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Fresh Stock at Moorabool

Today we have a varied selection for you to browse.

There’s a group of Georgian & Victorian furniture including an Australian Cedar desk and a George III Mahogany chest-of-drawers – both very useful and decorative at the same time.

There’s an interesting selection of ceramics, including a rare pair of Mason’s Ironstone vases, and a Mason’s table service that would be fun to use.

Whiskey Decanters

Always in demand & hard to find, we are pleased to have a selection of Whiskey decanters- or which ever spirit you choose to put in them! We always have plenty of round examples, but square decanters don’t stay in stock very long, they are in high demand.

Not quite as useful, but very decorative are several Ruby & a Blue flash decanters from the 1880’s. There’s also a rare perfect condition Ruby glass candlestick – rare because getting the candle stub out inevitably led to damage to the fragile glass.

Lots more to see, and many more exciting items in the next while, including quality Chinese & Asian, 18th Century British & Continental Ceramics, and a cheerful collection of Staffordshire Figures.


The Latest Stock

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Fresh Asian Antiques @ Moorabool

Chinese & Japanese Antiques at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Welcome to the first of a series of Asian Specials.
We’re amazed at the Asian items that turn up in Australia. From Ming Bronzes to Japanese Cloisonné, there’s a wealth of fine Chinese, Japanese, Korean & other South-East Asian works to find. This is due to two things; we’re close to Asia, and Australians are great travellers. Naturally, they bring things back with them!

Chinese & Japanese Cloisonné at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Chinese & Japanese Cloisonné at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

This week, we have a group of Japanese & Chinese Cloisonné – including a remarkable piece, an oversize Japanese vase notable for the pair of ferocious dragons dramatically writhing their way around the vase. This vase is giant – 61cm high! – and dates to the later 19th century. The bright enamel colours and glossy black background make it a dramatic display piece.

Antique Japanese CloisonnéDragon Vase
Dramatic Japanese Dragon…..
Antique Japanese Cloisonné Quail
Antique Japanese Cloisonné Quail

On the opposite extreme is a tiny – fits in the palm of your hand, so actually life-size – quail in cloisonné, also Japanese & super cute!

Cantonese Enamel dish set c.1900
Cantonese Enamel dish set c.1900
Japanese Horn dragonfly sculpture, Meiji Period
Life-size Japanese Horn dragonfly sculpture, Meiji Period 19th century

There’s also a selection of interesting Shipwreck items. We’re always looking for these, as they have the allure of being under the sea for hundred of years – and are therefore ‘guaranteed’ to be authentic. Compare this to items that just turn up out of nowhere without a rock-solid provenance like a shipwreck: they’re much harder to be certain about authenticity. We have a selection of pieces & shards from various known & dated shipwrecks as our pieces for direct comparison & learning.

Antique Chinese Ivory Children

Coming Soon!

Delightful band of Chinese Musical Children, late Qing Dynasty

Fresh Asian Stock

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Fresh Stock, 12th May 2023 Mother’s Day

Moorabool Antiques, Geelong Maternité sculpture
Swedish cabinet, Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Swedish cabinet, late 19th century. $550
Maternité sculpture
Maternité sculpture, 64cm high. $760

Some Fresh items for you to enjoy…
Today, we have quite a variety – from a modernist sculpture to exquisite Japanese jewellery, and a couple of fresh pieces of furniture including a very useful cupboard with glazed doors, probably Swedish.
Don’t miss the scaled-down Victorian platform rocker – actually functional, coming from a family home where the grandkids were often using it!

With Mother’s Day approaching, there are endless ideas…. the Paul Serste sculpture is very appropriate. He was a Belgian sculptor, very active in the mid 20th century. While many of his works were highly stylized human figures, this work is one of his most realistic. The ingenious Z-form of the kneeling mother dynamically balances and supports the infant she has hoisted up high, and he reaches down with his hands towards the safety of his mother. Titled ‘Maternité’ beneath the base, it truly fulfils this name with the depiction of the bond between a mother and her baby.

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Fresh Stock -Royalty, Armorials, and a Coronation Spoon…

Coronation Spoon 12th century 1937 Sterling Silver version

The historic events of this weekend will be remembered forever in the history books, as King Charles III is coronated amongst the pomp & ceremony of the British Royalty.

