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The Johnston Collection is administered as an independent not-for-profit museum by The W R Johnston Trust.

PLEASE NOTE:  A $3.50 booking fees applies for online bookings. This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.    Thank you for your understanding.

PLEASE NOTE:  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings. A $3.50 booking fee applies for online bookings. Thank you for your understanding.


Presented by well-known art and cultural historians, the Out of India study series will explore worlds where art, design and architecture meet. The study series will provide an opportunity to consider responses to things Indian, and will offer insights into how the relationships between European and Indian, and occasionally Chinese craftsmen, were all interconnected.

$20 Adults | $18 Full time students (per lecture)
NEW discount for multiple lecture bookings
Book into the complete Out of India study series of eight lectures to receive a 15% discount

The Out of India study series has been initiated by Christine Reid and we thank her for her support and contribution to this programme of lectures.

Ekneligoda Walauwa, Sri Lanka, 1825 | photograph by Clive Lucas, 2003

Furnishing The Colonial House | India and Australia, Contrasts & Parallels with James Broadbent
Wednesday 16 July 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18 SOLD OUT

(Please phone 03 9416 2515 to be put on our wait list for this lecture)

In 1824 it was estimated that over half the goods imported into Australia came from India. How did this, and experience of Colonial India, fashion the lives and houses of our early colonists?

JAMES BROADBENT is perhaps Australia’s most eminent cultural historian whose working life has been devoted to historic buildings and gardens and is the guest curator for the current house-museum tour AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD.

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

Sir Charles D’Oyly (England, 1781–1845), Summer Room in the Artist’s House at Patna September 11, 1824, England, 1824, collection of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven, Connecticut, B1986.29.378

Queen Victoria's Maharajah | The many lives of Duleep Singh with Eugene Barilo von Reisberg
Wednesday 30 July 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Fascinated by one of Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s most exotic paintings, Portrait of Maharajah Duleep Singh, Eugene Barilo von Reisberg delved into the sitter’s biography and uncovered a fascinating tale of an Indian child prince; the legend of the fabled Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the most important jewels in the British Royal Collection; and the Indian presence at the court of Queen Victoria, the first British monarch to be formally styled the Empress of India.

EUGENE BARILO VON REISBERG is a writer, researcher, and art consultant. He is an internationally acknowledged authority on Franz Xaver Winterhalter, the 19th century elite portrait specialist, and he is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the artist at the University of Melbourne.

See also Eugene Barilo von Reisberg’s lecture series CAPTURING GLAMOUR | Society portraiture during the long 19th century, 1789-1914 below.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), The Maharaja Duleep Singh (1838-93), 1854, The Royal Collection, England, RCIN 403843, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The British-Indian Bungalow with Clive Lucas
Wednesday 13 August 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

This talk will cover the bungalows built by the British in various parts of the Empire viz India Sri Lanka, West Indies, North America, South Africa, and of course Australia

CLIVE LUCAS has been Director of Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners Pty Ltd, a Sydney based architecture and heritage consultancy, since 1970. He is an internationally acclaimed specialist in the heritage and conservation arena, responsible for sensitive restoration of some of the most notable buildings in NSW. His publications include Australian Colonial Architecture (1978) and Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses (1984).

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

Ekneligoda Walauwa, Sri Lanka, 1825 | photograph by Clive Lucas, 2003

Staffordshire Or Canton, Calcutta Or Birmingham? | Household goods in British Colonial India with James Broadbent and Christine Reid
Wednesday 27 August 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Christine Reid and James Broadbent will discuss and examine examples of the ceramics, silver, textiles and furniture used or influenced by the British in India in the early 19th century.

JAMES BROADBENT is perhaps Australia’s most eminent cultural historian whose working life has been devoted to historic buildings and gardens and is the guest curator for the current house-museum tour AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD | At home in British India.

CHRISTINE REID is a Melbourne-based garden writer who contributes regularly to a wide range of Australian and international publications, both mainstream and academic. She is convenor of the current study series on British India.

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

wine cooler (from a pair) makers mark for Edward Barnard, Edward Barnard Jnr., John Barnard, William Barnard, assayed London 1835-6 Bears Indian crest with engraved motto ‘Heavens Light our Guide’ Sterling silver | The Johnston Collection (A1042-1989)

Indian Accent | European style in India with Ian Stephenson
Wednesday 10 September 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Using furniture as a springboard, Ian Stephenson will explore the principal styles introduced by European into India in the 19th century and their use in interiors, architecture and monuments.

IAN STEPHENSON is the Curator at the University of New England. He was formerly Senior Curator at the National Trust (NSW), Director Historic Places (ACT) and CEO of the National Trust (SA) He is a Board member NSW National Trust and a Trustee of the Copland Foundation.Ian has curated many exhibitions, lectured on historic houses and their collections and published numerous articles on architectural history.

