|The opening was a delightful gathering of artists, writers, art lovers, and friends.|
|Ruth Arnison is the smallest person in this photo, just to right of centre, but you would never know it as she has a big heart and gets things done!|
|In addition to the 3 vases that I put in the exhibition, I added another 4 "unofficially" to be used for flowers to decorate the room. I loved this one in particular, the Christmas Roses, were just right!|
|Hanging the exhibition. Jenny Longstaff tries out a place for Laura's picture.|
|This was once an essential part of the drying room!|
Ruth is blogging about her residency and the exhibition at Olveston at
A poet in residence | upstairs downstairs at Olveston, Dunedin's historic home.
I hope to revisit the exhibition in daylight, and take some more photos for the blog of the exhibition, and one of Olveston itself.
The exhibition runs until 17 August. There are two special events on at the exhibition. A poetry performance this coming Sunday afternoon, and a panel discussion on the final Sunday afternoon, where artists talk about their work, and other things!
For those of you who don't know, Olveston is probably the nearest thing we have in Dunedin to a "Stately Home". It has an interesting collection of art, craft and fine things, and is open to the public for guided tours. Of course Olveston is more than that, it was someone's home, and a strong sense of the family that lived there abides still within the rooms and corridors.
Olveston was built between 1904 and 1907 in Jacobean style for David Theomin (1852-1933). The 35 room house was equipped with the latest conveniences, central heating, electricity, an internal telephone system, and so on, and 5 to 7 servants to ensure the household worked smoothly. Theomin had a lucrative business importing pianos that he distributed through a nation wide chain of shops, the shops later became the Bristol Piano Company. By marriage to Marie Michaelis, Theomin was related to the Hallenstein, Fels, de Beer, and Brasch families of Dunedin, who were significant patrons of the arts. The Theomins collected art, ceramics and furniture, and music, art, and literature would have been a vibrant part of life at Olveston.
After 1933, as the sole survivor of her immediate family, Dorothy Theomin continued the philanthropic activities of her parents. Dorothy Theomin never married, and worked to uphold her parents' belief that good fortune was on lease, to be employed for the benefit of others.
In 1966 the house and its contents were bequeathed to the city of Dunedin, and guided tours of the house commenced the following year. Dorothy Theomin had been a help and encouragement to artists and musicians in her life time, and bequeathed Olveston to the citizens of Dunedin, I think with the hope that it would be seen as a cultural treasure and accessible to the public, a bit like the museum or the art gallery. I suspect that her dream had never quite been realised as, until recently, Olveston tended to be more a place that tourists visited on guided tours, or locals visited as a special treat, or when showing relatives the city. Having an artist or writer in residence has changed that in a very positive way. At the opening several people spoke to me of how delighted they thought that Dorothy Theomin would have been that Olveston was reconnecting with living artists and writers.
One person that I spoke to reflected quite movingly of how Dorothy Theomin would have seen Olverston in its prime, and then in the quiet later days. In old age she lived at Olveston alone, well after two world wars had completely changed the way people lived and worked and related to each other.
For this short history I have borrowed heavily from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olveston_(house)
and from a lovely biography of Dorothy Theomin that I found online at Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
I am not sure how long this link will work for, but here is a link to Dunedin Television and their coverage of the exhibition at Olveston.
Poetry and art come together at Olveston house
Apologies if I have missed out words, or made horrendous errors of spelling, Laura is away in the North Island helping out her parents for a few weeks, and I am lacking my proof reader!