We’re joining in, by releasing a splendid collection of ‘Armorials’, the table-items of the British aristocratic families which bear their coat-of-arms.

Royal Spoons - Sterling Silver - at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Royal comemmorative spoons – Sterling Silver, 1910 (left) & 1937 (right)
1910 Sterling Silver Prince-of-Wales
1910 Sterling Silver Prince-of-Wales

As well, there are two special ‘spoons’, both Sterling Silver with gilt wash.
The first is a perfect introduction to the process of Royal ascension. It bears the ‘Prince-of-Wales’ feathers to the end, and a finely detailed heraldic dragon, the symbol of Wales. This has been Prince Charles’s symbol for my entire lifetime; now, he has recently passed the title of ‘Prince-of-Wales’ to his heir apparent, Prince William.
Back in 1910 when this spoon was made, it would have signified the passing of the title from George V as he became King George V, with his son Edward becoming the Prince-of-Wales and heir apparent.

Unfortunately, Mrs Simpson came into the scene, and he never reached the stage of Coronation before his abdication in 1936.

Sterling Silver Coronation Spoon 1937
Sterling Silver Coronation Spoon 1937

The second piece we have – another spoon – would have been made with the Coronation of Edward VIII in mind, but was just as suitable for the sudden promotion of George VI to King, who simply took Edward’s place on the same date as planned, the 12th May 1937. This spoon would have been created in anticipation of Edward VIII’s event, but would have been just as suitable for George VI, as it doesn’t bear any names – unlike many other pieces, which were made in anticipation of the coronation that never happened!

1937 image of the Coronation Spoon
1937 image of the original British Royal Coronation Spoon, 12th century.

This is the Royal Coronation Spoon, a very important part of the coronation of King Charles III in 2023.

The Coronation Spoon is the oldest piece of British Royal regalia to have survived. Stylistically 12th century, it is thought to have been made in the Royal workshops for Henry II (1133-89) or Richard I (1157-99). It is first recorded in the Royal inventory in 1349, described as ‘antique’.

The divided form is unusual, indicating it was not made for eating with, but for ritual; the suggestion is it was for mixing wine and water in a church ritual. James I was the first monarch to use it as a coronation spoon in 1603, and it has been used in every subsequent coronation since.

Queen_Victoria_Receiving_the_Sacrament_at_her_Coronation ion the Royal Collection
Queen Victoria Receiving the Sacrament at her Coronation, 28 June 1838 by Charles Leslie, Royal Collection. source: WikiCommons

The Royal Collection website states the following about the spoon:

“The anointing is the most sacred part of the coronation ceremony, and takes place before the investiture and crowning. The Archbishop pours holy oil from the Ampulla (or vessel) into the spoon, and anoints the sovereign on the hands, breast and head. The tradition goes back to the Old Testament which describes the anointing of Solomon by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet. Anointing was one of the medieval holy sacraments and it emphasised the spiritual status of the sovereign. Until the seventeenth century the sovereign was considered to be appointed directly by God and this was confirmed by the ceremony of anointing. Although the monarch is no longer considered divine in the same way, the ceremony of Coronation also confirms the monarch as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”

This smaller version would have been a luxury ‘souvenir’ of the 1936 coronation of George VI.

Coronation Spoon 12th century 1937 Sterling Silver version
Coronation Spoon, a 1937 Sterling example after the 12th century original.


We have accumulated a large collection of Armorials at Moorabool. They were all ‘bespoke’ products, created for the family whose crest they bear. And this is the reason we have so many waiting patiently to enter stock: the Research of the original owners takes time!

It’s well worth doing. A Royal piece is the ultimate, followed by the ‘Greats’ of British (or European – or Colonial) History, those who achieved something to be remembered by.

Queen Victoria plate, for Windsor Castle, by Minton 1877, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Queen Victoria plate, for Windsor Castle, by Minton 1877, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Others are just splendid works of art which remind us of the pomp of high-society in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Of course, there’s descendants of many of these families all over the world, and once in a while we are thrilled to sell a piece of an ancestral service to a descendent.

Flight Barr Barr Porcelain
Flight Barr Barr Porcelain

Here’s a few of our Armorials – with many more to come.

