ART IMITATES LIFE

THE OWN­ERS OF THIS HOUSE HAVE EM­BRACED THE TASK OF RESTOR­ING EARLY COLO­NIAL PAINTER JOHN GLOVER’S HOME.

Country Style - - CONTENTS - WORDS HI­LARY BUR­DEN

Carol and Rod­ney West­more have set about restor­ing colo­nial land­scape painter John Glover’s Pat­terdale Farm in Ded­ding­ton, north­ern Tas­ma­nia.

WHEN CAROL AND ROD­NEY WEST­MORE bought Pat­terdale Farm in Ded­ding­ton, north­ern Tas­ma­nia, in 2004, they weren’t plan­ning to take on a her­itage restora­tion project in­volv­ing one of Australia’s most im­por­tant early colo­nial artists. Farm­ing for 35 years, Carol and Rod­ney, a re­tired eye sur­geon, had sim­ply found the farm they’d been long­ing for. Al­though at­tracted by the fact that it once be­longed to Bri­tish land­scape painter John Glover, they were mostly swayed by the prox­im­ity of Pat­terdale — a work­ing farm pro­duc­ing su­perfine merino wool — to Launce­s­ton, a 45-minute drive away. “At that time, we didn’t re­ally think about do­ing any­thing with Glover’s legacy,” ex­plains Carol. “We had a farm em­ployee liv­ing in the house. Dam­aged walls were sheeted over, but it was liv­able.” But 2004 also saw the in­au­gu­ra­tion by the John Glover So­ci­ety of the Glover Prize, an an­nual art prize awarded for paint­ings of the Tas­ma­nian land­scape. The so­ci­ety — a vol­un­teer-run com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive based in Evan­dale — honours Glover (1767–1849) who lived and painted in the area from 1832 un­til his death. Carol, a pas­sion­ate art col­lec­tor, has been a mem­ber since its in­cep­tion. As the Glover Prize gained mo­men­tum, peo­ple started ask­ing Carol and Rod­ney if it was pos­si­ble to visit Pat­terdale (named after a small vil­lage in the English Lake District) to see “Glover Coun­try” — the name given by Aus­tralian artist Tom Roberts to the plains and hills south of Evan­dale where John Glover chose to live so he could paint them. “Peo­ple used to knock on the door to look at the gar­den,” says Carol. “They came so fre­quently our ten­ant would ask for a gold coin do­na­tion! We had tour groups from Australia, and one in­ter­na­tional from the Yale Cen­tre for Bri­tish Art. It was clear there was tremen­dous bur­geon­ing in­ter­est, but the >

house was pretty or­di­nary — it wasn’t smart or even warm — so not ex­actly a bea­con for vis­i­tors.” A cou­ple of years after pur­chas­ing Pat­terdale, the West­mores bought a neigh­bour­ing farm­house and property (where they now live), which they spent a year restor­ing. Nile Farm, built be­fore Glover’s house in 1826 by Robert Pit­cairn, is a two-storey brick build­ing in the old colo­nial Ge­or­gian style fac­ing the Nile River with views of Ben Ne­vis. A paint­ing of Nile Farm in the Na­tional Gallery by Wil­liam De­lafield Cook mis­tak­enly at­tributes it as ‘Glover’s House’. As a re­sult, “a lot of peo­ple come past think­ing Nile Farm is Glover’s,” says Carol. “At least once a week!” At Nile Farm, Glover Coun­try is on view in four di­rec­tions from the house. “It’s a beau­ti­ful sky­line,” says Carol. “And the house is very com­fort­able, big­ger than the Glover house.” The cou­ple’s life­long love of art and farm­ing comes to­gether at Nile Farm. It is a mar­riage of con­tem­po­rary and colo­nial taste: art works from Philip Wolfha­gen to John Glover. Carol re­gards Tas­ma­nia as a great place to view colo­nial art, with two large gal­leries and rep­utable lo­cal deal­ers. Her love turned to con­tem­po­rary art when she joined Ho­bart-based Bett Gallery’s art buy­ing groups — the Tamar Art Group and Der­went Art Group — for a time dur­ing the 1980s and 1990s. (Carol is cur­rently vice pres­i­dent of Launce­s­ton’s Queen Vic­to­ria Mu­seum and Art Gallery Foun­da­tion.) After their farm em­ployee moved on and Glover’s house be­came va­cant, the West­mores were en­cour­aged by then Glover Prize cu­ra­tor, Jane Deeth, to set about restor­ing Pat­terdale, and com­mis­sioned a Con­ser­va­tion Man­age­ment Plan by her­itage ar­chi­tect Graeme Cor­ney. In 2016, the cou­ple suc­cess­fully her­itage listed 4000 hectares of the orig­i­nal land grants of Pit­cairn and Glover. >

And for the past 18 months, Carol has re­searched and man­aged the metic­u­lous restora­tion of both Glover’s house and stu­dio by Launce­s­ton builders An­stie Con­struc­tions. Plans for Pat­terdale are con­stantly evolv­ing, and work on restor­ing and recre­at­ing the Glover gar­den will be­gin as soon as they’ve waved farewell to the builders’ vans. In the mean­time, Carol has es­tab­lished a trial bed that she in­tends to fill with some of the plants in Glover’s well-known 1835 paint­ing, A view of the artist’s house and gar­den, in Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land. “We can’t be too lit­eral,” says Carol. “There are ma­ture trees in the frame now, par­tic­u­larly a num­ber of elms that Glover would’ve planted.” Carol loves shar­ing their project with vis­i­tors. Ini­tial plans are to open the house for ac­com­mo­da­tion, es­tab­lish an artist’s res­i­dency pro­gram, and hold oc­ca­sional events and func­tions in the stu­dio. Dur­ing the Glover Prize in March, Carol hopes to dis­play the story of Pat­terdale’s restora­tion in the newly re­built ex­hi­bi­tion room, which the cou­ple has been restor­ing with the help of a small gov­ern­ment grant. Glover’s for­mer property will also be open for peo­ple to view the sites of some of his paint­ings just 10 min­utes from the house. “You can look at the paint­ing in front of you, look up and see the land­scape ex­actly as it was over 180 years ago when he painted it,” says Carol. “Ev­ery­one is blown away by that, see­ing it ex­actly as Glover would have seen it. It’s the clear­est view and the clos­est you’ll see the land­scape. It’s mag­i­cal. Now we have the her­itage list­ing, the dis­tant hills will stay like that — hope­fully for another 200 years.” The Glover Prize ex­hi­bi­tion is open from March 10th–19th. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit glover­coun­try.com.au or john­glover.com.au. Fol­low the Pat­terdale restora­tion on In­sta­gram @glover­coun­try

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MARK ROPER STYLING LEE BLAY­LOCK

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