The Hetherington Collection at Auction

Theodore Bruce is delighted to bring to auction the Hetherington Collection, a beautiful selection of vintage and antique homewares & collectables from the estate of Norman Frederick Hetherington OAM – an Australian artist, cartoonist and puppeteer, best known for his much loved television character Mr Squiggle.

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Portrait of Norman Hetherington performing his lightning sketch act during a concert in August 1944 | Image Public Domain

A rising talent

Born in Balmain in 1921, Norman Hetherington studied fine art at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) before enlisting in the army in 1941. Officers soon discovered his skill as a lightning sketch artist – and he went on to entertain troops in Australia, Dutch New Guinea and New Britain with lightning sketches and caricatures.

Norman had sold his first cartoon to The Bulletin in 1938 at just 17 and he continued to sell cartoons to publications back home during the war. A week after leaving the army in 1945, he joined The Bulletin as a staff cartoonist, creating full-page cartoons, caricatures and political cartoons with the journal until 1961.

In 1949 Norman tried his hand at something new – creating his first puppet using an old bicycle inner tube and following instructions in Popular Science Monthly. This sparked a lifelong love of puppetry and a dedication to using wherever possible, recycled objects in their construction.

Mr Squiggle, a puppet character created by Norman Hetherington, dressed in yellow with a red tie, black arms & legs and white gloves, with blue hair and a pencil for a noseA master of puppets

Throughout the 1950s, Norman performed puppet shows in Sydney theatres and department stores. The arrival of television in Australia in 1956 presented a new opportunity. With the help of artist Annette Macarthur-Onslow, Norman performed with puppet characters Nicky and Noodle on the first night of ABC TV.

It was the beginning of a long association with TV puppetry for Norman – with Nicky and Noodle running until 1959, Jolly Gene and his Fun Machine on Channel 7…  and many others. Most notably, he created Mr Squiggle, a gentle character with a pencil for a nose who came down from the Moon and turned ‘squiggles’ sent in by young viewers into funny drawings and cartoons. It ran from 1959 until 1999.

Norman married Margaret Purnell in 1958 and as other characters – Rocket, Blackboard, Bill Steamshovel and Gus – joined Mr Squiggle, she became the writer of the show’s scripts.

His many Honours include the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), Penguin Awards, Children’s Variety Award and The Australian Cartoonists’ Association Jim Russell Award.

Royal Crown Devon Ewer Depicting a Peacock & Peahen

The Hetherington Collection

The Hetherington Collection features a wonderful selection of fine art, antiques & collectables including porcelain & silverware, antique & garden furniture, Australian studio pottery, antique timber tools, costume jewellery & collectables.

Among the highlights are several original signed newspaper cartoons from British & Australian illustrators, plus works on paper from artists including Adam Cullen, Elisabeth Cummings, Bernard Partridge and Loudon Sainthill.

Other highlights include a Victorian Carved Mahogany Brown Leather Chaise Lounge, an antique Columbia Grafonola Hand Crank Tabletop Wind Up Victrola (pictured below), beautiful vintage opera glasses, and at left, a stunning Royal Crown Devon Ewer Depicting a Peacock & Peahen.

An Antique Columbia Grafonola, Graphophone Hand Crank Tabletop Wind Up VictrolaAuction Details

The Hetherington Collection
Sunday 18 June | 11am
In Our Rooms | Stanmore
Enquiries: Casi Prischl

Theodore Bruce is Australia’s oldest family run auction house, offering regular auctions in all collecting areas – including fine art, books, collectables, Asian arts, decorative arts & Oceanic & tribal art.

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