Fairhall, and its collection, was bequeathed with love by William Johnston to the people of Victoria.
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 reminds 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 cup started his passion for collecting. The museum now holds a selection of objects from his estate and is a veritable treasure-house of English 18th century antiques, decorative arts, and objet d’art.
OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION will be a memorable opportunity to see objects gathered over a lifetime with affection by William Johnston and rearranged to create an English Georgian-inspired domestic interior in his beloved East Melbourne house, Fairhall.
OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION: Stories of love celebrates the 30th anniversary of Fairhall opening to the 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.
Jean-David Fortainer (French, 1700-1778, active 1730-1778), Jean-Charles Ellaume (French, active 1754-1780), bureau plat, France, circa 1745-1749, tax mark for 1745-1749, bois satiné, kingwood, tulipwood, partridge wood, oak, pine, bronze, leather, ormolu (gilt bronze) | 800 x 1935 x 990 mm, (A0029-1989, Foundation Collection)
maker unknown, Pembroke table, England, circa 1775, mahogany, boxwood, penwork | 732 x 1075 x 763 mm (open), (A0038-1989, Foundation Collection)
Staffordshire potteries district, Staffordshire, figure, Zebra, England, circa 1870, earthenware, glazed | 132 x 66 x 127 mm, (Foundation Collection, A0346-1989)
Bow porcelain factory, Bow, London (est. circa 1743-1776), after Edme Bouchardon 'Cris de Paris' series 1737, figure, female cook, England, circa 1752-54, porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration | 170 x 80 x 90 mm, (A0351-1989, Foundation Collection)
Sir James Duke and Nephews, Hill Top Pottery, Burslem, Staffordshire, England, circa 1860-63, from a dessert service (twenty-one piece), Pansies, circa 1860-63, porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration, gilt | 21 x 230 mm, (A0370-1989, Foundation Collection)
Bow porcelain factory (active circa 1747-1764, closed 1776), Bow, London, figure (woman dressed in Eastern costume), England, circa 1765-70, porcelain (soft-paste), polychrome enamel decoration | 145 mm, (A0498-1989, Foundation Collection)
Minton & Co., Stoke-on-Trent, est. 1793 –, Thomas Minton’s pottery and porcelain factory, Thomas Minton period, Staffordshire, circa 1809-17, cup, England, circa 1812-15, porcelain (bone china), enamel, gilt | 64 x 72 x 90 mm, (Foundation Collection, A0660-1989)
James Scouler (English, 1740-1812), portrait miniature of Master Jolly, London, dated 1783, watercolour on ivory | 100 x 85 mm, (A0777-1989, Foundation Collection)
attributed to Robert Peake (English, circa 1551-1626), portrait of Edward Lord Montagu, 1st Lord Montagu of Boughton, 1601, oil on braced wooden panels | 1140 x 820 mm, (A0951-1989, Foundation Collection, by descent in the collection of the Dukes of Manchester, at Kimbolton Castle, Cambridgeshire, to Alexander Montagu, 10th Duke of Manchester (1902–1977); by whom sold, Kimbolton Castle sale on the premises, 18 July 1949, thence to William Johnston)
Mary Beale (née Cradock; English, 1633–1699), untitled (A lady of the Montagu family, possibly Elizabeth Pelham, or Lady Anne Montagu, Countess of Suffolk), 1683, oil on canvas | 1200 x 1000 mm | signed and dated lower right “Mary Beale / 1683”, reframed 1990, (A0954-1989, Foundation Collection, by descent in the collection of the Dukes of Manchester, at Kimbolton Castle, Cambridgeshire, to Alexander Montagu, 10th Duke of Manchester (1902–1977); by whom sold, Kimbolton Castle sale on the premises, 18 July 1949, thence to William Johnston)
Patnn style or Calcutta style, India, A Lady Proceeding on a Tonjohn [sic], from a series of eight company paintings, India, circa 1830-1835, watercolour on paper | sight: 345 x 240 mm | frame: 430 x 515 x 30 mm, (A0955.1-1989, Foundation Collection)
attributed Jane Nasmyth (Scottish, 1788-1867), formerly attributed to Patrick (Scottish, 1787-1831) or Alexander Nasmyth (Scottish, 1758-1840), Alva House, Stirlingshire, The Seat of J. R. Johnstone Esq., [1830s-40s], oil on canvas | 865 x 1200 mm, (A0975-1989, Foundation Collection)
Edward Barnard and Sons (English, est. 1689-1973), wine cooler (pair), England, assayed London 1835, Sterling silver | 235 x dia rim 240 mm; liners 145 x 185 mm, (A1042-1989, Foundation Collection)
Kensington Works (est. 1856-1892), Stoke-on-Trent dish, sweetmeat (pair), England circa 1880, porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration | 260 x 170 mm (A1132-1989, Foundation Collection)
William Johnston at Kent Antiques, Malvern possibly ex The Age, 9 March 1982
William Johnston in White Room, Fairhall, after 1971