Art Dealer in the Last Unknown Ron Perry and New Guinea Art by Carolyn Leigh and Ron Perry

March 15, 2011 at 4:06 am (Papua New Guinea) (, , )

Only US $35 + US $15 postage to Australia (With the value of the Aussie $ a very good deal!)

Art Dealer in the Last Unknown

Art Dealer in the Last Unknown is a narrative and visual experience down memory lane for those who know Ron Perry, New Guinea and many of the people mentioned in the book.  To see the mighty Sepik River again and to be introduced into the rich cultural heritage of the region and how Ron was able to access it and collect amazing examples of Sepik art is a telling tale of enterprise and adventure. Names of legendary characters pop up throughout the account: Peter and Meg England, Bob Mackie, Chu Leong, Freddie Eichhorn, Neils and Mary Madsen, Jim McKinnon, Fr John O’Toole, Margaret Mead, Peter Johnson, John Pasquarelli, Ludwig Somare, Michael Somare, Don Bosgard (mistakenly spelt ‘Bosquard’), Ron and Ella Lucas, Johnny Young, Daniel Guren and many others. All these names conjure up in my mind numerous untold stories. To be introduced to Ron’s former wife, Barbara, again reminds me of what she once said to me at their house in Abbottsford, Sydney, the morning after Ron and I had been on a lively drinking day and evening session: “David, if Ron ever develops cirrhosis of the liver, it’s you I’m going to sue.”  I didn’t know the story about Bob Mackie unknowingly peeing on ‘the Pork Pie King of England’, who incidentally was , if I recall correctly, Norm Ferris, but I always understood it was Doug Newton, but perhaps it was both of them. The profusion of place names like Angoram, Amboin, Dreikikir, Maprik, Wewak.Yangoru and Tobacco Road cannot fail to captivate the local and expat reader. 

And for those who are entering the unknown for the first time, a thrilling and informative experience awaits them. 

The photos in the book are excellent and numerous. 

This is a piece of work that is informed by the variety of Ron Perry’s experiences and enriched with the artistry and presentation of Carolyn Leigh. 

It is highly recommended to all old New Guinea hands and to those of a curious, artistic and adventurous turn of mind.



  1. Thomas Murry Slimmon said,

    Ron Perry,

    I always said you were not a bad bloke for a Yank. I can say this about you, you weren’t collecting at government expense. Unlike some I can think of, that Dutch doctor for one.
    You put good money into the river even if at times you paid too much.
    As you know I was always a quality collector and was prepared to sweat it out in a village to get a choice piece. I don’t know if you had the same persistence, but you were always a good example of private enterprise on the river.
    Heathcote may have beaten me to a piece or two, but not often.
    Some rotten bastard or bastards pinched a consignment of Pete’s and mine in Madang and I’m still on the lookout for whom it was.
    Young Dave Wall fancied himself as having an eye for a good piece, an illusion! He wouldn’t get a knock in a brothel, but still not a bad young fellow. An improvement on most of those government officers, the least said on that matter the better.
    You know I’ve been out of the artefact business for some time, but I’ve got a good thing going from where I am now. Fr Lehner and I have ended up in the same place, you might be surprised to hear this. He’s still as sharp as ever, but he’ll not put one over on me.
    That Catholic Mission in saving souls cornered the artefact market. I’d like to get my hands on some of those Vatican Museum pieces; Lehner’s got an in there.
    Back to your book, Ron, good work and don’t be in any hurry to join me here!

    I’d never give you a right hook and for that matter a Middle Sepik hook, but a bit of good advice, look to the Blackwater River!

    Your eternal friend,


  2. Carolyn Leigh and Ron Perry said,

    Is this Peter Johnson channeling Tom?

    Anyone who would like a copy of Art Dealer in the Last Unknown, link to the suppliers on

    Thanks, Dave, for a nice review of our book. Carolyn

    • Greg Waite said,

      I have tried to buy the book Carolyn but the vendor never finalises. How do I obtain a signed copy. Can you give me the email of someone who is interested in shipping to New Zealand?I hope all is well there. Love from us both. Greg Waite.

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