Publications of Interest

New publications on Australian decorative arts and related to Australian decorative arts and objects can be sent to The Book Review Editor at the Australiana Society for review at the following address:

The Book Review Editor
The Australiana Society
P.O. Box 2335
Bondi Junction NSW 1355

Books sent in for review will not be returned unless you contact The Book Review Editor via to pay for the costs of return packaging and postage.

The reviews are published in the the Australiana magazine.

Recent books

The Men who made the Celebrated Chairs. Windsor chair-making in Tasmania, Denis Lake. Published by Pagunta Press, Launceston, 2016. Hard cover, 173pp. The Peddle chair is well known to colonial furniture collectors and has an especially strong following in Tasmania. The chairs made from blackwood, have steadily risen in price and good sets command premium prices for what is a basic kitchen chair of the late Victorian to Edwardian period. Denis Lake, Launceston furniture restorer has studied and researched the chairs and the men who made them, George Peddle and his brother-in-law, Harry Hearn. The book covers the historical aspects of the Peddle chair making business, with much information sourced from family records, followed by a detailed examination of chair styles/types and how the chairs were made.

Available from the author, Denis Lake 03 6344 8694 or, $99 including p&p (for Australian addresses).


John Campbell Pottery - Recollections & Collections, Kevin Power. Published by Kevin Power, 2014. Hard cover, 168pp. The book is a very welcomed reference on John Campbell pottery. It provides a fascinating history on the founding and operation of Campbell's Pottery, together with a wealth of information on the wide range of Campbell pottery ware. The pottery ware is discussed in detail, including marks, shapes, production period, styles, glazes and, where known, the Campbell family members who were involved with its production. A catalogue is included in the book with approximately 225 entries of pottery ware examples. For those with an interest in pottery and Australiana, this is an essential reference to be added to the shelves of your cedar bookcase.

Available from the author,, $85 plus $25 p&p.

The Sydney Punchbowl, Elizabeth Ellis. Hordern House, 2013. Hard cover, 225 x 153 mm, 135pp. Hordern House commissioned Elizabeth Ellis OAM, the Emeritus Mitchel Librarian, to research the background to the Chinese export porcelain punchbowl which was presented to the Mitchell Library in 1926. The Punchbowl is painted with scenes of the colony dated to about 1814. This was part of a wider project to reproduce a limited edition of 25 faithful copies. These were made by a team of skilled artists in the Chinese porcelain centre of Jingdezhen.

The book is divided into short chapters which cover the China trade, porcelain manufacture, the manufacture of the bowls, other Chinese services made for Australia, punches and punchbowls, panoramas, comparative painted views that relate to the punchbowl and the monograms. Another chapter refers to the companion bowl, which was acquired in 2006 by the Australian National Maritime Museum. The book splendidly combines text with relevant illustrations.

Available at Hordern House $35.00.

Cayley and son: the life and art of Neville Henry Cayley and Neville William Cayley, Penny Olsen. National Library of Australia, 2013. Large quarto, 236pp. This is the first book dealing with both Cayleys: the father-and-son pair of bird artists. The book surveys the lives and works of Neville senior and Neville junior. A must have book for the Cayley fans and aficionados. This book was recently launched at the Mosman Library with an exhibition of more than 50 Cayley paintings in April this year. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with colour and black and white illustrations.

Penny Olsen is a research scientist and natural history writer. Based at the Australian National University in Canberra, she is the author of numerous publications including Glimpses of Paradise: The Quest for the Beautiful Parrakeet (2007), A Brush with Birds: Bird Art in the National Library of Australia (2008) and Upside Down World: Early European Impressions of Australia's Curious Animals (2010).

Available at specialist bookstores and online bookshops, from $42.50.

 Early Australian Silver - The Houstone Collection, J. M. Houstone. Almost as soon as Australia was first settled by Europeans, local manufacture of silver articles began. Their historic significance and artistic qualities would have been forgotten if not for the inspired work of a few dealers and collectors, including John Houstone, who reassessed and collected the widely scattered surviving products of dozens of colonial silversmiths.
The Houstone Collection, documented in this book with photographs of hundreds of examples and biographies of their makers, contains the best array of silver from the convict era, and a broad general representation of later colonial silver from all over Australia. Not only are early silversmiths identified in this lavishly illustrated book, but its new insights enrich our understanding of Australia in colonial times. Copies of the book can be purchased by contacting Halstead Press, Unit 66, 89-97 Jones Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007. (Special offer to Australiana members have been sent via email and post.)

