Secretaire Chest PDF  | Print |
Friday, 07 March 2014 12:49


Australian Cedar Secretaire Chest

Sir Walter Watson Hughes’ cedar secretaire chest is in original condition and was most likely made in Sydney between 1835 and 1840.  This secretaire chest was purchased at auction by Peter Jenkinson and after conservation it was sold to the Art Gallery of South Australia, where it is currently on display in Gallery 1.

An all cedar cabinet comprising three lower drawers, which are showing flame cedar fronts that are cross-banded with musk and cockbeaded with cedar. The drawer blades are cross-banded in cedar. The cabinet is fitted with original Bramah locks.

Above the three drawers is a secretaire compartment that is decorated with early 19th Century “Grecian” design, fans and acroters. This secretaire drawer is cockbeaded with cedar and cross-banded with musk.  The drawer front falls forward to reveal a well-fitted interior section comprising ten drawers veneered in tulipwood and with tulipwood turned knobs in the same style as those used on the drawers below. The interior pigeonholes are of a beautifully arcaded form with musk facings. The original blue cloth-writing surface is surrounded by select cuts of musk and the brass fittings are original. 

Images of the secretaire chest after conservation:

Secretaire chest after conservation

Secretaire Chest after conservation

Find out more information about the secretaire chest and download the brochure here.


A whale's tooth from Fiji PDF  | Print |
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 14:58



In March 2010 a whale’s tooth, also known as a tabua, was purchased in Adelaide from the son of a South Australian Methodist minister, the Reverend Charles Dadds, who had received it from indigenous Fijians during his tenure as a missionary in their country from 1918 to 1920. It was, according to family history, given to Dadds as a token of esteem, and he perhaps saw it as a souvenir or lucky charm, rather like a rabbit’s foot.  The tabua is not so easily dismissed however; it comes with gravitas and history that invites curiosity and thereby further investigation. This work is based on a review of selected historical accounts of life in Fiji in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and some more recent anthropological studies. Its limitations are many, but it has been fashioned as an honest attempt to provide non-Fijians with an overview of the significance of the whale’s tooth in traditional Fijian society. The main source of this information has been published histories of Fiji, often written by Methodist preachers and Government officials.  Academics, especially anthropologists, have contributed more information to the historical record, but the native voice is almost absent in these accounts.  The scope of this work is limited to the period early 1800s – 1920s.  It is also intended to place the tabua given to Reverend Dadds into this context so that it may be appreciated as much more than an amulet. Any errors or omissions are entirely the fault of the author and no offence is intended to any person or group.

Website launch PDF  | Print |
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:00

In mid December this year Peter Jenkinson launched his new website Jenkinson Antiques, offering a kaleidoscope of old world treasures and antique curiosities from all over the world. The main feature of the site, however, will be the Australian antiques and those of special note will have this significance outlined in some detail. In this way Peter hopes to develop in his audience a better appreciation of local history in South Australia and also to open up the market for interested others. The content is eclectic, interesting and there is always something new to look at and admire, so be sure and visit the site regurlarly.

Peter also offers a range of research services for those who want to know more about their treasured possessions. 


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