can sell the sandstone and not be seen to have acted with indiscretion – no sooner they quickly build a modern 6 pack with all the mod-cons. History it seems doesn’t put a meal on the table in Tasmania. We support Steph in her single-handed effort!

Here’s a larger .pdf of the surrounding country side looking west from the remains of the church stables.

* Added the shot above: Tin Eye (Bug-eye) or Mother Brown a.k.a. the Westbury Tinker – Warwick Oakman tells us that there’s a small five page manila folder in the Archive Office of Tasmania on Mother Brown. In fact in 2003 he gave a 5 minute radio talk on her and tells us she made and sold – baking tins, tin coffee pots and very smartly-made household pegs that were her trademark. He says that Andrew Tilyard who we have met has some great tinker’s bits made by her. Warwick thankfully gave Barbara one of her pegs which hasn’t made my Urban Archaeology collection as yet . . .

We promise ourselves one wilderness walk as a break from working on our house Friday, Feb 20 2009 

Eaglehawk Neck is the narrow isthmus of land near some of Tasmania’s most dramatic coastline. The guide books warn walkers that if anyone suffers from vertigo they should not consider hiking these tracks – this article from the Sydney Morning Herald also concentrates on the convict history and stories that have survived. The road branches off to a set of bronzed dog sculptures by Ruth Waterhouse (see comments below) and the apparent sentries huts – we weren’t that taken by the buildings or their supposed preservation – the walk on the other hand was super. Here’s a link to the larger .pdf

Waterfall Bay cuts into the sheer cliffs that span around 270 degrees of this coastline, the path hugs the edge closely and crosses numerous streams as they run down from the gullies and drop into the sea. My guess was that most of the taller trees were white cedar, thankfully no timber getters have been able to fell these and drag them off to the mill.

A few of us garden history enthusiasts got together and arranged a visit to Old Wesleydale in the Mole Valley, Tasmania Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

Anne & Graham Hesse arranged the visit, we are all members of the Australian Garden History Society. When Barbara and I first visited Clarendon, south of Evandale four years ago the folk at the National Trust there told us not to miss the garden at Old Wesleydale, to see their recently restored C 1831 barn and take in the exotic parrots – the laid hedges – the colonial accommodation – and the genial hosts, Deborah and Scott Wilson. It turns out that our friend, Warwick Oakman the architectural historian and antique dealer assisted with the barn’s refurbishment and we also noticed items of colonial interest there which we know came from our friend, Claire Pearce and her well-remembered (now closed) antique shop called Plume in Campbelltown. Holly Kerr Forsyth in the Gardening section of the Weekend Australian also gave the place a well-deserved plug – click here.

Also present were Anne’s sister & her partner; Lyn & Rob Robson – our pals from Avoca in Tasmania and Mackay in Queensland – and our great mates from Ipswich, Queensland and Woodbury in Tasmania; Alan & Linda Cooper. Here’s my larger stitched image of the topiary hedge with the Ha-Ha in the background that Scott hasn’t quite completed as yet – click here.

At Alan’s suggestion we all continued down the Mole Creek road to call on John B. Hawkins, (also affectionally known as Lord Chudleigh) who gave the party entré to walk around and photograph his massive estate called Bentley. No photos allowed to be published though . . . although I did shoot and stitch together 4 shots into the one great expansive image.

Footnote: We have three of John’s published works in the library – his early 1975 first edition on ‘Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking’- his two volume, Antique Collectors Club boxed-set on ‘Nineteenth Century Australian Silver’ and his 2007 paper published in Australiana; ‘A suggested History of Tasmanian Aboriginal Kangaroo Skin or Sinew, Human Bone, Shell, Feather, Appleseed and Wombat Necklaces’. There is currently a disquiet within the palawa – Tasmanian Aboriginal community in regard to some of the ideas presented in this paper though . . . read and download by clicking here.

Commissioned charm using Barbara Heath jewellery elements for a 10 year wedding anniversary present Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

Ian Collier & Di Palmer have consistently followed Barbara’s career while commissioning and purchasing items as gifts and mementos – for their 10th wedding anniversary he secretly worked up this commission which was the last one for 2008 (he suggested the name as he says – ‘he’s a lucky man’). I’ve had this image prepared since he collected the piece but had to wait until returning from holidays as the anniversary was early in February 2009. Here’s a larger version as a .pdf – click here.

First post for 2009 – a drive all the way to Tasmania and back to Brisbane Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

The Newell Highway runs from Rockhampton in North Queensland to Melbourne in Victoria, it runs very much west of the capitals (Brisbane & Sydney) and is the main truckers route spinning further west from West Wyalong in south-western New South Wales. Three images of found artworks taken on the road:

A huge array of collaged steel abounds in the front of this shed, no names, just the letters spelling ART on the shed – here’s a 4.8Mb .pdf click here. The next photo was taken in the shearers quarters at Sheene, just north of Hobart during a visit with Ann & David Kernke. They are from Ipswich, Queensland and have invested in this unique property which has the largest late 18th C folly – the beautiful gothic-styled stables and adjoining 19th C shearing shed, here’s the found art in the shearers quarters: and click here for the larger .pdf 

Finally, the third found art shot detailing two of my favoirite things – corrugated iron & typography. The town of Jerilderie is famous for two things, Ned Kelly the bushranger and an elderly couple who have specialised in collecting printed ephemera. Unfortunately they didn’t have a business card so I’ve not retained their names, their shop on the main drag is truly filled to ‘pussy’s bow’ with catalogues, labels, packaging, tins and kitchenalia + the cleanest public toilet in Australia!

Footnote: The business is obviously a ‘corporation of three’ – plumber, blacksmith & undertaker.

Barbara’s ‘valentine’s day’ card was a postcard from TMag, here is the actual painting in the stairwell I shot while in Hobart last visit Monday, Feb 16 2009 

The Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery has William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “cupid and psyche” on view and a detail in reproduction as a post card. The painting was presented to the people of Hobart by Sir Thomas Nettlefold in 1949. For those wanting their own print version – go here.

Another person’s view of the Tunbridge shop & residence – Rothwell Sunday, Feb 15 2009 

Mara Cozzi’s low res shots taken in Jan 2009, an interesting set using another camera lens, a small pixel count and someone else’s viewpoint – thanks Mara (and Steve, Gina and Marcus). They were our guests for three days, they also drove all the way down and back.