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.


Second Valley Jetty Painting PDF  | Print |
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 14:42


Oil Painting of the Second Valley Jetty

The oil painting of the jetty at Second Valley measures 430 x 330 mm. It is signed LHS by G.F. (Gertrude Florence) Yeates and dates from after 1911, because that was the date the jetty was extended, as per this painting. Images on the next page from the State Library show the old jetty as it was in 1904 and the new extended one which was opened in 1911.

The rear of the painting has two inscriptions:

 "Painted by Miss Gertrude Yeates

one of the pioneering families"


"Second Valley 59
where One and All original
sail ship and others
loaded wheat from the
surrounding district"

The Yeates painting shows a stormy day at the jetty, with the cliffs shrouded in mist and just a hint of sunshine. The green on the hill- top also suggests it is winter. Unless the painting was done on a stormy day in the first fortnight of 1959, which is unlikely, the 59 refers to Gertrude's year of demise rather than the painting's date (she died 19th January 1959).

Second Valley Jetty today

The image of the jetty today shows not much has changed: there is more guard rail and electric light, and the track with its grain carriages is gone, but the scene remains the same. Yeates has clearly benefited from some art instruction and her painting shows competent treatment of the subject matter. Art classes were a popular diversion for the upper middle class Adelaidians at the turn of the century and women were encouraged to attend. The date of the work appears to be about 1920 or so, based on the picture's style, frame and framing technique.

Jetty 1904  Jetty 1911 
On the left a photo the jetty from 1904 and right one from 1911 after the extension of the jetty at Second Valley.

Gertrude Florence Yeates was a member of an old pioneering family from the south coast (Fleurieu Peninsula). She was the daughter of George Barr Yeates, who arrived in South Australia with his father John Luther Yeates, and the rest of the family on January 22, 1839, aboard the "Bardaster" from England. Her mother was Louisa Rebecca Powell, daughter of Thos. Wm. Powell who had arrived in SA on 4 April 1849 in the "Sir Charles Forbes". The above information, from a book on the Yeates family by George C Morphett in 1942, reflects the colonial obsession with pedigree. Miss Yeates was born in Norwood on the 6th September 1865 and died on the 19th January 1959. She is buried in the Anglican cemetery at Prospect, South Australia.  


The painting was purchased from a private estate in Torrens Park in May 2013. It is in very good condition. See also our catalogue.

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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