It was William Johnston’s intention that Fairhall be regularly rearranged and since it was first opened to the public in 1990, a regular program of re-installation and interventions of the permanent collection was established with creative individuals with a background in architecture, design, art, interiors, fashion and antiques, invited to rearrange (or ‘guest curate’) The Johnston Collection. From this three distinct annual exhibition series have emerged.
HOUSE OF IDEAS PROJECT SERIES
In this series, guest curators use Fairhall as a site-specific installation space to reconceptualise the Collection, often incorporating their own work, or loan items, in their reconstruction of the exhibition-house.
The House of Ideas series offers a radical interpretation of the Collection with the aim of generating new, diverse audiences.
CHRISTMAS AT THE JOHNSTON COLLECTION
Each year since 2004 The Johnston Collection has commissioned makers from a different region of Victoria to create new works inspired by aspects of the Collection, or relating to the life of William Johnston, or by Christmas itself. This exhibition promotes the work of regional makers to a large state-wide audience as well as promoting contemporary responses to the Collection by encouraging makers to explore new contemporary practices and ideas. Christmas at The Johnston Collection offers an ‘inspired’ interpretation of the Collection.
WILLIAM JOHNSTON AND HIS COLLECTION
In this series individuals from the wider community are invited to rearrange Fairhall , generally using only the items in the Collection. William Johnston and his Collection series offers a ‘traditional’ interpretation of the Collection.
House of Dreams project series 2016
Inspired by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung’s dream theories, House of Dreams, used the metaphors and symbols of dreams to convey stories exploring the history of benefactor William Johnston and his residence, Fairhall.
‘My dreams are always so vivid – with every sense engaged – and very often include houses. I had read about the significance of the house in Jung’s dream theories. This seemed a natural fit. What better way to explore the unconscious, the uncanny, the strangeness of “the night mind”, than through the lens of a glorious collection of historic objects in an elegant old Melbourne house.”
Director, Barking Spider Visual Theatre
Return to the City
A modern twist on TJC’s traditional annual Christmas exhibition, ‘Return To The City’, featured new work commissioned from some of Melbourne’s best contemporary makers with works inspired by aspects of the Collection and William Johnston’s life.
With artists collectives Hotham Street Ladies, The GLAD Rappers and The Melbourne Tapestry Weavers Collective and individual artists Anne Bolitho, Lewis Brownlie, ChiliPhilly, Amanda Dziedzic, Sai-Wai Foo, Irianna Kanellopoulou, Abbey Rich, Robyn Rich, Sharron Okines, Louise Saxton and Ellen Sorensen.
William Johnston and his Collection series
BEING MODERN | William Johnston: His Residence & Collection (13 February 2017 – 30 May 2017)
A restaging of the first exhibition held at The Johnston Collection in 1990, Being Modern | William Johnston: His Residence & Collection presented Fairhall recreated as an English Georgian-inspired domestic interior celebrating the designers and interior style of the Georgian era.
House of Ideas project series 2017
ANIMAL KINGDOM (13 June– 19 September 2017)
Animal Kingdom featured exquisite animal-inspired objects from The Johnston collection juxtaposed with fantastical works by some of Melbourne’s best contemporary makers including Kate Rohde, Troy Emery, Julia deVille, Vipoo Srivilasa, Alison Cole, Lesley Uren, and Yvonne Walton, exploring the ways in which animals and people relate in various art forms over time..
SPECIAL MENU TOURS 2017
In addition to the three main exhibition-house tours each year, special menu tours are presented focusing on a particular area of the Collection which enables visitors to see aspects of items in the Collection that are often hidden or go unnoticed during other Fairhall tours.
UNLOCKING THE COLLECTION
Working in pairs, volunteer guides unlocked cupboards, pulled out secret drawers and lifted the lids and covers of objects, revealing the often intricate and embellished interiors of pieces in the Collection.
Unlocking The Collection tours were presented on 27 February 2017, 30 March 2017. 10 April 2017, and 18 May 2017
This special tour explored the social and cultural histories of botanical motifs through their representation on porcelain, printings, furniture and other decorative objects in the Collection.
Bloom tours were presented on 22 February 2017, 28 March 2017, 26 April 2017, and 24 May 2017
The Johnston Collection presented more than 40 lectures and study series in 2017 featuring local and international speakers on a diverse and engaging range of topics.
See Appendix 6 for a full list of our 2017 Lecture and Study Series program.
STUDY SERIES | DREAM PLACES
Dream Places, a series of 10 lectures reflecting on the themes of dreams and dreamers while exploring the social and cultural worlds where art and design meet, continued with some of the themes explored in the concurrent exhibition, HOUSE OF DREAMS in Fairhall.
STUDY SERIES | IN PRAISE OF LANCELOT ‘CAPABILITY’ BROWN
The Johnston Collection marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of English landscape designer, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, with a series of four lectures exploring his life, work and legacy.
THE SYLVIA SAGONA SERIES 2017 | GREAT COLLECTIONS OF VENICE AND ROME
Sylvia Sagona, specialist on 19th century French society presented three lectures exploring themes around collecting in 17th and 18th century Italy.
THE EUGENE BARILO VON REISBERG SERIES | NAPOLEON’S CHILDREN
Eugene Barilo Von Reisberg, lecturer, researcher, and art consultant presented three lectures focusing on Napoleon and his children.
A series of talks presented throughout the year celebrating Melbourne's rich cultural history.
