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  • Ricketts settled permanently in Mount Dandenong in 1934 (now known as the William Ricketts Sanctuary) to work on his sculptures and, over 50 years, transformed an area of old growth eucalypt forest into a unique place of spiritual renewal and quiet reflection.

One of the best freestanding self-portraits of sculptor William Ricketts to be seen at auction will be offered from 11am Sunday at 66 Claremont Avenue, Malvern by auctioneer Phil Caldwell. Featured with an Aboriginal child and possum, the sculpture (like all his works) was inspired by Aboriginal tradition and culture observed during frequent trips to central Australia where he lived with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte people.

Born in 1898, Ricketts settled permanently in Mount Dandenong in 1934 (now known as the William Ricketts Sanctuary) to work on his sculptures and, over 50 years, transformed an area of old growth eucalypt forest into a unique place of spiritual renewal and quiet reflection. The Malvern venue belongs to the widow of a successful Italian businessman who recently died and contains several other Ricketts works (including six lizard and kangarooadorned coolamons originally used by Aborigines to carry seeds and berries) and a range of quality antiques and collectibles purchased from the former Acorn Antiques and other High Street Armadale stores. Of particular note is a burr walnut dining table that seats 12, according to Phil Caldwell one of only two he has seen in Melbourne.

The family also purchased several pieces of modern art including an early John Kelly painting, a major Charles Blackman work two metres long, a rare David Boyd from his Dancing Judge series and two paintings by Andrew Sibley. Other works include a Charles Dickerson oil and traditional paintings by Jan Hendrick Scheltema and Alfred Strutt. One of the more unusual items is a four-metre long scroll of an 1860 Peking street scene by Chinese artist Li Chang Ma amongst an oriental collection that includes a Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) horse and a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD) moonflask.

There also are Japanese okimono figures, three rare shubyama tusks inlaid with mother of pearl, and two matching art nouveau Louis Marjorelle library bookcases illustrated in a 2002 Christies catalogue. Auction: Sunday June 19 11am Viewing: Friday June 17 Saturday June 18 10am-6pm Sunday June 19 9.30am-11am Contact: 0411 529 414.