Leonard Joel engaged to manage the International Decorative Arts Collection of the Late J.O. Fairfax AC

Leonard Joel is honoured to announce its appointment by the executors to manage this historic single-owner collection.

Some 600+ items representing James Fairfax’s collecting passions and travels will be offered in a full colour catalogue and auction event in Sydney in early September 2017.

The catalogue will be titled “The Philanthropist and Connoisseur – The Decorative Arts Collection of the Late J.O. Fairfax” and will present superb antique furniture, Asian artefacts, textiles, porcelain, silver and photography, representing James Fairfax’s highly considered yet passionate approach to the decorative arts. Detailed exhibition history and impeccable documentary provenance come with many of the pieces, only adding to the stature and importance of the collection.

The auction will showcase some of the finest Chinese textiles and jades, Japanese lacquer and English and European furniture ever to come on to the Australian market place.

And the unpretentious yet grand collecting methodology behind the collection means that estimates will range from the low thousands through to exceptional single examples that are expected to realise tens of thousands of dollars.

Interest is expected to be both local and international and the collection is conservatively estimated to realise in excess of $1,000,000 and proceeds from this auction will be invested in a fund, The James Fairfax Foundation, which will provide income to help support charities that Mr Fairfax has supported during his life, including The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, The Children’s Medical Research Foundation and WWF.

Robert Williams, National Head of Single-owner auctions for Leonard Joel:

“Numerous visits to Retford Park, the home of this most personal collection and conversations with Mr Fairfax’s nearest and dearest, have made researching and understanding this collection for me a deeply satisfying exercise and one I wish to respect in every facet of its management. As a UK-trained specialist it will be delightful to be offering for sale so many pieces of international calibre and flavour. European, English, Chinese and Japanese decorative arts are all strongly represented and I simply can’t wait to view the collection with the people of Sydney and the world.”

John Albrecht, Managing Director of Leonard Joel:

“So much has been written about the Fairfax family and story that for me it is as though I have been invited inside a discreet aspect of Australian social history. My first drive to Retford Park, the beautiful English-inspired gardens and the Victorian Italianate mansion that greeted me belied the truly diverse, international and complex nature of James Fairfax’s collecting style. As the appointed auctioneer it is my privilege to be managing this collection for the estate and what I feel most now is that I am very lucky indeed to be part of what is essentially the “collecting” chapter of the biography of this great Australian.”

Viewing | Saturday 26 – Wednesday 30 August, 11am-6pm & Thursday 31 August, by appointment.
Leonard Joel Sydney, 39 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025
Auction: Thursday 31 August at 6.30pm & Friday 1 September at 11am
The Cell Block Theatre, National Art School, Forbes Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Contact: Nicole Kenning | 03 8825 5620 | 0424 186 377 |