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

Armchair, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Eating Empire 2 | Spicing and the taste for curry with Jacqui Newling
Wednesday 24 September 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Following last year’s successful EATING EMPIRE | Spicing and the taste for the exotic in the Regency, this talk will illustrate the evolution of curry and its status through the 18th - 19th centuries. The presentation includes a hands-on component showing the characteristic ingredients and variants and sample recipes from period cookery texts.

JACQUI NEWLING is the Sydney Living Museums (formerly Historic Houses Trust of NSW) resident gastronomer, ‘I explore the world of food with an inquiring mind and a deep curiosity – not simply about the food itself, but about why it is a food. How did that item become acceptable as a food and how did it arrive at our tables? In fact, to me, gastronomy is about people – what people do to and with food to make it a part of their lives.

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

Captain George Franklin Atkinson (1822-1859), ‘our burra khanah’ from Curry and Rice on Forty Plates or The Ingredients of Social Life at Our Station in India, 1859

Head For The Hills | Mt Macedon meets the Raj with Stephen Ryan 
Wednesday 8 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Stephen Ryan will talk about the lifestyle of the rich and famous who were attracted to and established themselves in the higher altitudes of Mt Macedon, as they emulated their British counterparts in the Indian subcontinent in the 1800's. He will discuss the inspiration to create expansive colonial ‘hill station’ style gardens surrounding their homes. He will also look at the phenomenon that inspired these places of leisure and retreat from the blistering heat of long Victorian summers.

STEPHEN RYAN, horticulturalist, author and broadcaster, started working in his father's nursery, Dicksonia Rare Plants, at the age of ten and at the same time joined the Mt Macedon Horticultural Society. He has been a passionate plant collector ever since. Stephen is best known for his role as host on ABC Television's Gardening Australia. He lectures and holds seminars both nationally and internationally. As a plant hunter and traveller, he has travelled to many places in the world as varied as Namibia, India, Oregon, England, Ireland, South Africa, Peru, Argentina, New Guinea and France.

Duneira, Mt Macedon photograph by Kim Selby | courtesy of Duneira

Wrapping The Body, Draping The Room: Kashmir shawls in British India with Susan Scollay     
Wednesday 22 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18  SOLD OUT

Please telephone 03 9416 2515  to be placed on our wait list for this lecture.

At the turn of the 19th century fashionable European women began to wear luxurious cashmere shawls imported from Mughal India. These prestigious and exotic garments became so popular that local manufacturers in France and England began to make imitation Indian shawls in an effort to meet growing demand. By the 1820s women from all walks of life were wearing some version of the shawl in the Indian style and fashionable women in British India were no exception. They became part of a curious design phenomenon whereby many original Indian patterns were modified to suit European taste and  were subsequently worn and used in the home by British residents of India in ways quite removed from their Kashmir origins.  

SUSAN SCOLLAY is an independent art historian and curator specialising in Islamic art and culture and in historic textiles. She is a contributing editor to HALI, the prestigious, London-based journal of carpet, textile and Islamic art. Susan was guest curator of Fluid Borders: Ways of Seeing Oriental Rugs held at The Johnston Collection in 2010. Her recent curated exhibition, Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond was shown at the State Library of Victoria and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford in 2012-13. She was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London.

English School, from a portrait pair (unknown lady), 19th century, The Johnston Collection (A0907-1989)


To mark the 200 years since the first publication of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park by Thomas Egerton in May 1814, The Johnston Collection is celebrating with a year-long programme of activities coinciding with the bicentenary and the honouring of her work.

frontispiece from Mansfield Park published by Thomas Edgerton, London, 1814

No Moral Effect On The Mind: Music in Mansfield Park with Gillian Dooley
Thursday 28 August 2014 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm  $20 / $18

This talk will firstly talk about the way Austen uses music and musicianship in Mansfield Park to illuminate but not to define her characters, and how 18th century ideas about women’s education feed into the novel. Secondly she will discuss the Austen family music collections, particularly the music manuscripts in Jane Austen’s hand, and the music that she played and sang.

GILLIAN DOOLEY is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in English at Flinders University, Adelaide, where she is also Special Collections Librarian. She has published extensively on Jane Austen and a range of other novelists. Her latest book is J.M. Coetzee and the Power of Narrative (2010).

Rose Adélaïde Ducreux (France, 1761 - 1802), Self-portrait with harp, circa 1791, collection Metropolitan Museum of Art New York Citybequeast of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1967.55.1

Mansfield Park 1814 with John Wiltshire
Tuesday 7 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

2014 marks the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of Mansfield Park, the most ambitious, most challenging and controversial of Jane Austen's novels. In this talk John will discuss some of those controversies and suggest a new way of understanding the character of its unusual heroine, Fanny Price.

