Not many homes can boast a claim to fame as the subject of a painting from one of Australia’s leading landscape artists of the 19th century. However, Glenara – the historic homestead built in 1857 by Walter Clark on 420 hectares of land on what is now Glenara Drive, Bulla not far from Melbourne Airport – is just such a case. This magnificent property (still retaining some 160 hectares of its original land) was painted in 1867 by Eugene von Guerard and the work now hangs proudly in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Glenara was recently sold for only the third time in its long history. The vendors, who have owned the homestead since 1957, have asked Phillip Caldwell Auctioneers to handle the sale of all furniture and other collectible items with the auction scheduled for Sunday March 4 from 11am. The property originally became famous when Walter’s son Alister used the extensive garden to develop new varieties of roses, highly regarded throughout Australia and in the United States. A fine horseman, Alister also was founding chairman of the Moonee Valley Racing Club – the Alister Clark Stakes being named in his honour.
Phillip Caldwell said the 0.5 kilometre long driveway is a journey back in time with remnants of the 1850s splendid garden, complete with giant monkey puzzle trees and reminiscent of Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens, still visible. One of the major and more intriguing items for auction is a large painting by wellknown 19th century English artist James Burrell-Smith. Originally, it hung in another historic homestead, Banyule at Templestowe, before being brought to Glenara about 50 years ago. Impressive is the gilt overmantel mirror brought from Overton, yet another magnificent home. Other art works should also attract plenty of interest including a view of Hobart from behind Mount Wellington painted in the 1860s by artist Henry Gritten, famous at the time for his historic views of Australian cities. Gritten painted four views of Melbourne, two of which are in the NGV and State Library, and a third that sold 20 years ago for about $450,000.
Additional works of note include a major painting by J.H. Scheltema, paintings by both J.A. Turner and Emmanuel Phillips Fox and three Ernest Buckmasters including one showing Balmoral Castle in England. A further interesting painting is J.W Curtis’s picture of the You Yangs, which has been hanging in the Geelong gallery for the past 16 years. Phil Caldwell said other items had been in the house for decades and were only discovered quite by chance. “Silk top hats in perfect condition in leather boxes were found in the maids’ sculleries and butlers’ pantries along with old riding boots from London,” he said.
Other fascinating items include a mid-18th century metal bound ship’s trunk and a mixture of 19th century English burr walnut and Australian cedar. Phil said a large Royal Doulton piece by George White and 18th century Dr Wall Worcester items should pique collector interest. “Dr Wall founded the Worcester works which later became Royal Worcester in the mid-19th century,” he said. Also of interest to collectors should be the old gold mining sluice and accompanying wheelbarrow from the 1850s Ballarat goldfields. Viewing Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm.