Sunday, 24 July 2016

A jewel in our city

Before I start I do have to warn you there are an awful lot of photos in this post but do click on them to get a closer look if you adore decorative arts as I do.......and these are not your average pieces! Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the brand new David Roche Foundation Museum with a visitor from Victoria - Annette and her gorgeous daughter. Annette was in a class with me some months back and when she told me she was coming to Adelaide this was a must (Carrick Hill was closed!)......
 The museum has only been open a few weeks and one must pre-book a session online and you will see why shortly!  As an introduction I would like to quote from David Roche in his forward of a catalogue from an exhibition the Art Gallery of South Australia held some years back.......

"I attended my first dog show at the age of nine, and owned my first antique at seventeen. I have been very fortunate throughout my life to be able to indulge in my two great passions: dogs and antiques. Both have taken me around the world many times and have introduced me to many and varied people who have added colour to my life (he especially mentions Carlton Hobbs who changed his life).  Through my travels I have come to realise that my two great passions have much in common. The 'eye' that is required to be a top dog judge can be equally applied to antiques. With the eye comes the ability to assess things quickly and easily." 

Before David died in 2013 he established the foundation with his express wish that his home and a new adjoining museum be available for the public to view. He specified that there were to be no roped off areas and no labels on items in the house - it was to be as it was when he lived in it. What a wonderfully generous man and what an amazing collection and all here in Adelaide where I live. First some external views of David's home and the new adjoining museum.............













 As you enter you are served plunger coffee or tea and homemade biscuits. Then one takes a seat to watch a short film amongst marble statues one of them being a bust of King George IV attributed to Samuel Joseph c.1830......and I was sitting close to David's walking stick collection with most handles being an animal.........

The museum has several rooms and one begins to get a sense of what a grand collector he was............



 This micro mosaic Bacchante table c.1810 is attributed to Clemente Ciuli from Italy and the base from France.......



 In the corner behind the chair is a lamp from a Venetian gondola because David just had to have one...........
 The cupboards and cabinets were full of Meissen, Chelsea and many other precious pieces. Here a Chelsea piece 'The Music Lesson' c.1760.........

 A Meissen dish from the Swan service c.1738 and a French clock c.1750.....
 One room was devoted to David's love of dogs and it was extra special having the Senior Curator Robert Reason explain it all. I have known Robert for several years in his previous position of Decorative Arts Curator at the Art Gallery......what a job he has now! The painting he is pointing to is of a Papillon by Jakob Bogdany c.1710........
 As you leave these rooms you pass by the courtyard back into the house.........

 Here the Russian room full of malachite and gilded bronze pieces.........
 This is all in David's home and as he lived....truly spectacular........
 David's bedroom and what grandeur to wake up to each morning.........
 In the cabinets were more Meissen, Faberge, Coalport, Derby and much more and below a pair of Gardner porcelain plates from the Russian Empire......





In the bedroom were also a pair of gorgeous Chippendale chairs c.1810 either side of a Carl Scheeche games table c.1835.....
This Imperial hand seal belonged to the Russian Emperor Alexander I c.1825.......


Up high some very large pieces of Wedgwood and Bentley c.1769-80 
Another micro mosaic table.......
A walk down the hallway and into the room where David spent his evenings and surrounded by an enormous collection of Staffordshire ceramics most of them animals.......





Another special room and a Louis Moinet Urn clock c.1810.......
These chairs are extra special and are attributed to Giacomo Quarenghi c.1790 and there is one other of the same design in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.....and here in Adelaide stands two!.........





This room was full of military antiques and included this John Broadwood and Sons pianoforte c.1803 of rosewood, brass and ivory and ebony.....(the Victoria and Albert  Museum has one too)......
Thomas Hope fire screens c.1807......these would protect one's face from the fireplace.......
Even the kitchen was full of delights.........

I especially look forward to returning and seeing more of these cross stitch samplers and stump work pieces.......




There are over 3,000 items in the collection and I think if I visited every week for a year I still wouldn't see it all! What an incredibly generous man to plan all this before he died and I certainly look forward to many more visits. (And thanks Annette for sharing this first extraordinary visit with me!)