Ever since he was a young man, Dr Frank Armer has had a thirst for knowledge – always keen to learn as much as possible about topics he knew nothing about. Lucky to escape Hitler’s Germany with his family as a boy of 13 in 1939, this passion to learn drove him to obtain accountancy qualifications by correspondence once they arrived in Melbourne eight years later after sitting out World War II in Shanghai.
Dr Armer successfully practised accountancy for 10 years before deciding to tackle part-time a law degree at the University of Melbourne followed by a Masters of Law at Monash. A lucrative legal practice was the result of all these endeavours – however, still not satisfied in 1990 he took on a Doctorate of Education, submitting a thesis on the teaching of ethics in Australian law schools in order to achieve it. Now 86 and still a member of the Australian College of Educators while sitting on human research ethics committees at both Melbourne and RMIT, Dr Armer has applied this same enthusiasm for learning to collecting clocks, paintings, Persian carpets and antique furniture, which over the years he and his wife Merlyn used to adorn their home at 24 Tashinny Road, Toorak.
They are now moving to a three-bedroom unit nearby and have asked auctioneer Phil Caldwell to auction much of their collection on site from 11am Sunday April 22. Amongst the finer time piece examples are a Regency period (1830s) silk suspension clock and a gilded palace clock from the same era. Another is a skeleton alarm pulse repeat clock by Honorables of Paris – one of the few made to celebrate the Crystal Palace exhibition in 1851 – while a fourth is a 1790 Hong Kong Ting Tang twin fusee clock with a rocking fo dog automata. Other auction items to feature are an 1860s Pollard oak library bookcase and several fine French furniture pieces including a 19th century Boulle salon cabinet. Important European and Australian paintings include Walter Firle’s The Singing Hour, David Boyd’s The Judge Nosegay, a J.H. Sheltema painting of stockmen and horses and works by Tom Roberts, Fred McCubbin, Jeffrey Smart and Will Ashton.
One of the more interesting auction items is a K. Kawai concert grand piano – bought by Dr Armer at a time when he had visions of becoming a concert pianist. Auction: Sunday April 22 11am Viewing: Friday April 20 Saturday April 21 10am-6pm Sunday April 22 9.30am-10.45am Contact: 0411 529 414