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The set, by John Samuel Hunt for Hunt & Roskell (1856) and estimated at Aus$7,000-10,000, was hammered down at $70,000.

Fairfax, who died in January, was a member of the prominent Australian newspaper publishing family and a well-known philanthropist.

His collection was sold across three days at The National Art School in Sydney on August 30-September 1. Leonard Joel sold the decorative items while auction house Deutscher and Hackett sold his Australian art.

Leonard Joel’s decorative arts collection sold for a premium-inclusive total of $1.74m.

Chinese imperial objects

Other highlights at this sale included a selection of Chinese imperial robes.

An Emperor’s court robe sold for $77,500 and a Qing Dynasty Chinese imperial yellow dragon robe (c.1820), with an estimate of Aus$40,000-60,000, was hammered down at $75,000 after competitive telephone bidding.

An executor of The Fairfax Estate said: “James Fairfax was a passionate collector, but an equally passionate and committed philanthropist. It was his intention that the proceeds of these auctions benefit his charitable foundation.”

The James Fairfax Foundation supports charities including The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney and wildlife charity WWF.