Current Exhibition

The Pursuit of Pattern

The sumptuous decoration of architectural interiors and the many varied objects that inhabited them was at the heart of creating lavish 18th and 19th century homes in Europe and Britain. David Roche had a great affinity for this style of decorating and the exhibition The Pursuit of Pattern explores the fashion for inlaid surface patterns on furniture and objets d’art as well as jewellery.

The exhibition reawakens the passion for, and beauty of, the near-lost techniques of working in marquetry, pietra dure, hardstones, micromosaics and more. Enjoy exquisite marquetry furniture in exotic timbers and superb glass mosaic pictures laid into table tops achieved by the most highly-skilled craftsmen working in Europe. An appreciation for pattern and semi-precious materials was similarly employed in the creation of micromosaic jewellery and small boxes as souvenirs of the Italian Grand Tour. The ‘taste’ for inlaid pattern was insatiable and the techniques rose to the challenge of creating pieces which now, in the 21st century, are viewed as splendid curiosities of lost arts.

Drawn from the extensive holdings of The David Roche Collection as well as private collections in Australia, The Pursuit of Pattern is a rare occasion to consider the virtues of pattern and the handmade.

Gallery 3

22 January – 29 June 2019

Tickets: Adult $7, Concession $5, Children under 5 free

(Ticket covers entry to The Pursuit of Pattern, Régence & Rococo and Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire)


Current Exhibition

Régence & Rococo: Portraits and porcelain

The title of the display reflects David Roche’s ideal notion of beauty, whether it be the physical object or attributes of a person. Rococo’s more relaxed and informal style owed a debt to nature which suited David’s desire to bring the garden in doors. Not surprisingly, the rococo style is well-represented in the collection through furniture, porcelain, metalware, and portrait paintings.

The exhibition begins with a superb portrait of Duc d’Orleans and Madame De Parabere daringly titled Adam and Eve, c.1716, by Jean-Baptiste Santerre (France 1651–1717). The Duc was Regent at the time for the young Louis XV and brought a lighter and more convivial approach to the royal court, which he moved back to Paris. The aristocracy followed suit and while rococo art was dominated by the French, some English artists also took note. Foremost amongst these was Francis Cotes, whose painting of Mrs George Rogers, 1768, illustrated the new preference for portraiture set outdoors, within nature.

In the decorative arts, the rococo movement was widely influential, spreading throughout Europe and Britain by the mid-eighteenth century. The style found a willing partner in British porcelain manufacturers of which David collected many examples. Displayed are rare pieces by Chelsea, including the Music lesson, c.1760, as well as a range of important porcelain figurines. The French, however, maximised the potential of combining expensive materials and a Louis XV Inkstand, c.1750, is a fine example. The tray is made from amaranth and tulip-wood, Sèvres porcelain serves as receptacles and Mennecy porcelain, the shepherdess. All mounted in lavish ormolu.

Régence & Rococo: Portraits & Porcelain offers a glimpse of the luxurious objects and portraits created during the eighteenth century as collected by David Roche for his private residence, Fermoy House.

Gallery 1

22 January – 29 June 2019

Tickets: Adult $7, Concession $5, Children under 5 free

(Ticket covers entry to The Pursuit of Pattern, Régence & Rococo and Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire)

Current Exhibition

Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire   

For David Roche the neoclassic covered the best items from George III to William IV in Britain and the reign of Louis XVI to Napoléon’s vision of a new French Empire.

Driven by art from Antiquity and recent finds at Pompeii and Herculaneum, architects, artists, designers, collectors and patrons started a new craze for all things ‘classical’ in the 1760s. It offered a rich and varied hunting ground, led by the British and remaining fashionable until the early nineteenth century.

Whether the art was Greek, Roman or Graeco-Roman influenced was of little importance, neoclassic in all its guises was acquired by David and developed into the most remarkable aspect of his collection. Like his eighteenth-century counterparts, David collected all types of neoclassical art, from paintings and furniture to porcelain and clocks.

In Britain, the neoclassical found a natural affinity with the Romantic movement of landscape painting as seen in the work of John Glover. Military portraits were also popular as France and Britain fought for Empire. It was the work of the French neoclassical artist Anne-Louis Girodet, however, that captured David’s imagination. He acquired three large narrative paintings, two that illustrate the ancient Greek legend of Paris, and one of dancing figures, which can be seen together in this display. Informed by the work of Jacques Louis David, Girodet represents France’s interest in heroism, duty, sacrifice and idealised beauty. 

Furniture played a central role in most neoclassical interiors and the Roche collection is fortunate to have some very fine examples. Displayed is a French Imperial commode, c.1810, and a superb English Regency Breakfront cabinet, c.1815, both of which explore different aspects of neoclassicism. David also acquired a French Commode, c.1820, once owned by the Duke of Wellington – the British military figure responsible for defeating Napoléon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire offers an unparalleled opportunity to see some of the finest neoclassic art in Australia.

Gallery 2

22 January – 29 June 2019

Tickets: Adult $7, Concession $5, Children under 5 free

(Ticket covers entry to The Pursuit of Pattern, Régence & Rococo and Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire)

Future Exhibition

Triumph & Tragedy: Catherine, the Romanovs & Fabergé

David Roche first travelled to Russia in 1994 and was overwhelmed by the opulent art and palaces of St Petersburg. His amazement and joy turned to a passion for collecting Russian art, and in almost 20 years he amassed a singularly unique collection in Australia.

Exhibited for the first time in Triumph & Tragedy: Catherine, the Romanovs & Fabergé, the David Roche Foundation has curated more than 100 items from David’s personal collection and significant national loans. Official portraits of Catherine the Great and Emperor Nicholas I reside alongside the personal hand seal of Emperor Alexander I and porcelain especially commissioned for the Hermitage and Pavlovsk Palace.

Precious objects in malachite, glass and gilt-bronze abounded throughout the Romanov period and are woven into this stunning exhibition, which highlights the internationalism of 19th century Russia. Gaze upon the visages of Catherine and the Romanovs in painting and sculpture. Be entranced by precious vases and plates from the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Yet, above all, the final decades of the Russian Empire are remembered for the work of Fabergé.  View David Roche’s Fabergé including a parasol handle from the collection of Queen Anne of Romania, gold boxes and small objects, complemented by Fabergé miniature eggs, jewellery, enamel ware on loan from private collectors. All only for Triumph & Tragedy.

Triumph & Tragedy exhibits more than 100 items from The David Roche Collection and significant loans from private and public collections.

Only at The David Roche Foundation from 13 July.

Fermoy House Tours

Join us at The David Roche Foundation for an insightful and interesting guided tour of Fermoy House, David’s Federation-style residence in Melbourne Street, North Adelaide. See how David Roche lived whilst enjoying the sumptuous house interiors crammed with British Regency, French Empire and Russian objects collected over a lifetime.

Access to Fermoy House is by guided tours only.

Book a tour now to reserve your spot.

General: $20, Concession: $17.    Note: Telephone assisted bookings incur a fee of $8 per ticket.

** Guided tour price includes entry into the Museum wing (The Pursuit of PatternRégence & Rococo: Portraits and porcelain and Neoclassic: Reimagining Empire) **

Tours of Fermoy House : Tuesday – Saturday.

Please select your preferred time below:

10:00AM 12:00PM 2:00PM

PLEASE NOTE: Entry to the Museum wing (The Pursuit of PatternRégence & Rococo: Portraits and porcelain and Neoclassic: Reimagining Empireonly does not require a booking.

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