Date: Sunday 20 October

Location: Sydney

Theodore Bruce is excited to be offering the Collection of the Late Laurie Seaman on October 20 at 11 am in our Ralph Street Rooms.

Laurie Seaman (1929-2019)  came from a family who collected.

His maternal grandmother’s family, before coming to Australia, were English antiquarians who travelled widely on the Continent looking for collectibles and furniture.

His grandfather collected crystals and stones.

Laurie’s exposure to collecting began early, as his mother saved every letter he ever wrote to her from the time he was started boarding school aged 6 to the end of her life. He then kept them for the rest of his life. So, it was unsurprising that Laurie began collecting stamps as a school boy  & his brother Bruce, has arguably, the best collection of New Guinea tribal artefacts outside the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

His father, W.Laurie Seaman, born in 1894, in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York was a civil engineer & 1915 joined the US Army & served as a pilot. He resumed his career as a civil engineer & emigrated to Sydney in 1925, working for Ernest W Bell & by 1928 was a partner in the firm & married to Bell’s daughter Christiana, in August of that year he travelled to the Snowy Mountains staying in the Hotel Kosciusko, he and another skiier were caught in a blizzard and he died at the early age of 34. The Seaman Memorial Hut was created in Kosciuko.  He left behind his wife & eldest child Bruce, Laurie was born in January 1929.

His father’s Seaman Quaker family, arrived in the US in 1640, prospered, keeping a library of rare and beautiful books, some of which Laurie inherited.

He was a young university student at the time of the inheritance & he was able to house only a small portion of the collection, it was about this time that he began his eclectic collecting.

Laurie was also civil engineer, graduating from MIT in 1956, his career took him on projects from Italy to Burma & Uganda.

He married late in life & was thus free of the usual family commitments enabling him to take on projects in far flung corners of the world, so he was always able to combine exotic travel when working on a project, inspiring his collecting. For example whilst working on an aid project, building a university in the Communist Republic of Burma, at the time a closed country, he became fascinated by the richness of the artefacts of that country, collecting many during that time.

He was drawn to objects in the third dimension, a trait shared by sculptors and engineers, a view held by a Tom Clark, a dear sculptor friend, he had a special love of sculpture.

Another interest was the primitive art and artefacts of simple unspoilt Third World communities. He was one of the early adventurers to travel up the Sepik River in PNG, with his collector brother Bruce, returning with some fine examples – and as with his Burmese collection, added to them later with purchases from galleries in Sydney, London and Paris.

He was also one of the earlier trekkers who gravitated to Nepal in the ‘60’s where he acquired simple everyday objects from the local people he came in contact with and befriended.

When travelling he always had a eye out for junk shops turning up an old milk urn here or a discarded camp kettle there or perhaps an old wind up gramophone.

While Laurie’s preferred travels were confined to the remote, the extreme and the exotic, his wife Liz, who he married in 1997, said that when they found themselves in the big cities the first thing Laurie always did was to search out the small galleries looking for the unusual.

Over the years he acquired more paintings than he had walls to hang them.

We look forward to Welcoming you to the Viewings on Friday 18 October 10am-5pm & Saturday 19 October 10am-4pm & to the Auction on Sunday 20 October at 10.30 am

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