Tuesday 9 March – Tuesday 24 August 2021
OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION: Stories of Love from the Johnston Collection will be a memorable opportunity to see objects gathered with affection by William Johnston over his lifetime. Johnston’s Collection will be displayed alongside objects from other collectors and donors inspired to support the Collection over the past 30 years, curated within an English Georgian-inspired domestic interior in Johnston’s beloved East Melbourne house, Fairhall.
Fairhall, and its collection, was bequeathed with love by Melburnian, William Johnston (1911-1986), to the people of Victoria. The museum is a hidden gem amongst Melbourne’s cultural icons.
Over 100 years ago, Johnston was given a small Minton cup by his adored grandmother Mary Theresa Friedrichs when he was about 8 years old. The delicately hand-painted coffee cup with its band of flowers, gilt edges and stippled with golden dots remind us of William Johnston’s life-long love of collecting, enjoyment of gardening, and passion for flowers.
William Johnston kept the tiny cup all his life, later recalling that this coffee cup started his desire for collecting.
After a lifetime of dealing in antiques, acquiring real estate, and collecting art and objects, Johnston decided to leave the legacy, and love, of his collection to care of the people of Victoria to appreciate. It would be his personal act of affection to future generations, who he hoped would be as passionate about his things as he was.
The museum now holds a selection of objects from William Johnston’s estate and it is a veritable treasure-house of English 18th century antiques, decorative arts, and objet d’art.
It was Johnston’s intention that his collection could be added to, to enrich its interest to visitors. Over time, other like-minded people have shared and added their own objects of affection and interest to the Collection.
OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION will include works donated by other Melbourne collectors such as the late Nina Stanton, who was passionate about 18th century porcelain and Alywnne Jona AM whose parents kind-heartedly encouraged an enthusiasm for porcelain as well. Ambassadors to TJC, Andrew Dixon, and the late Roger Brookes, also passed on items of silver and glass which will showcase their delight in collecting superb one-off pieces. Also on display will be donor Christine Bell’s collection of 18th century enamel patch boxes are intimate tokens of romance and celebration of love.
Fairhall is one of the few exhibition-houses in Australia to be unfettered by ropes and barriers, visitors will be guided through the exhibition-house, enjoying remarkable stories of desire and affection from the past and of the present from over 1,400 objects, paintings, ceramics, furniture and objet d’art.
Johnston intended that Fairhall be regularly rearranged. Past rearrangements have included those by fashion designer Akira Isogawa, architect Pascale Gomes-McNabb, fashion-house Romance Was Born, artist Rosslynd Piggott, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David McAllister AO, milliner and artist Richard Nylon, and design studio Hecker Guthrie.
The experience of TJC begins at The Pullman on The Park hotel, where visitors are picked up by courtesy bus and travel a few short minutes to the museum to begin their tour.
After a challenging 2020, TJC has designated 2021 as A YEAR OF LOVE. We look forward to sharing new exhibitions and events with you all - celebrating William Johnston's love for his collection, our love for you: our wonderful community, and your love and support of us in return.
OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION: Stories of Love celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Fairhall opening to public on 19 November 1990. Continue with us as we celebrate our remarkable milestone of 30 glorious years of sharing Johnston’s gift of love to the people of Victoria.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Kathleen Ashby | p 03 9416 2515
e. email@example.com | w. johnstoncollection.org