General ‘Fresh Stock’

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Fresh Stock at Moorabool Antiques

18th century enamel bird at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

18th Century Enamels – Asian Silver – Antiquities & Fossils – plus more!
All fresh to stock, April 28th, 2023.

We have a good group of interesting items for you to browse, Fresh to our stock.
There’s some fine & rare early English Enamels – including a very ‘sweet’ Goldfinch. This little box had a purpose – to hold breath fresheners, essential in an age with minimal dental hygiene!



A fresh group of Antiquities have been prepared for your viewing pleasure…. there’s a few more interesting Fossils & Minerals from our Natural History department, all recently mounted for display.

Antiquities include a fascinating group of four Chinese pottery ‘stoves’, small-scale models of the ‘latest’ luxury cooking apparatus, spanning 1,800 years, from the 2nd century BC Han Dynasty example through to the 16th century AD Ming Dynasty double-burner.

There’s a small collection of Pre-Columbian pottery figures – or rather, some heads absent their bodies, and two with most limbs intact. They come from South American cultures, 500-1500 years old. Once again, they are recently mounted for display.

And there’s many more curious ancient artefacts to browse, with more in preparation for release in the very near future.

General Fresh Stock

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Fresh Stock April 15th – Victorian Furniture, Glove stretchers + more!

Glove Stretchers & Button Hooks
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Macintosh Clan Silverware & etc.

Macintosh Clan Family Crest, on Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia
Macintosh Clan Family Crest, on Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia
The Macintosh Clan Family Crest, on Sterling Silver cutlery at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia

“Touch not the Cat bot aglove’

The Scottish Clans are a proud lot of Gentry. Of all the clans, Macintosh is a very familiar name – and part of that is the very memorable crest.

It’s a Wildcat, beautifully engraved to each piece. The motto when included reads ‘TOUCH NOT THE CAT BOT(without) A-GLOVE’ – in other words, don’t mess with these wild Scotsmen!

These fierce Scots supported Robert the Bruce in the 14th century; Mary Queen of Scotts in the 16th century; and Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century.

Their crest is in keeping with this ‘prickly’ nature: A wild cat, ‘guardant’ – rising up with claws out to attack.

The silverware is lucky to be here, having been rescued from the ‘Scrap Merchant’ recently in rural Victoria. The knives were made to match in England, with Sterling Silver handles, in 2015!

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Fresh to Moorabool

We hope you’re having a nice relaxing – and healthy- Easter.

Here’s a selection of interesting items you may enjoy, Fresh to Moorabool & with interesting stories to tell.

Wellington Portrait

Duke of Wellington, early 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia
Duke of Wellington, earlier 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia

A small oil portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) .
This well-painted miniature shows the famous Duke in his Major-General’s bright red dress uniform, with the Blue Sash & Order of the Garter star worn on his left breast. What’s interesting is the light tone of his wild hair – we’re used to a few famous depictions of him , all of which seem to show him with dark hair until he reaches old age, when it is obviously age-related white hair. The V& A Museum, London, has a portrait miniatures of Wellington with pale hair, the 1808 portrait by Richard Cosway. Another of a youthful Arthur Wellesley in the Stratfield Saye House collection is by John Hoppner, painted when Arthur was in his mid 20’s, circa 1795 – before he earned his place in the history books.

A youthful Arthur Wellesley, by John Hopner c.1795. source: wiki commons.

Wellington Shield Sketch

The Wellington Shield - Sketch at Moorabool Antiques

Related directly to the portrait above, this curious pen & wash sketch depicts the special thank-you presented to Wellington in 1821, commissioned by the Merchants and Bankers of London. It is a large gilt-silver work of art, They were obviously very, very grateful for Wellington’s part in keeping the trade routes freely flowing! This interesting small-scale ink & wash depiction has a story to tell – we’ve discovered the source the artist used.

The Macintosh Clan Silver

Macintosh Clan Family Crest, on Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia
Macintosh Clan Family Crest, on Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia

A recent find at Moorabool was a large quantity of luxury silver. Unsurprisingly, it has an aristocratic crest engraved on the handles – and one which we are already familiar with, as we have had ceramics with the same symbol.
This is the Wildcat of Clan Macintosh.