JOHN WILTSHIRE is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University. He is the author of four books about Jane Austen, and has edited Mansfield Park for the authoritative Cambridge edition. His most recent publications are The Cinematic Jane Austen (2009) and The Making of Dr Johnson (2009). Hidden Jane Austen was published in May 2014.

See also John Wiltshire’s other lecture SIR JOSHUA & THE DOCTOR below.

after John Preston Neale (1780–1847), engraved by T Barber, published by Jones & Co., from Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, ‘ADLESTROP, Gloucestershire’, London, 1831


Capturing Glamour | Society portraiture during the long 19th century, 1789-1914 

Join Eugene Barilo von Reisberg as he introduces you to of some of the most famous 19th century society portraits drawn from public museums, royal palaces, and private collections from around the world.

You will discover how the portraiture of the ‘Long 19th century’ reflects the social changes of this fast-paced epoch, and how the artists of the era adapted the genre of portraiture to changing demands and divergent artistic movements, including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Impressionism.

Alongside the famous artists from France and England you will discover prominent portrait painters from Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and other countries.

You will gain glimpses into the fascinating lives of the gifted artists and the colourful personalities who graced their studios; learn the secret language of portraiture; and uncover the covert messages shared between the portraits and the viewers.

Karl Briullov (1799-1852), Portrait of Countess Julia Samoilova, 1842, collection of The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Masters Of The ‘Speaking Likeness’
Thursday 25 September 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am, $20 / $18

During the first half of the 19th century, British portrait painters continued celebrating the grandeur of the British monarchy and the elegance of the court beauties. At the same time, their counterparts in France and Spain, during the turbulent era of wars, revolutions, and political upheavals, were forced to adapt their brush to a quickly changing social environment.

The confluence of two major art movements of the era, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, allowed them to capture these changes in visually exciting and innovative ways. Jacques Louis David, Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun, François Gérard, J A D Ingres, Thomas Lawrence, William Beechey, and Francisco Goya are just some of the artists to be discussed in this lecture.

François Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Louise-Antoinette, Duchesse de Montebello, with her Children, 1814, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, purchased with funds provided by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund

The Continental Romantics
Thursday 9 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

The 19th century saw an unprecedented flowering of portrait painting in Russia, where Vladimir Borovikovsky and Karl Briullov captured the dazzling display of splendour of the Russian Imperial Family and their fabulously wealthy courtiers. The Napoleonic Wars influenced the development of portraiture in Central Europe, including the emergence of the understated Biedermeier style of Ferdinand Waldmüller, and the Empire-style inspired Romanticism of Joseph Karl Stieler, renowned for his Gallery of Beauties at the Nymphenburg Palace. The improved travel conditions saw the emergence of the glamorous cosmopolitan elite, which were elegantly captured by the equally cosmopolitan Franz Xaver Winterhalter and his contemporaries from France, Italy, and Spain.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), Portrait of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, 1865, Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Between Tradition & Modernity
Thursday 23 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

In the early 1870s, a small group of renegade artists, headed by Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir, redefined the nature of society portraiture. They inspired a new generation of painters, such as Theo van Rysselberghe, Kees van Dongen, Amedeo Modigliani, and Gustave Klimt to introduce an increasingly diverse and innovative range of styles into the portraiture genre. However, the grand tradition of society portraiture was not abandoned, and continued surviving in the grandiose creations of Sir John Everett Millais, John Singer Sargent, Giovanni Boldini, Valentin Serov, and Philip de Laszlo.

EUGENE BARILO VON REISBERG is a writer, researcher, and art consultant. He is an internationally acknowledged authority on Franz Xaver Winterhalter, the 19th century elite portrait specialist, and he is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the artist at the University of Melbourne.

See also Eugene Barilo von Reisberg’s other lecture QUEEN VICTORIA'S MAHARAJAH | The many lives of Duleep Singh above.

Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), Portrait of Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough, with Her Son, Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, 1906, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, gift of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, 1946 (47.71)


A Brief History Of Stained Glass with Ian George

Monday 13 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am, $20 / $18

Glass has been with us since around 3000 BCE but not in windows until around 300CE. By the 12th century new technology was able to provide brilliantly coloured glass in lead channels which remains one of most memorable art forms in Western culture. The art has evolved over the centuries and has been experiencing a significant revival in recent decades. It is exciting to examine this tradition and its new forms.

DR IAN GEORGE has been an art critic since the 1960s. His postgraduate work was in aesthetics. Since then he has served on the Visual Arts Committee of the Festival of Perth, as a Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery and Vice-President of the Queensland Festival, had two terms on the Community Arts Board of the Australia Council and is a regular lecturer at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.

detail of William Shakespeare window in the Dome Gallery of The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

The Ecstasy Of Tea And Porcelain with Robyn Ives
Tuesday 14 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Tea was an exotic beverage that reached the West initially from China, and brought with it luminous, resonant porcelain.  The combination of tea and porcelain influenced social habits and fuelled demand for new objects to accommodate the ever-changing fashion of taking tea. Robyn Ives will explore the impact of tea and how furnishing the equipage for tea drinking revolutionised English ceramics production. 

ROBYN IVES is President of the Wedgwood Society of Australia. She is a collector and lecturer with an extensive knowledge of Wedgwood of all periods and styles. 18th century Wedgwood comes within her particular interest in Post Medieval English pottery.

Worcester porcelain factory Worcester, (est. 1751 - 2009) teacup and saucer, England, circa 1772
The Johnston Collection (2013), bequest of Alwynne Jona OAM, Ambassador to The Johnston Collection

‘Dress Soft’ | from the Prince of Wales to the Preppy Look with Peter McNeil
Wednesday 15 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

Why do men wear striped ties? What is the ‘Windsor knot’? Who would get their jacket and trousers made in different continents? In our own era when fashions are set on the catwalk, in clubs and on the streets, it is difficult to imagine an era when a royal male set trans-Atlantic fashions. Yet that was precisely the role of the Duke of Windsor, already one of the most famous men in the world as Prince Edward of York, later Prince of Wales, before he abdicated after a short reign as King Edward VIII in 1936. Take a walk inside his wardrobe and fashion world.

DR PETER McNEIL is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Foundation Professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. He is the author of numerous publications including ten works on fashion, including the best-selling Shoes, also translated into Italian (with Giorgio Riello 2006; 2011). Current book projects include the ‘long’ history of luxury, supported by the UK Leverhulme Trust and fashion writing from the 17th century to the present day. 

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

The Duke of Windsor's wardrobe, Paris

The Huguenot Artistic Tradition In Australia with Robert Nash 
Friday 24 October 2014, 10.15 am to 11.45 am $20 / $18

The Huguenots were well known in France, and countries of exile, for their contribution to the fine and decorative arts. In Australia this tradition was continued by their descendants.

This talk will concentrate on four artists in particular: Benjamin Duterrau (1767-1851), Louis Buvelot (1814-1888), William Piguenit (1836-1914) and Jean Bellette (1908-1991). It will also look briefly at the role of Huguenot descendants (Lady Jane Franklin, Charles La Trobe, Eccleston Du Faur) in the patronage and encouragement of the arts as a social good, and at Huguenot contribution to the newer art forms of photography and film (Townsend Duryea, Harold Cazneaux, Godfrey Cass and Charles Chauvel).

ROBERT NASH is Secretary of the Huguenot Society of Australia. A descendant of Huguenot silk weavers, he was educated at Oxford and Cambridge. Nash has published numerous historical articles on Australian Huguenot genealogy and descendants, and is the editor of the book, The Hidden Thread | Huguenot Families in Australia (2009)

This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection

Amelie Romilly (1788-1875), Portrait of Jane, Lady Franklin (1792-1875) 1816, collection of National Portrait Gallery, London, bequest of the sitter's niece, Miss Sophia Cracroft, 1892, NPG 904


Food For Thought
26 May – 3 June 2015
A 9-day culinary and literary tour of Paris

Paris has always been seen as a haven of innovative cuisine, food critique and fine dining. Indeed the first restaurant as we know it was invented in Paris in the years before the French Revolution Food, drink and the cafe scene became an integral part of life and literature from 1800 onwards. With the help of a local guide this tour will explore all aspects of food in Paris.

Edgar Degas (France, 1834–1917), Dans un café (L'absinthe), circa 1875-6, collection of musée d'Orsay, Paris, France, RF 1984

The Hidden Treasures Of Venice & Rome
29 September – 11 October 2015
A 13-day tour of lesser know collection, palazzo and districts of Venice and Rome

It is significant that the most Serene Republic of Venice and Ancient Rome were the destinations of the 18th century English Grand Tourists searching for the grandeur of the ancient world, the sophistication of the Renaissance and the theatre of the Baroque. It is in these two cities that the tapestry of Western civilization can be endlessly unravelled.

This tour will discover the treasures of the smaller churches, tiny canals, little known collections and the stories they tell of districts that have all but disappeared.

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), (Italy, 1697 – 1768), The Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, 1732, The Royal Collection, England, RCIN 404417

These tours will be led by Sylvia Sagona, specialist in 19th century French art and literature, who has been leading cultural tours to Italy and France for the past twelve years.

Further information visit :