 Artware to Utility - The Story of Modern Ceramic Products & Mingay, Ted Impey (Author). Modern Ceramic Products (MCP) started from a small hobby kiln under a verandah in 1944. The business was subsequently acquired and fully absorbed by PGH in 1965. The hard cover book of 174 pages contains more than 800 colour photographs of MCP pottery and more than 100 pieces in black and white photographs, as well as original price lists, catalogues, advertisments, relevant newspapers items, and potter's marks and foil labels. Copies of the book can be ordered from the webiste The book can also be purchased for $75 at the National Museum of Australian Pottery where there is an exhibition of MCP pottery until 31st July 2012.


Scrimshaw - "The Ancient Art of the Mariner", Colin S. Thomas (Author & Publisher), copyright 2011. Catalogue of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival Scrimshaw Exhibition held in February 2011, Commissariat Store, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery. The catalogue documents the 292 items in the exhibition with more than 50 colour photographs and includes a brief introduction and history of scrimshaw in Tasmania. Copies of the book can be purchased by contacting the author at P.O. Box 999, Rosny Park, TAS 7018.




Marks on Australian Silver 1950-2005, Christine Erratt, Parker Press, copyright 2010. Excerpt from the dust jacket: 'Marks on Australian Silver 1950-2005' covers an exciting era of Australian silversmithing. It provides an easy-to-use source for identifying the marks made by makers and retailers. The resumes of over 300 makers and retailers are recorded and photographic images of close to 600 different marks are presented. In his Foreword, Emeritus Professor Ray Stebbins states: "For the foreseeable future this invaluable compilation of Australian marks on silver will serve as the principal identification resource for connoisseurs, academics, curators and students." Copies of the book can be purchased at   



Brilliant Australian Gold and Silver 1851 - 1950, edited by Eva Czernis-Ryl, Powerhouse Publishing, copyright 2011. Excerpt from the book's foreword: "Brilliant outlines developments of the first century of gold and silversmithing in Australia - from the gold rush era to the 1940s. From the period that could bring anyone instant wealth, to that notorious for bringing instant misery during the Great Depression. Part one is a major revision of the leading essay published in the book Australian gold and silver 1851 - 1900 that accompanied this Museum's 1995 exhibition of the same title. Its new insights and findings are bound to delight and surprise. Part two, 1901 - 1950, provides the long awaited overview of the 'in between' epoch that bridged colonial practices with those of the crafts movement of the second part of the 20th century. Bringing to light patrons, designers, makers and entrepreneurs and their objects and stories, the book significantly enriches our understanding of this vibrant period of one of Australia's first and most distinctive creative industries." 


Rare & Curious The Secret History of Governor Macquarie's Collectors' Chest, Elizabeth Ellis, The Miegunyah Press, copyright 2010. Excerpt from the back cover: "RARE & CURIOUS uncovers the secret histories of the Macquarie and Dixson Galleries collectors' chests for the first time, telling stories of ambition and failure, friendship and betrayal, intrigue and mystery. The Macquarie collectors' chest, an enigmatic wooden cabinet filled with painted panels and exotic treasures, was created in Australia for Governor Lachlan Macquarie in around 1818. It was taken to the United Kingdom, and languised forgotten and unnoticed in a Scottish castle until it was rediscovered in the late 1970s. The Mitchell Librray of New South Wales acquired the chest, and its remarkable similarity to the Dixson Galleries collectors' chest, acquired by the Library in 1937, raised intriguing questions about the cabinets' creators, owners and purpose. Filled with more than 150 stunning photographs and paintings, Rare & Curious presents these unusual and beautiful chests within a lavishedly produced, elegant book".



Gold & Silversmithing in Western Australia: A History, Dorothy Erickson, UWA Publishing, copyright 2010. Excerpt from the inside cover: "This book is a distillation of doctoral research and tells the story of the many talented gold and silversmiths who have lived in Western Australia. It places the jewellery and silver plate, the craftspeople and the owners in the stylistic, social and economic milieu in which the works were created. Influences are traced and innovation highlighted. Pride in local content - materials, imagery or expertise - can be seen as a continuing thread. Artists, craftsmen and clients have remained persistently loyal to local themes while working or commissioning within international idioms. The best work of each era can take, or has taken, its place in the international arena being not only of its place but also of its time".