These fierce Scots supported Robert the Bruce in the 14th century; Mary Queen of Scotts in the 16th century; and Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century.
Their crest is in keeping with this ‘prickly’ nature: A wild cat, ‘guardant’ – rising up with claws out to attack.
The motto when included reads ‘TOUCH NOT THE CAT BOT(without) A-GLOVE’ – in other words, don’t mess with these wild Scotsmen!

Macintosh Clan Crest on Sterling SIlver @ Moorabool ANtiques, Geelong
Macintosh Clan Crest on Sterling SIlver @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Moorabool Heading
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An interesting Ink Sketch of the Waterloo Shield

The Wellington Shield sketch c. 1835

A curious ink sketch of the fabulous ’Wellington Shield’ has a story to tell.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) was the hero of the moment when he led the British & Allies to victory over the French at Waterloo in 1815. It had been 23 years of constant fighting with the neighbours – namely Napoleon’s France – and finally, there was the reality of a genuine peace. The National was truely grateful.

Duke of Wellington, early 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia
The Duke of Wellington, early 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia
The Silver-Gilt Wellington Shield, Designed by Thomas Stothard, made by Silversmiths Green, Ward & Green, and presented to Wellington in 1821 by the Merchants and Bankers of the City of London.

The Wellington Shield is a magnificent creation, paid for by The Merchants and Bankers of London as a token of thanks for keeping Britain free of Napoleon – and the essential trade networks flowing. Commissioned in 1817, it was presented in 1821. Now in pride of place amongst all Wellington’s treasures at his London home, Aspley House, No. 1 London Road (also a ‘Present’ from the grateful people!), it was lauded as the most spectacular silver charger ever made at the time. Inspired by the description of Achille’s shield in the Iliad, it shows Wellington being crowned by a winged Nike ‘Victory’ figure, surrounded by his loyal troops, and surrounded by ten detailed panels showing scenes from his career. Large and highly-detailed, it was examined, described, and replicated in publications across the British Empire. It was put on show every year at the annual ‘Waterloo Banquets’ held at Apsley House until Wellington’s death in 1852.

The shield can now be seen in Aspley House, part of the Wellington Museum, No1 London Road. Photo source: WikiCommons

We recently came across an interesting hand-drawn ink sketch of the Shield. Part of an anonymous sketchbook, the other side bears an image of two Indian soldiers, and a camel resting alongside a rifle. Other works in the album had European views, portraits of notables, and quite a few images of ports in Europe.
How do we interpret this all?

The reverse of the sketch bears these interesting studies.

Dating to the earlier 19th century, I believe it is the sketchbook of someone who really wanted to travel – but perhaps didn’t even set foot in the exotic locations depicted. It may well have been a young lady (there were some flower studies, always popular with young lady artists), who had the ‘wanderlust‘ to see the exotic sights that these images portray – but she could well have done it all during her idle time in the ‘drawing room’ of her family home, thanks to the array of newspapers and magazines that came readily available as the 19th century progressed.

This theory comes from the discovery of the source of this piece, and also from a clue that both images share: a very faint black smudging along the edges of all figures.

The Source

The Saturday Magazine March 1 1834- The Wellington Shield
The Saturday Magazine March 1 , 1834
Left – image from the ‘Saturday Magazine’, March 1st 1834
Right – the sketch being discussed, desaturated for comparison.

This is the fine woodblock engraving which illustrated an article on the shield in the ‘Saturday Magazine‘, published March 1st, 1834. This was a small, illustrated magazine that was sold for one penny, ‘Under direction of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge‘ – although it’s contents are of social / scientific / political nature, not religious.

The publisher was John Parker (1791-1870). His father was in the Royal Navy, and Parker served his apprenticeship at a London printer, which he ended up managing. From 1829, he became the director of the Cambridge University Press – and the appointed publisher for the Christian Knowledge Society, for which the magazine was published. While he printed bibles, apparently when Parker introduced ‘steam power’ for the presses, the ‘Christian Knowledge Society’ revisited the technology!

This illustration of the shield accompanied a long article waxing lyrical about the shield and how it came to be:

“…..the Duke of Wellington, England’s great General …. had finally planted the triumphant standard of our country on the soil of France itself. ……. honours were heaped on him from all sides, and men taxed their ingenuity to devise modes in which they might best mark their gratitude to him.
To this feeling, so universally displayed, is to be attributed the production of the Wellington Shield, one of the most magnificent works of art ever executed in the precious metals. “

The Wellington Shield - source 1834
The Wellington Shield – source in The Saturday Magazine, 1st March 1834

It is, however, reversed. How could this happen? The clue is the fuzzy, ‘bleeding’ nature of the principal outlines evident in the sketchbook, even on other pages.

