LAND­SCAPE LEGACY

THE FAITH­FULLY RE­STORED HOME OF COLO­NIAL PAINTER JOHN GLOVER IS IN­SPIR­ING A NEW GEN­ER­A­TION OF CREATIVES.

Country Style - - CONTENTS - WORDS HI­LARY BUR­DEN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MARNIE HAWSON

We take a look around the prop­erty of colo­nial painter John Glover, whose home has been faith­fully re­stored.

BRI­TISH ARTIST JOHN GLOVER, a con­tem­po­rary of Turner and Con­sta­ble, may have had many rea­sons for choos­ing to set­tle in Van Diemen’s Land in 1832 when he was aged in his 60s. Per­haps it was be­cause at cer­tain times of day, the twisted white gums and grass­lands of Mills Plains, in the foothills of Ben Lomond, re­flect light so beau­ti­fully that the land­scape looks just like a paint­ing. The rugged pro­file of Ben Lomond seemed to inspire him as much as the peaks of his home­land. So much so, in fact, that he named his new home Pat­terdale, af­ter a small vil­lage in the UK’S Lake District.

What is cer­tain is that this site, one of the last colo­nial land grants, al­lowed Glover to spend his re­main­ing years paint­ing new landscapes. He trav­elled by foot and on horse­back to the van­tage points rep­re­sented in some of his most fa­mous paint­ings: A cor­robery of na­tives in Mills Plains (1832),

My Har­vest Home (1835) and A view of the artist’s house and gar­den in Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land (1835).

Glover was en­thralled by the na­ture he found in Aus­tralia and stud­ied ev­ery de­tail of his new sur­round­ings. By the time Glover ar­rived, Tas­ma­nia’s Abo­rig­i­nal pop­u­la­tion had al­most been bounty-hunted into ex­tinc­tion, but the artist re­turned them to the land­scape. He stud­ied their in­di­vid­ual pro­files and de­picted them gath­ered peace­fully around camp­fires. He also recog­nised the beauty of the eu­ca­lypts; some of the sin­u­ous trees he painted still stand to­day.

In 1835, Glover sent 68 paint­ings to his dealer in London, many of which now hang in im­por­tant gal­leries in Bri­tain and Aus­tralia. De­spite the sig­nif­i­cance of the pe­riod in which Glover painted, Pat­terdale had be­come di­lap­i­dated in the mod­ern era. Its only res­i­dents were fam­i­lies of pos­sums. Un­til 2004, that is, when Carol and Rod­ney West­more bought Pat­terdale (next door to their own home at Nile Farm) and com­mit­ted to restor­ing it.

It was al­ways the West­mores’ in­ten­tion to main­tain the artis­tic con­nec­tion to ‘Glover Coun­try’ — the name Aus­tralian painter Tom Roberts gave to the plains and hills south of Evan­dale. Glover Coun­try has long cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional artists, many of whom have made pil­grim­ages to Pat­terdale.

It took six years, but restora­tion of the house was fi­nally com­pleted in 2019. To­day, Pat­terdale wel­comes vis­i­tors on monthly open days. “Peo­ple come here for all sorts of rea­sons,” says Carol. “Many of them are look­ing to re­con­nect with some­one they knew, with Glover’s paint­ings, of course, or with sto­ries of an in­tact land­scape.”

More than most, Carol knows how the cre­ative mind re­sponds to Glover Coun­try. She in­vited artists to cre­ate work dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion pe­riod, some of which is dis­played in the re­built Ex­hi­bi­tion Room, a spa­cious pic­ture gallery and stu­dio de­signed by Glover which fea­tures a unique an­gled awning to let light in. One such res­i­dent, con­tem­po­rary artist Me­gan Walch, found her muse in the gar­den’s acan­thus. Be­fore the house re­ceived its sand­stone fa­cade, Me­gan sten­cilled an acan­thus on the Besser block in­ter­nal re­place­ment wall, a nod to the gar­den. Given the qual­ity of the restora­tion, Carol hopes Me­gan’s in­ter­nal work of art won’t be seen for at least an­other 200 years!

“While vis­it­ing artists may cre­ate art that looks very dif­fer­ent to his work, Glover’s vi­sion re­mains an in­spi­ra­tion for all,” says Carol. “His re­la­tion­ship with the An­tipodean land­scape, his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and their con­nec­tion with the land still res­onate deeply.” >

Carol’s own vi­sion for Pat­terdale has been to stay as true to his time as pos­si­ble. But for a sin­gu­lar mag­nif­i­cent oak planted af­ter Glover’s time, the home and gar­den are ex­actly as he de­picted it in 1835, in his paint­ing A view of the artist’s house and gar­den at Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land.

The two-storey home with its quirky Ex­hi­bi­tion Room (a stand­alone struc­ture) and its gar­den beds fea­tur­ing nat­u­ral­is­tic plant­ings are de­signed to mimic that paint­ing.

In 2020, Pat­terdale wel­comes its first artists — mu­si­cians, writ­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, painters — as part of an on­go­ing res­i­dency pro­gram. As in­au­gu­ral writer-in-res­i­dence, I met a stream of peo­ple drawn to the prop­erty to see the val­ley as it would have been in Glover’s time, or sim­ply to spend time in the painter’s land­scape. One man wanted to make a gift to Pat­terdale, and to give cre­ative breath to his late mother, a frus­trated artist. This gift — a seat made of dry stone and sal­vaged King Billy pine — is be­ing built to give vis­i­tors a point from which they can ap­pre­ci­ate the view of Ben Lomond, the light spilling over sugar-loaf hills, an­cient stands of white gums and tree-dot­ted plains.

There is no mo­bile re­cep­tion in Glover Coun­try. Ev­ery­thing in­spires the artis­tic sen­si­bil­ity, which craves the sup­port of gen­er­ous pa­trons and the lux­ury of time. Carol says that even as a crum­bled ruin Pat­terdale would have re­mained a pow­er­ful mag­net for com­mit­ted artists. “But in its re­stored beauty, the prop­erty of­fers a sanc­tu­ary for be­ing and learn­ing and un­der­stand­ing for ev­ery­one.”

“Apart from an oak tree planted af­ter Glover’s time, the house and gar­den are ex­actly as he de­picted them in 1835.”

The new gar­den plant­ing plan was de­signed by Ho­bart-based land­scape de­signer Cather­ine Shields. FAC­ING PAGE Pat­terdale has been glo­ri­ously re­stored to its full Ge­or­gian splen­dour.

CLOCK­WISE, FROM LEFT Au­then­tic Colo­nial fur­ni­ture fea­tures through­out the house; Carol West­more; the breakfast room; the gar­den out­side the Ex­hi­bi­tion Room; the home’s el­e­gant li­brary, fondly known as “Mr G’s Room”; the re­fur­bished en­trance makes a grand first im­pres­sion; one of the in­for­ma­tion stops on the walk­ing trail. This view­point on the walk­ing tour is also rep­re­sented in Glover’s paint­ing My Har­vest Home; nearly two cen­turies later, this land­scape is the same as Glover de­picted it in Pat­terdale Land­scape with Rain­bow (c 1832). FAC­ING PAGE The ex­te­rior of the Ex­hi­bi­tion Room.

CLOCK­WISE, FROM LEFT As many of the orig­i­nal fea­tures were re­tained as pos­si­ble, right down to the slop­ing floor; the framed sec­tion of wall­pa­per above the door is orig­i­nal to the house; a field of ele­phant gar­lic in what was once Pat­terdale’s vegetable gar­den; the farm is sur­rounded by the Ben Lomond Na­tional Park; Mrs Glover’s Room in­cludes a con­tem­po­rary art­work by Troy Ruf­fels; stands of trees dot the prop­erty. FAC­ING PAGE A dis­tant view of the front of the home, taken from the track fea­tured in My Har­vest Home.

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