Still Life with Oranges

Colville Gallery

Last year I visited the 1840’s cottage of Geoffrey and Rosemary Stillwell in Liverpool Street, Hobart. Rosemary had recently passed away and her brother Geoffrey had died in 2000. The home was full of an eclectic collection of items from their lives, set out in various arrangements ready for auction.

Geoffrey had been the Curator at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art and had collected some wonderful Tasmanian heritage items as well as inherited objects from his own family’s history.

I felt a bit like a voyeur and an intruder as I wandered around examining each piece and even handling some of the objects. The rooms seemed largely untouched and the original wallpaper framed some beautiful old pieces of work. The experience initiated many of the works in this exhibition, as did several visits to the exquisite Allport Museum with its beautiful colonial collection.

… things placed right next to us, in absolute intimacy, yet unknowable. Full of history, but their history is mute; full of associations with particular people, moments, gestures, emotions, and all those associations not available now…
(Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemons)