Sunday, August 14, 2016

The David Roche Foundation House Museum

A couple of months ago the David Roche Foundation House Museum was opened.

David Roche(1930-2013) had two major passions in life, collecting art from the 18th and 19th century and owning, showing and judging dogs. His House Museum and Gallery in Melbourne Street pays homage to both.
David was an avid collector of furniture, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, clocks, textiles and even hatpins! Barely a day went by without David adding to his collection. His love of dogs led him to being both a collector of dogs and a distinguished judge of dogs. A pavilion at the Royal Adelaide Show is named after David Roche.

David established the Foundation in 1999. He wanted his collection to be preserved for future generations. A generous gift to the people of South Australia and Australia.

Alan Smith, Director of the State Library of South Australia

Last week I visited the museum as part of a fund raiser for the Australiana Fund  My good friend Alan Smith is a Counsellor on the Fund and my former boss at the ABC, Donald McDonald is the Chair.  The Australiana Fund's purpose is to purchase fine Australian art and furniture for the residences of the Prime Minister and Governor General. 

David was a renown collector and wanted the people of South Australia and Australia to have access to his vast collection. As such his former home, a sandstone Federation Villa called Formoy House, has become the House Museum and the modern extension situated where his dog kennels once stood, has become the gallery. More than 3,000 pieces are on display. It's like a wing of The Louvre.

Portrait of David Roche as a rather dapper young man

David particularly like Afghans.

The Military Dining Room, minus the dining table.

The rooms in the house are themed. The Russian Room is distinguished by its striking royal blue wallpaper.

There are quite a few pieces made from Moldavite - a beautiful green and black stone.

David's bedroom with its inspiration gained from English Regency and French Empire 

The purple amethyst at the base of this chandelier is over an inch thick

The hallway is themed with portraits of horses

Chinese inspired bathroom

Modest kitchen

David certainly wasn't a minimalist

We were told the curtains throughout the house cost in excess of one million dollars.

A carpet made by the maker of carpets for The White House

"The Chinoiserie-theme extends throughout, with an eighteenth-century rock crystal chandelier and a Louis XVI white marble neoclassic demi-lune fireplace. The walls are covered in de Gournay’s bespoke ‘Askew’ Chinoiserie patterned wallpaper.
Pieces of significance include an ormolu-mounted Chest of drawers, c.1820, once belonging to the Duke of Wellington, an Italian blue and gilt-painted bed, the Mortlake Menagerie tapestry, c.1700, and an eighteenth-century Imperial Chinese panel of a Landscape scene with figures." via the Foundation website.

Rock Crystal Chandelier 

Bookings for a tour of the House Museum can be made through the website. 

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