British art lover digs up Goldfields mining gems in op shop 14,000km away

Tom ZaunmayrKalgoorlie Miner
Artwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop.
Camera IconArtwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop. Credit: John Sztermula

A Brit has picked up three works from a beloved Goldfields artist at a thrift shop in England for the princely sum of £6 ($12).

Peter Yorke was perusing an air ambulance charity shop in Westbury, Wiltshire, when a stack of framed pictures under a table caught his eye.

They were created in 1972 and depict Williamstown, the old British Arms Hotel and what appears to be an open pit mine in the pre-Super Pit days.

The prints were from the hand of the late Johannes (John) Sztermula, a prolific Kalgoorlie-Boulder artist whose work is on display in the halls of State Parliament.

Artwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop.
Camera IconArtwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop. Credit: John Sztermula

Mr Yorke said his appreciation for the social value of art and history drew him to the pictures.

“This shop puts them flat instead of stood up, so you never know how much broken glass there will be,” he said.

“I have no idea why they were in the UK, though there are a number of quarries in the area.

“Westbury has lost a large cement plant in the past few years, so it may have been a geologist who had gone to Kalgoorlie.

Artwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop.
Camera IconArtwork by the late John Sztermula uncovered in a British thrift shop. Credit: John Sztermula

“Westbury is also near to an army barracks and they go all over the world and exchange personnel for training.”

Sztermula was well-known for his love of the Goldfields bush, often depicting it in his works.

His 1964 oil painting of Leonora was added to the Parliament House art collection in 2008, three years before Sztermula’s death in August 2011.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails