14 January 2015

Visit to see Andrei Davidoff's pots at Vaucluse House and a history lesson

A hot day in Sydney today - over 34 degrees Celsius in the city which is usually cooler than the suburbs.
Visiting a historic home, Vaucluse House which faces the inner harbour, we discovered how they managed without any air-conditioning.  The house is built of Sydney sandstone and the walls are very thick which acts as a natural insulation.  With all the windows open the sea breeze keeps the place comfortable, though of course they would have been wearing heavier clothes than we wear today. No shorts and thongs back then.
Our guide for the day was very knowledgeable and took us in past some of the normal barriers for a closer view in a few rooms. (We found a pair of Wedgwood urns around a corner).

We had a light lunch in the tearooms before looking around the house.  As you might guess there was a pottery connection.
Melbourne potter, Andrei Davidoff had a residency there in 2014 and his works are still on display throughout the house.

Works by Andrei Davidioff display in the 'Dairy Room' at Vaucluse House "Solitary Shade"
From the dairy room where the milk was stored and butter made to the main reception room, his works fit in beautifully with the home and relate to the history of the Wentworth family who were the original owners of the building and grounds prior to the Government purchasing the property way back in 1910 to preserve our history.

This collection is about the hierarchy of society and is displayed in the upstairs hallway.

There are a series of these black urns which are inspired by an antique piece in the room.  Andrei has made several of these, each one representing a member of the Wentworth family.

The reception room and dining room were furnished with pieces that belonged to the Wentworth family.

William Charles Wentworth was a radical in his time.  He took his family back to England on more than one occasion but created quite a stir in Sydney society in his day.  Click here for a biography.

 Its great that the surrounding grounds have also been preserved and include the stables, the kitchen garden and the 'Pleasure Garden'.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Wentworth family.  My main knowledge previously was of Wentworth as one of the explorers who was one of the first whites to cross the Blue Mountains -
His adventurous spirit, drought, and the desire to discover new pastures led him in May 1813, in company with William LawsonGregory Blaxland, four servants, four horses, and five dogs, to take part in the first great feat of inland exploration, the crossing of the Blue Mountains. (quote from biography)

His wife was not accepted at first by Sydney Society but after living in England and travelling to The Continent and being accepted in high society there, on her return, things were different.

Don't you love it when your interest in pottery leads to a lesson in history.  Thanks to Andrei Davidoff for giving me a reason to visit Vaucluse House.


Linda Starr said...

love the white pots against the dark wood of the hutch

Anna said...

and so beautifully made Linda.. I had a great time..

Peter said...

Thank you for giving us a glimpse of Vaucluse House. What a wonderful place to be a potter in residence! It is nice that Andrei Davidoff still has work on display there, and fascinating visually to contrast the old and the new.
35 degrees.... that is warm by Dunedin NZ standards! The Met Service site tells me that we are 17.3 C as I write this, and it is overcast and windy.

Anna said...

Hi Peter
Andrei's work will be on show until the end of January so still a little time for people to see it. Yes, much cooler over your way. Don't think I could take your winters! :)