William Robert Johnston (1911 – 1986) was a prominent 20th century antiques dealer and collector based in Melbourne.
William Johnston’s lifelong passion for collecting beautiful objects began when his grandmother gave him a little teacup – a circa 1815 Minton potteries teacup without its saucer - when he was about 8 years old.
Beginning with the treasured cup, Johnston over his lifetime, assembled the most astonishing collection comprising more than 1,400 objects of English Georgian and Regency, and Louis XV period furniture, paintings, ceramics and objet d’art, now regarded as one of the best collections of its kind in Australasia.
Johnston’s residence, Fairhall, his collection and estate were bequeathed to the people of Victoria after his death in 1986 ‘as a place of historical and educational interest,’ now administered as an independent not-for-profit public museum by The WR Johnston Trust.
Fairhall was converted into an exhibition-house, and a garden designed by landscape architect John Patrick was created in the English manner to highlight Johnston’s love of gardening. The Johnston Collection was first opened to the public in 1990