JANE AUSTEN 200 SERIES
In 2017 The Johnston Collection commemorated the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death on 18 July 1817 with a series of lectures honouring the
ongoing interpretation and influence of Jane Austen’s life and works.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA MELBOURNE FASHION FESTIVAL ARTS PROGRAM SERIES 2017
The Johnston Collection was a participant in the VAMFF Arts Program Series 2017 with a series of three lectures exploring contemporary and historical
In keeping with The Johnston Collection’s Deed of Trust (1 June 1987) which states that the Collection ‘shall also include other antiques and/ or arts works which by any means and at any time may be added to The WR Johnston Collection’, a number of items were added to the Collection this year through gifts and purchases from bequest funds.
This year Andrew Dixon gifted four items, including exemplary examples of sterling silver produced by leading 18th and 19th century makers, and Christine Bell gifted a mid-19th century mantle garniture (Regency Crescent). Interest accrued on The Nina Stanton Bequest to acquire 18th century porcelain for The Johnston Collection enabled the purchase of eight items for the museum including an 18th century Bow figure, an 18th century Worcester spoon tray, and a pair of 18th century Chelsea figures (cherubs holding baskets of flowers).
See Appendix 7 for a full list of acquisitions.
The Johnston Collection is in a residential area and operates within the terms set out in its City of Melbourne planning permit which stipulates that the museum can have only 72 visitors per day in Fairhall exhibition-house and 33 people attending a lecture in the Kent Room at the same time.
This year The Johnston Collection welcomed 5,617 visitors. Of these, 4,630 visited Fairhall exhibition-house and 987 attended lectures, study series and master classes in the Kent Room. [See Appendix X] Total visitor numbers were down by 17% in 2017.
ENGAGING WITH THE COMMUNITY
By participating in many community events, The Johnston Collection provided further opportunities for everyone to enjoy the Collection. With specially curated programs targeting groups who wouldn’t ordinarily visit the museum, The Johnston Collection was able to engage more broadly with many and diverse communities.
OPEN HOUSE MELBOURNE | 2016
30 July 2016
VICTORIAN SENIORS FESTIVAL 2016
4 - 7 October 2016
OPEN DAY AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE 2017
26 January 2017
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA MELBOURNE FASHION FESTIVAL ARTS PROGRAM 2017
1 – 19 March 2017
GLAD RAPPERS REDECORATE @TJCMUSEUM
10 March 3 April 2017
AUSTRALIAN SILVER SOCIETY TALKS
The Australian Silver Society held their meetings at The Johnston Collection throughout the year. These events were generously supported by TJC Ambassador, Mr Roger Brookes.
MELBOURNE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL | ÔTER AU MUSEE:
Minimalist French Cuisine in a Maximalist Museum
3 April 2017
The Johnston Collection offers post-graduate students curatorial placements as well as offering the Collection and Fairhall to students as a subject for postgraduate
Deakin University student, Rebecca Bolden completed an internship at The Johnston Collection in 2017.
Artist Rosslynd Piggott based the practical component of her PhD research around her installation for the house of ideas series Murmur (1 July 2013 – 20 October 2013) at The Johnston Collection. In February 2017 Piggott presented the exhibition Cumulus (mirrored) based on her PhD research.
The Johnston Collection was shortlisted in two categories at the MGA Museums & Galleries National Awards in May 2017 – in the Temporary or Travelling Exhibition category for WILLIAM JOHNSTON’S EMPORIUM | Hecker Guthrie rearranges William Johnston’s Collection , and in the Interpretation, Learning & Audience Engagement category for HOUSE OF DREAMS | Barking Spider Visual Theatre
THE FRIENDS OF THE JOHNSTON COLLECTION EVENTS
The Friends of The Johnston Collection are part of a social network of people who support the world of visual art and design and play an important role in the life of The Johnston Collection since the group was first established in 1999. In 2017 The Friends Committee organised a number of exclusive events and activities for members.
See Appendix 8 for a full list of The Friends events in 2017
The Johnston Collection’s What’s On is published twice a year. The Spring | Summer 2016 issue was produced in both hard-copy and digital form, the Autumn |Winter 2017 issue was produced in digital form only. Both publications were distributed widely to supporters.
fairhall is a magazine for The Friends, volunteers, and supporters of The Johnston Collection. Published three times a year, the magazine is produced by volunteers. This year saw the publication of f airhall issues # 18 (July 2016), # 19 (November 2016) and # 20 (March 2017).
The Johnston Collection organised a variety of events for volunteers throughout 2017 as a way of recognising the invaluable commitment and support they give to the museum.
CELEBRATE | VOLUNTEERS END OF YEAR FUNCTION
24 November 2016
DAY OUT | BENDIGO ART GALLERY
10 May 2017
VOLUNTEER GUIDE TRAINING DAYS
Training days enable volunteer guides to learn about and practise their presentations for each new tour. This year Guide Training Days were held on 7 July 2016 for HOUSE OF DREAMS, on 29 September 2016 for ‘RETURN TO THE CITY’, on 9 February 2017 for BEING MODERN, and on 8 June 2017 for ANIMAL KINGDOM.
VOLUNTEER INFORMATION SHARING DAYS
An Information Sharing Day for all volunteers including Trustees, Ambassadors, The Friends of The Johnston Collection Committee, Volunteer Guides,
Volunteers and staff was held on 16 March 2017.
A peaceful view across the water of Painshill’s ruined abbey, courtesy of Fred Holmes, Pains
Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73), Portrait of Emilie, Princesse de Chimay (1808-71), 1849, oil on canvas, private collection, (Public Domain)
Library of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, England
The Windsors and their pugs in the sitting room of the Villa Windsor, in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris in 1964. | image Horst/ © Conde Nast Archive / Corbis