Then after a fall from a horse ended his racing he went on to enjoy a second, rising to head of Dimplex Australia.
One of his collecting passions was Royal Worcester porcelain, which he started buying in the 1980s. A decade later Ken and his wife Gloria turned their attention to French art glass, particularly pâte de verre by Argy Rousseau and Almeric Walter.
On February 27-28 Gibson’s (22% buyer’s premium) in Victoria, Australia, held a two-day auction of the couple’s collection with the bulk of day one given over to their Royal Worcester wares.
Royal Worcester finely painted plaques were a particular focus for the Elys.
Their collection featured a sizeable number and it was one of these, a finely painted framed example from 1912 by William Hawkins signed lower left and measuring 11 x 6½in (28 x 17cm), not including its frame, that topped the bill.
The subject was not a Scottish misty landscape, a still-life of fruit or the highland cattle and sheep that make up so much of the decorative vocabulary for Royal Worcester artists, but a French painting.
It was a copy of the 19th century French artist Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier’s The Print Collector, now in the Wallace Collection in London, which shows two men examining a print from a portfolio in an interior hung with paintings.
Estimated at Aus$4000-6000, it ending up selling for Aus20,000 (£11,235).
The collection was plentifully supplied with works by the Stinton family of painters and Harry Davis, and it was a piece by the latter that provided the highest price for a vase in the sale.
A 17in (43cm) high example from 1910 with fine detailing and gilding to the handles was painted with sheep in a highland setting, signed lower right and realised Aus$16,000 (£8990).
£1 = Aus$1.78