April 2019 | Wai Lin Coultas
WESTBURY HAS a few surprises for antique lovers, so over the next few months, the Gazette will shine a light on some of the undiscovered treasures. Rick Prevost and Sally Spencer’s personable antiques and collectables have been collected over a lifetime, its broad spectrum appealing to a wide variety of tastes.
The antique business is a pop-up sited in the historic Georgian property ‘The Willows’, bought two years ago by Sally’s daughter Fiona, Bracknell born-and-bred. Currently based in Melbourne, Fiona, husband and family are waiting for permits and building approval for the much-needed restoration. During the wait, Sally and Rick are the building’s caretakers.
Realising the building’s historical significance in Westbury, Rick and Sally encourage people browsing their shop to explore, happy to meet the huge range of visitors who show an interest in its history. “Having the antique store has become incidental to that,” shares Sally. “Like the community in Westbury, we want to ensure the history of the town is kept and looked after.”
Hence, they are taking great pains to ensure the “Willows” is restored to former glory of 1837. Over years to come, they plan on not only furnishing it with 1830s to 1850s antiques, but to keep updating with better finds. In the end, Fiona and family will be custodians of a home that best preserves the history of Westbury and Tasmania.
Rick has only ever collected quality antiques in good condition, restoring them if needed, paying particular attention to the finish to avoiding the pitfall of “over polishing to an inch of its life.” Rick’s furniture hails from the colonial period right through to the modern. Cedar, Huon Pine, Mahogany – built all over Australia, and acquired from local and Hobart auctions – Rick was drawn to either its history, material or builder’s signature. “Preferably a Tasmanian builder,” adds Rick. From “brown” or “rusty” furniture, jewellery, china, ceramics and glassware of all eras, including chalices done for Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s wedding, ‘The Willows’ is filled with eclectic period items that would still enhance a modern home.
Rick’s interest in history extends to the military, hence a propeller from a World War II training aircraft is on offer. Metal tools, rabbit traps, handmade convict bolts and hinges –a pair of convict leg irons - rare in Tasmania as the rare stuff “all goes to the museums and collectors … in Sydney.” There is even a John Glover painting of an English lake and castle – 1806, before his time in colonial Tasmania.
Customers come look at the house and go away with a piece of it. Westbury customers recount long lost memories relating to the history of the ‘The Willows’. They may have lived there once or have family who did. Interested in Rick and Sally’s pop-up store? Better pop by before spring, when building restorations are likely to start.
Cannot find that specific antique you are looking for? Prepared to wait? Let auction experts Rick and Sally find it for you. The Westbury Willows popup can be found at 115 Meander Valley Road , Westbury. Sally Spencer can be contacted on 0408 570 830 and Rick Prevost on 0408 135 510.