Past Exhibitions

Kings, Queens and Courtiers

Gallery 3 | 24 January - 5 August 2017

Monarchs and courtiers of the 18th and 19th centuries were of abiding interest to David Roche – and this exhibition reflects his passion for selecting items of exceptional quality to add to his collection.

David considered that the monarchy was “an endangered species and often regarded as the foe of all they rule” – especially after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It will come as no surprise to learn that David was a staunch monarchist, and thought that “the Republican Movement should restrict itself to that pub in Ireland”. He thought that to be born a royal would be “a life on a tightrope above a league of biographers and intimate strangers”.

The exhibition on display was curated by our Senior Curator, Robert Reason. His inimitable focus is one that David Roche would be very happy to see. Royalty provided David with endless opportunities to explore their hierarchy together with the accompanying intrigue and treachery of their lives. He was fascinated with the common scenario in history of “hero to zero”.

Developed over a lifetime of collecting, David mainly focused on the royal and aristocratic households of Germany, Britain, France and Russia. The “Who’s Who” of European royalty represented in the Roche Collection includes pieces related to:
• Frederick The Great
• Frederick William III of Prussia
• Therese, Queen Consort of Bavaria
• Leopold I, King of the Belgians
• King Wilhelm II of Wurttemberg
• Francis II, Emperor of Austria
• Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Prussia
• Desiree Clary, Queen of Sweden
• Prince Regent, later King George IV
• Louis XIV
• Marie Adelaide of Savoy
• Duke D’Orleans, the French royal house of Bourbon
• Marie Leczinksa
• Queen Marie Antoinette
• Louis XVIII
• Napoleon Bonaparte
• Catherine the Great
• Catherine the Great’s lover, Prince Orlov
• Tsar Paul I
• Tsar Alexander
• Tsar Nicholas I
• Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich

David bid on portraits and the objects made for royalty and aristocracy, or owned by them – sometimes, but not always, successfully on the fall of the gavel. Provenance to him was essential, especially at those auctions of the 20th century, related to the estates of the infamous American, Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, and the American “Royal”, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Owning such rare objects gave David “pride of ownership”, a term he often used.

David’s acquisitions are visual reminders of the marvellous palaces, chateaux and country houses that he visited throughout his life. Royal pursuits, be it hunting or horse racing, were all of great interest to David, but at a distance. He enjoyed keeping up to date with the current royals through Hello! and Country Life (popular magazines from the U.K.), Paris Match, and Hola! (from Spain).

In this exhibition there are paintings of royal beauties of Europe, be they queens, consorts or courtiers; exquisite porcelain service plates that once adorned the banquet tables of the crowned heads of Europe; unique personal items, including the private hand seal of Tsar Alexander I; Prince Ernst August of Hanover’s clock and a Faberge parasol handle owned by Queen Anne of Romania.

We hope you enjoy Kings, Queens and Courtiers in Gallery 3 as part of your tour of The David Roche Foundation House Museum in 2017.

Past Exhibitions

Book A Tour

Join us at The David Roche Foundation for guided tours of Fermoy House, David’s residence, and special exhibitions in the adjoining gallery wing. Enjoy the sumptuous house interiors crammed with objects collected over a lifetime and admire individual works of art displayed in the gallery.

* * * * *

Access to Fermoy House is by guided tour only.

Bookings are recommended as numbers are limited.

Limited parking available onsite

* * * * *

Tours of Fermoy House

29 January – 18 June 2022

Tuesday – Saturday

General: $20, Concession: $17

Telephone assisted bookings incur a fee of $8 per ticket

Ticket includes entry into Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS

Please select your preferred time below:

10:00AM 12:00PM 2:00PM


Tours of Fermoy House (House ONLY)

(Due to exhibition changeover, there will be no access to the galleries for these tours EXCEPT during 1 July to 23 July for The Dopplegänger exhibition)

21 June – 12 August 2022

Tuesday – Saturday

General: $12, Concession: $10

Please select your preferred time below:

10:00AM 12:00PM 2:00PM

Guided tours of Fermoy House are open to a maximum of 20 guests per tour (in 2 groups of no more than 10) 
* * * * *
Face masks are not mandatory however they are recommended during your tour of Fermoy House
* * * * *
Disabled Access

Disabled car parking is available. The house and galleries accommodate wheelchair access, although access is limited in some areas of the house, which is a Federation villa. Mobility scooters are not suitable for use in the house, but are fine in the galleries. Both ambulant and non-ambulant toilets are available.

Please make us aware of the special needs of any member of your group in advance of your arrival, so that we can offer every assistance.

Join Our Mailing List

If you would like to be kept informed of future exhibitions, events and lectures at The David Roche Foundation please join our mailing list.

The David Roche Foundation will only use personal information provided by you for the purposes for which it was collected.
We will ensure that your personal information is not disclosed to any other institutions or organisations.
© Copyright The David Roche Foundation 2022 Website designed, developed by