Powerhouse: Museum of applied arts & sciences –
It could have been the jewellery sale of the year, a private collection that would have been the envy of auctioneers. We’re talking about the remarkable personal collection of renowned Sydney antique jewellery dealer Anne Schofield. But Schofield, who at 82 years of age still runs her celebrated shop in Woollahra, is not selling. Instead, she is donating 108 pieces of her rare and historic gemstone jewellery, worth close to $2 million, to Sydney’s Powerhouse museum in a gift that will transform the museum’s collections.
“It’s one of the most significant collection gifts in the Powerhouse’s history,” says the museum’s curator of decorative arts and design, Eva Czernis-Ryl.
The simple pleasure of giving is behind Schofield’s exceptional donation. Schofield has had a long association with the Powerhouse and in 2014 lent 70 significant pieces of jewellery to the museums’ award-winning exhibition A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity, a show so popular that it had to be extended into 2016. She has previously donated individual pieces to the Powerhouse, but this is her greatest gift yet, made with the recognition that Australia’s public museums are in want of the riches seen overseas.
“Having visited the great jewellery collections in the world, in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, in Paris at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in New York at the Metropolitan, I’ve seen these marvellous collections of jewellery and I’ve been very aware that they have been made by donations from private individuals,” Schofield tells Saleroom.
“Since the exhibition in 2014, it’s been my intention to perhaps leave my private collection as a bequest, and then I thought, no, I’m not going to wait until I die I’m going to donate it now and enjoy the pleasure of sharing it.”