31-10-1878: Mandeville Hall, Toorak, Victoria.

Mandeville Hall was originally a sixteen room mansion built for Alfred Watson of the colonial trading firm “William Watson & Sons”. It was designed by architect Joseph Reed and originally named “St Georges”. A later owner, Joseph Clarke, commissioned architect Charles Webb to enlarge the house in 1877 and it was then re-named “Mandeville Hall”. After Clarkes’ death in 1895, Mandeville Hall had a number of transformations, including being an exclusive guest house, before eventually being purchased by the Loreto Sisters in 1924 as an Independent Catholic girls school, which it still is today.

The slideshow of photos depicts all the Stained Glass and Etched Glass windows at Mandeville Hall in detail.  The main Stairwell window, depicting the Four Seasons with Hunting and Angling scenes  was designed by Ferguson & Urie’s senior stained glass artist, David Relph Drape and it has the year “1878” shown at the apex of the window and Joseph Clarke’s initials “JC” at the bottom. The hallway window depicts country scenes which were also designed and painted by Drape and his signature appears at the base of the log in the central garden scene. The stained glass in the grand front entry doors depict the mythological fertility deities, “Flora” and “Pomona”, and they are again depicted in the doors to the conservatory but in this instance they are in acid etched glass.

Photos taken 6th December 2010.

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Beneath the stairwell are three small single light windows depicting Australian native birds, the Kookaburra, Cockatoo and a Magpie. The roundel depicting the Magpie is not original and is thought to have been a replacement or reproduction circa 1970, but it is still set within the original Ferguson & Urie outer parts of the window.

There are also some figures depicted in the stairwell window that have been positively matched to some of David Relph Drapes original pencil stained glass designs which are preserved in the State Library of Victoria’s manuscripts collection. The sketches that match those in the window are also shown as side by side comparisons in the slideshow.

The photos (other than the first image from the 1878 newspaper engraving) were taken on the 6th of December 2010.
Special thanks to Mr Steve Stefanopoulos, the Heritage Collection and Records manager at Loretto, who took myself and Mrs Val Goller on a fantastic tour of the mansion.

Illustrated Australian News, Melbourne, 31st October 1878, page 186

“The suburbs to the south of the River Yarra have for many years been famous for the number and beauty of their semi- rural residences, which, while, being within an easy distance of the city, are sufficiently removed from the influences of its dust and smoke to enable their owners to enjoy most of, if not all, the luxuries of a country, life. Toorak and its immediate neighborhood is undeniably the most fashionable suburb, and many of the villas belonging to our successful professional men, wealthy merchants and opulent land owners, would not do discredit to the most aristocratic neighborhood in the mother country. Mandeville Hall, the subject of our engraving, is situate in the Orrong road, Toorak, and has been recently erected by Mr. Joseph Clarke, a gentleman of large fortune, and the proprietor of large landed estates in several of the colonies. The house stands a considerable distance off the road, and is surrounded by grounds about thirteen acres in extent, the greater part of which are planted and tastefully laid out. It is a commodious house, containing in all about twenty-five rooms, and carries all the outward appearance of an English, gentleman’s residence. It has been built in the modern Italian style of architecture, from designs made by Mr. Charles Webb, architect, of Melbourne, the same order being observable in the columns on the lower story, and the Corinthian in those on the upper. A great feature in the exterior is a handsome colonnade and balcony, about twelve feet wide, extending round the west and south sides of the building, while in front is a terraced balustrading with steps leading; to a grassy lawn, between which and the house is a broad carriage drive. The building has been substantially constructed with blue stone foundations, the superstructure being of brick finished with Portland cement. Internally the rooms are spacious and convenient, all modern improvements in the way of ventilation and other necessary matters having been adopted. The decorations and furnishing are more than usually elaborate, Mr. Clarke having gone to the trouble, and. expense of commissioning Messrs. Gillow and Co., of London, to send out artists and workmen specially for the purpose of rendering his new home beautiful to the eye. The interior is decorated and fitted in the early English mediaeval and Oriental styles, and the whole richly ornamented. The cost of the building was about £30,000, and it forms, a handsome addition to the numerous private residences in the neighborhood”.

Related posts: 30-03-1882: David Relph Drape (1821-1882)

External links:

Biography: Joseph Clarke (1834-1895)
Loreto Web Site: Loreto Mandeville Hall Catholic Girls School

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