Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Novocastrians to experience priceless piece of Australia’s history

MEDIA RELEASE- Newcastle Art Gallery
Newcastle locals will be among the first to connect with a priceless piece of Australia’s colonial history when a series of extraordinarily rare and beautiful paintings from the 1790s – acquired by the State Library of NSW – are unveiled at the Newcastle Art Gallery on 14 February, from 11am – 12pm.

The State Library’s Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, will give a free public talk where he’ll reveal the remarkable story of how six elaborately bound albums, holding over 700 richly detailed drawings and paintings of local plants, birds and fish, languished almost forgotten in an English Earl’s library for over 100 years.

“We hope that people viewing these stunning artworks up-close will get a sense of the excitement the Europeans felt over 200 years ago when they eagerly sought to discover, record and understand the uniqueness of Australia’s natural world,” says Richard Neville, who will share two of the six albums with Newcastle residents.

“The two albums on show are the most beautiful from the collection, and they tell an amazing story from our past,” says Mr Neville.

Richard Neville’s talk could almost be seen as the precursor to a major exhibition which similarly contains striking works that tell an important story of our past. Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie Era, a collection of the most historically important artefacts of colonial era Newcastle ever brought together, will open on March 2 and features works from both the Gallery and State Library’s collections. Treasures of Newcastle is the product of collaboration between two institutions eager to see key historic pieces return to public view in Newcastle.

The TAL & Dai-ichi- Life Collection was purchased with the significant financial support of life insurance specialists and its parent company Dai-ichi- Life, the State Government and the State Library of NSW Foundation. It is freely accessible on the State Library of NSW website with the works of art from all six albums on display in vivid high-resolution detail – http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/natural_world/derby/index.html

Two albums will also travel to Wollongong City Gallery (7 March), Hawkesbury Regional Gallery (8 May) and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (22 May) ahead of a major exhibition at the State Library of NSW in early 2014.

To book for the free talk by Richard Neville on Thursday 14 February, 11am to 12noon, please contact Newcastle Art Gallery on 4974 5100.

Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie Era is on in the Art Gallery2 March – 5 May 2013.

Lucy Costello- Gallery Assistant, Marketing and PR

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grossmann & Brough House Open Day 10th February 10am - 3pm

“Open for Tea & Treasures”

The twin National Trust properties Grossmann and Brough House in Church Street, Maitland will be open to explore with all of Grossmann’s Victorian tea sets on display. In addition Brough House will be displaying historic local photographs by Athol D’Ombrain and the normally mothballed National Trust colonial furniture and other treasures will be on show.

Devonshire teas will be available in the heritage grounds and the normally archived Victorian Textile Collection can be viewed in its entirety “on the big screen”.

Other “Treasures” of the Open Day
Grossmann House – the fully furnished “1870s House”, containing the best National Trust collection of Victoriana in New South Wales.

“Maitland’s Leading Ladies” – Panels portraying the life and times of the three historical leading ladies of Maitland and the Hunter, Janette Grossmann, Cecily Mitchell and Eleanor Hinder. The Grossmann collection of Cecily Mitchell artwork will be on show as well as Janette Grossmann's portable writing desk (Tonbridge)

Pixie O’Harris Mural – Pixie O’Harris MBE (1903-1991) was an artist, author and illustrator of childrens “fairy” pictures and stories. The large mural depicts a fantasy setting with children animals and birds. She was the aunt of Rolf Harris.

1930s School Display. Beryl Melville attended Maitland Girls High School at the Grossmann House site in the 1930s. She enjoyed her school days so much she kept a lot of her school work books, including her exam papers and even the timetable, for the rest of her life. These items have been donated to her old school site and will be on display in Brough House.

Anyone becoming a new member of the National Trust at the Open Day will have the joining fee waived (a saving of over $30). The normal membership fee still applies.

Hidden deep in the artifact archives of the National Trust some mystery tea cups have been discovered.
They have no known provenance and have never been on show in Grossmann House - until now!
Who knows the origin of these cups? How old are they? Are they Trash or Treasure?
The cups have a Chinese design pattern and a makers mark, but are so far unidentified. They are not even on the National Trust accession register.
A cup from the set will be on display in Grossmann House throughout the Open Day and we hope that experts in the crockery field passing through can identify it.
Also on show for the first time at Grossmann will be an ornate matching silver tea set comprising of a tea pot, coffee pot, sugar bowl and milk jug. These items are definitely treasure. Come in and discover their provenance.
All Mad Hatters and Alice's welcome!!!