Bonhams is selling the collection amassed by one of Australia’s great media dynasties in its Sydney saleroom on September 22.
The items come from the late Sir Warwick and Lady Mary Fairfax and the auction is titled Fairwater after the family’s Sydney harbourfront home. Built in the 1880s, Fairwater was acquired by Sir Warwick’s father, Sir James Oswald Fairfax, and his wife Mabel in 1900.
Sir Warwick finally moved into the house in 1967 with his third wife Mary and it became a centre for social events.
When he acquired The Home, an Australian design and interiors magazine, to add to the family media empire, it bought him into contact with its founder Sydney Ure Smith and fostered his growing interest in art and design – something which he shared with Mary. Both, for example, had a particular love of the work of Rodin.
Sir Warwick died in 1987 and Lady Mary in 2017. The house was sold last year and the family is now selling selected contents from the collection.
The 370-plus lots to be offered in Australia range from 18th century furniture to European and oriental ceramics, silverware, paintings, sculpture and decorative objects. A selection of English vernacular oak furniture also features.
Further works from the property, including Rodin sculpture, prints and paintings, will feature in selected sales in London over the forthcoming months.