Nike - The Wellington Shield - circa 1835
Note the ‘bleeding’ to the dark outlines

This is evidence of the technique used: a primitive transfer, where the artist has used an ink to carefully trace the main features in the print, then placed the blank paper onto the still-wet ink. After some pressure, probably in a book press, the image would be transferred – somewhat fuzzy, and needing the secondary touch-ups and washes of solid colour to create the image as presented. As part of the process, the image appears in reverse – and tends to bleed.

The Saturday Magazine March 1 1834- The Wellington Shield - circa 1835
Left: Thomas Stothard’s 1820 very accurate engraving of the shield.
Center: woodblock from the 1834 ‘Saturday Magazine’
Right: the same detail in the ink sketch, reversed.

The differences between these details reveal the ink sketch is not copied from Stothard’s version, but is identical to the ‘Saturday Magazine’ version. The give-away is the bow beneath the laurel wreath – while it is complete with two loops on Strothard’s depiction, the Magazine has unravelled the loop, leaving it out on one side – and the artist of the ink sketch has followed this mistake.

left: Magazine, 1834. right: Ink sketch

This is a fascinating depiction of a historical artefact, from the time when Antiquity was the inspiration for heroic representation. The artist has used an interesting technique to replicate their own version in reverse – and the result is not unlike an ‘Old Master’ pen & wash drawing from a much earlier period.

left: Magazine, 1834. right: Ink sketch

More Wellington Items

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Fresh to Moorabool – Tudor & Georgian Silver, English Enamels, Fine Furniture + More!

18th Century English Enamel Boxes @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Welcome to our latest ‘Fresh Stock’ release. There’s a fine group from across the wide variety we stock, including more Sterling Silver, some terrific glass, useful furniture, and more. Featured also is a collection of Georgian Enamels.

Tudor Silver!

A fascinating piece of Sterling Silver has a story to tell.

1809 Silver Label with Mary Tudor & Phillip of Spain sixpence, dated 1554
1809 Silver Label with Mary Tudor & Phillip of Spain sixpence, dated 1554

It’s Scottish Sterling Silver from the Georgian era, made in Edinburgh in 1809. That alone makes it an item of interest.
However, the base of the bowl is a flat disk: coin-like, in fact….. and when you look closely, the heads of a King & Queen are visible, along with the date ‘1554’. This is a ‘Coin Spoon’. Incorporating coins as bowls in spoons is common in the later 19th century, when they often used obsolete Georgian currency. The silver of the coin, of course, is literally ‘Sterling’ – guaranteed by the Crown to be consistently 92.5%, or .925 parts silver. This meant the entire creation could be assayed as ‘Sterling’ correctly.

Phillip of Spain & Mary Tudor, shortly after their wedding in 1554.
source: Wikipedia, original in Bedford Collection, Woburn Abbey

Any coin collector must by now be recoiling in horror! This is a rare coin, a commemorative for the marriage of Mary Tudor to Phillip II of Spain.
This is the Mary known to us as ‘Bloody Mary’….. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, and strongly Catholic. When her young half-brother, King Edward VI, died aged 15 in 1553, and the removal of the inconvenient Lady Jane Grey from the throne, she ascended the throne as Mary I. The marriage to Phillip II of Spain – her cousin – was her attempt to secure the throne for the Catholic cause; unfortunately the crisis which her father had created by breaking away from the Catholic world meant this was no simple task. Ruling with an iron fist, she had religious opponents killed. Her reign was short, lasting just 4 years until her death in 1558. Waiting patiently in the wings was the ‘Virgin Queen’, Elizabeth I, whose long reign was to lay the foundations for the mighty British Empire that followed in the next few centuries.

In good condition, one might bring over £2,000 today; this example….. probably not!

Georgian Enamels

We have a fine group of these small treasures – the rarest being a ‘cameo’ decorated example, circa 1795. This is directly imitating the Wedgwood jasperware examples of the period, and is the only example of this type we have seen.