Set of four Victorian novelty kangaroo salts from 1856, estimated at Aus$7000-10,000 at Leonard Joel on August 31.

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Among the sales taking place in Australia is the dispersal of the collection of the late James Fairfax, former chairman of the media group John Fairfax Ltd, founded by his grandfather in 1841.

James travelled extensively, was a keen collector of fine and decorative arts and a generous donor to various Australian museums and institutions.

Two Australian rooms are offering elements from his collection in separate auctions, both of which are to be staged at the National Art School in Sydney and are being offered to benefit Fairfax’s Foundation and the charities it supports.

Leonard Joel’s slice of the Fairfax collection, featuring his decorative arts items, runs to more than 500 lots. This sale takes place on August 31-September 1, starting with an evening session devoted to furniture, ceramics, textiles and silver, ethnographica and Asian works of art. It is followed the next day by another 100 lots of furniture and objects plus photographs, paintings and graphic material.

One of the highlights of the silver selection is a lot which combines a top-quality maker with the current appeal for novelty silver and the bonus of antipodean attraction.

A set of four early Victorian novelty kangaroo salts from 1856, by well-regarded English goldsmith John Samuel Hunt of London firm Hunt and Roskell, is estimated at Aus$7000-10,000. Each salt stands 5in (12.5cm) high.

Hunt and Roskell were successors to the company founded by Paul Storr, and Hunt was Storr’s assistant.

Collecting bug

Deutscher and Hackett will be selling just over 50 of James Fairfax’s Australian paintings on August 30,

James was bitten early by the collecting bug at just 12 years of age and over the years he developed wide-ranging tastes in art encompassing European Old Masters, Australian colonial and contemporary paintings.

The works on offer from his estate in this sale are largely by Australian artists spanning the late 19th and 20th centuries.

They include two Sidney Nolan paintings. Glenrowan (1955), one of the landscapes from the artist’s series associated with the famous Australian outlaw and bush ranger Ned Kelly, is estimated at Aus$600,000-800,000.

Painted in Ripolin on composition board and measuring 2ft x 2ft 6in (60 x 75cm), the work was originally in a UK collection having been acquired directly from the artist.

It was sold by Sotheby’s in 1996 and then with Agnews, from whom Fairfax acquired it in 1997.

The other is an oil on composition board Giraffe which is estimated at Aus$60,000-80,000.