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Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

Bill Rau

M.S. Rau Antiques

Led by third-generation owner and published fine art expert Bill Rau, M.S. Rau Antiques has grown by leaps and bounds since his grandfather Max Rau opened the doors in 1912 to a then-small antiques store in the heart of New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Bill's extensive knowledge and reputation as a leader places him among the most respected antique experts and gallery owners today.

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau Antiques is among the premier antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our 25,000 square foot gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, created by legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, and our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

A Table of 1,000 Words: The “History of Australia” Billiard Table

The "History of Australia" billiard table is considered among the most important ever created
The "History of Australia" billiard table is considered among the most important ever created
(M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans)
The Prince of Wales' symbolism denote this historic table's royal provenance
The Prince of Wales' symbolism denote this historic table's royal provenance
(M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans)
  • Australia's Aboriginal roots are depicted in the magnificent high-relief carving that covers this table

    Australia's Aboriginal roots are depicted in the magnificent high-relief carving that covers this table

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

One of the most fascinating aspects of collecting antiques is the story each piece has to tell. Each and every antique and work of art in our 30,000 square-foot French Quarter gallery embodies a moment in history that makes it beyond compare.

This breathtaking billiard table is certainly no exception. Known as the "History of Australia" Billiard Table, this award-winning, hand-carved masterpiece with a matching score board has it all: royal provenance, peerless craftsmanship and an impressive international exhibition history to boot.

Carved from Australian blackwood by renowned carver George Billyeald, for the Benjamin Hulbert furniture firm in Sydney, this billiard table is recognized as the most outstanding example of Australian woodcarving ever created. Ten massive panels form the basis of the outstanding design, which details the entire history of this wonderful country with breathtaking carvings. From the depictions of the native Aborigines in the bush and the Prince of Wales plumes, to the myriad of native flora and fauna executed in eloquently high relief, every inch of its design is a tribute to the land Down Under.

After its display at numerous international exhibitions, including the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, this set was sent on loan to Buckingham Palace, where it was admired by Queen Victoria and actually used by the Prince of Wales himself. In fact, the Royal family even offered to purchase the table, but Hulbert refused the offer!

The table subsequently made a world-wide journey after leaving the palace, going at some point back to Australia, then onto locales including New Zealand, Paris, New York, London, finding it's way back to the United States and, eventually, into the M.S. Rau Antiques' collection.

Beauty, rarity, history...it simply doesn't get much better than this. Pieces of this magnitude find their way onto the market once in a lifetime-if you're lucky.

To learn more about the History of Australia Billiard Table, click here

 

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