Fermoy House

Areas of Fermoy House

David Roche purchased his home on 13 January 1954 from the Bevan sisters. He named it Fermoy House after his French-Irish grandparents. An Australian Federation villa, David remodelled the front to make it more ‘Georgian’ in appearance and built the ‘Roman’ room on the rear. The interiors evolved over the decades and the rooms reflect how David lived and used them.

Drawing Room

This semi French-themed room, beautifully decorated by Angus Foulds, was always yellow and intended for formal gatherings. David acquired a Chinoiserie-style vitrine and an important pair of Italian Mars and Minerva polychrome painted vitrines to display the finest of his European ceramics.

Other items of note are a Régence Console table c.1720, Boulle-style clocks and elegant portraits, including Mrs. Reynolds, 1768, by Francis Cotes. The room is centred with an English ormolu-mounted, ebonised Writing table, c.1815, attributed to Robert Hulme the Younger, standing on a contemporary Savonnerie-style carpet.

Chinoiserie Bedroom

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.

Main Bedroom

This was David’s most treasured room, filled with English Regency and French Empire period furniture, paintings and sculpture. The two High-Regency demi-lune vitrines display mainly English miniatures, objets, small bronzes and ceramics.

The bespoke Zoffany ‘oak-garland’ wallpaper was ordered in Britain, and the following addition of an exquisite set of curtains in the High-Regency style, created a room that David adored. It is filled with his favourite items such as the French ormolu chandelier with deep amethyst glass and the Study for Perseus on Pegasus to the rescue of Andromeda, c.1895, by Sir Fredrick Leighton.

Russian Room

Following a theme from Pavlovsk Palace, St. Petersburg and Maria Feodorovna, David ordered wallpaper and a bespoke carpet adorned with the crest of the Empress. The room is centred with a Swedish chandelier and contains some of David’s most prized malachite objects.

An important ormolu-mounted Secretaire by Noach Sorman and a portrait of Catherine the Great, attributed to Johann Baptist Lampi, are other highlights of this stunning room.

Military Dining Room

Instantly impressive with its blood red paper, the walls are adorned with portraits of officers, including George Dawe’s 1818 portrait of General Alava and paintings of regiments and horses. Of great interest is the large gilt-metal Argand lamp, after George Bullock.

The fireplace is flanked with cabinet vitrines filled with English tea wares and other porcelain. The only musical instrument in the collection is by the esteemed maker Broadwood & Sons, a Piano forte, 1802, in mahogany, after Thomas Sheraton.

The Den

His every-day and evening room, David themed it as an Englishman’s study. The walls are green-lined and devoted to pottery, English mahogany and rosewood furniture as well as racing, hunting, coursing and canine portraits.

Pivotal to the room is Maud Earl’s c.1900 oil on canvas of A Pointer in a landscape at sunset, also Edmund Havell’s 1844 painting of Mr Handbury’s favourite fox-hound and Edwin Landseer’s Border terrier with rabbit, 1820-1830.    

The Kitchen

The printed-hessian walls support a showcase of nursery pottery, boxes, novelties, toys, mechanical money boxes and naïve items that collectively found a place in this much-used room. The kitchen is a source of enchantment for visitors.

His kitchen is truly ‘the hearth’ of his home, lined with mementoes from childhood, travels, and good times.

Chinese Bathroom

The walls are papered with Scalamandre’s celebrated ‘Shanghai’ pattern and decorated in the Chinoiserie taste with glass and jade pictures, lanterns and a faux-bamboo framed mirror from the celebrated Brighton Pavilion.

Main Hall

Running the full length of the house with green carpet with black stars, the walls are covered with French silk damask wallpaper and are hung with a selection of sporting pictures.

Roman Room

The Roman Room serves as the Foundation’s visitor reception room and offers a warm welcome with russet red stucco walls; the south wall is set with French doors, and three white marble statues by Charles Summers (1825-1878), after Antonio Canova, overlook the courtyard garden.

Search The Collection

Please visit the online collection for further information about individual works of art in the David Roche Collection. Search over 3,000 items by artist, title and medium. If you have specific questions relating to works in the Collection, please contact info@rochefoundation.org.au.

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