It will be sold by a fifth-generation descendant (his great-great-granddaughter) at Sotheby’s Australia on October 24 with a combined estimate of Aus$625,000-1,025,000.
William Lonsdale arrived in Australia as a lieutenant in Sydney in 1831 and rose to serve as an administrator in Port Phillip until 1853. The district, initially part of the colony of New South Wales, later became the separate colony of Victoria and the settlement of Melbourne.
The collection of eight inscribed and crested pieces of 19th century English table silver, acquired in London following a public subscription that raised £350, has travelled the world with the Lonsdale family.
Returning to England on Lonsdale’s retirement to Rushington Manor, Hampshire, in 1854, it resided in Singapore prior to the Second World War where it survived a raid on a bank vault that stripped many other family valuables. It came back to Australia for exhibition in Melbourne and Bendigo in the late 1980s.
The majority of the silver was made in London in 1840-41, although a set of four entrée dishes date from the George IV period (1828) and the William IV three-branch candelabra (above), estimated at Aus$150,000-250,000, is assayed for Robinson, Edkins and Aston (Birmingham, 1830-37).