Leonard Joel is excited to present A Connoisseur’s Collection, offering at auction the contents of 16 Berry Street, East Melbourne. The beautiful three-level Victorian town house encloses a discerning collection of art, objets d’art, and fine furniture belonging to the late Cary Mansell and his partner Ray Williams.

Cary and Ray met in the 1980s, developing their love for antiques, travel, and art together, refining their collection through their various residences including Musk Farm, which they bought from the Estate of Stuart Rattle in 2014. After just three happy years there Ray fell ill, prompting a move back to East Melbourne. The house in Berry Street was purchased, just a few hundred metres from their former much-loved home in Powlett Street.

Their collection reflects a mutual love of antiques, their eye for beauty and quality, and a love of an “old fashioned” way of life. This extended to their entertaining, where Cary was master of the kitchen and Ray the maître d’hôtel. Berry Street is curated to entertain, with a drinks trolley near the dining table and a large astral glazed cabinet housing a sizable collection of Georg Jensen sterling silver table ware, an extensive set of Waterford Crystal, and an iconic suite of Georg Jensen Acorn pattern flatware. Their prized dinner service was a rare set of Flora Danica porcelain.

In addition to their passion for the art of dining, Cary and Ray both shared a love of clocks. Cary’s interest was possibly sparked by his great grandfather, who was a clock maker and whose final exam piece is offered for sale, along with several other fine examples including an impressive musical clock. Being in the sitting room at Berry Street at midday (or midnight!) with four clocks chiming in unison must have been an extraordinary experience.

The Venetian items in the collection reflect a more recent passion for Italy, particularly Venice; annual visits over the last decade were an exhausting itinerary of galleries, churches, and palazzi, whilst at night they recovered at their favourite hotel, the Cipriani. Imagery and statues of the lion of San Marco are seen in almost every room, coupled with various Venetian treasures including beautiful Fortuny lights, a fine glass mirror and, most impressively, a large gondola pole lantern.

This fine collection is complemented by art chosen by Cary and Ray, ranging from 18th Century European works to good examples of early 20th Century Australian artists including Septimus Power and Henry Hanke.

We look forward to celebrating Cary and Ray’s legacy with you on July 4th, 2021.

CHIARA CURCIO / Head of Decorative Arts

May 2021