The Collection

Treasured memories ...
Memorable treasures

Inside Olveston the contents of the house are a visual, historic and aesthetic delight. Each object serves as a reminder of family memories and bygone times. Collectively they have the most precious attributes of all – a feeling of intimacy and a unique identity.

The collection is comprised of many treasures from around the world. Objects and artefacts on display include bronze statues, fine pieces of Japanese cloisonné and ivory, Chinese jade and ceramics, 18th and 19th century Japanese weaponry, domestic items and an impressive collection of fine artworks, by the family between the late 1800s and the early 1960s. Artists represented in the collection include Frances Hodgkins, Grace Joel, C. F. Goldie, Sir Russell Flint and works after Fra Filippo Lippi and Veronese.

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Above

The vestibule, (or entrance hall) is spacious. Designed and furnished to create an interesting atmosphere for the guests, the room houses an impressive collection of arms. Olveston’s priceless collection of treasures was collected from around the world. The largest percentage of these came from East Asia and in particular, Japan.

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Netsuke, Ojime and inro set

Description:
The four case container (inro) with butterflies playing above tall grasses. Late Edo-early 19C.

The netsuke, (decorative ornament of a carved figure of an old hag seated on a rock is believed to represent Ono-no-Komachi in old age..

The ojime, (carved bead, internal himotoshi has flat ground lacquer. Takamaki-e decoration (lacquer on lacquer).

Object TypeDecorative objects
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeJapan
Date Createdc. early 1900
Materialmixed
Dimensionsvarious
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Lantern Clock

Description:
Substantial clock with bell canopy. Decorated with panels of wrought brass incorporating human figures, rococo motifs and two fleurs-de-lis. Blue numerals on white enamel shields.

Object TypeClock
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeUnknown
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialBrass
DimensionsH 590 mm
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Urn, Rectangular ‘Ting’

Description:
Rectangular ‘Ting’ on 4 legs. Canton enamel with polychrome pastel decoration featuring floral brocades surrounding landscape reserves with European flavour. Mounted on carved blackwood stand.

Object TypeContainer / Urn
CreatorSquare mark for Ch’ien Lung. 1736-95.
Place MadeChina
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialCopper / Enamel
DimensionsW 250 x D 180 H 410 mm - On stand
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Photograph, Theomin Family Group

Description:
Theomin family group - David, Marie, Edward & Dorothy.

Taken in the garden. Inscribed “Mr & Mrs Theomin, Edward & Dorothy”

Object TypePhotograph
CreatorMuir & Moodie
Place MadeDunedin
Date Createdc. 1902
MaterialPaper, Sepia
DimensionsH 190 x W 130 mm
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Ice plane

Description:
One of two metal ice planes with turned wood handles.

Object TypeKitchen ware
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeUnknown
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialMetal and wood
DimensionsL 255 mm ea
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Casket, Jewel

Description:
Elliptical casket; hinged cover; Relief figures, exterior; velvet lined interior. Capo-di Monte style. Marks, Naples Ferdinard IV.

Object TypeContainer / Casket
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeItaly
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialPorcelain
DimensionsH 185 mm
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Painting, ‘The Family of Darius at the Feet of Alexander’

Description:
“The Family of Darius at the Feet of Alexander” after VERONESE (Paolo Caliari called Veronese), 1520-1588. Probably a copy.

Object TypeArt Work
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeItaly
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialOil
DimensionsH 1280 x W 2220 x D 98 mm, frame / H 1046 x W 2000mm, image.
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Painting, ‘Head of an Old Woman’

Description:
“Head of an Old Woman” or “Thinking of the Olden Times - Of Days long vanished, of years gone by” by Frances Mary Hodgkins, 1869-1947

Object TypeArt Work
CreatorFrances Hodgkins
Place MadeNew Zealand
Date CreatedTBC
MaterialWater Colour
DimensionsH 492 x W 371 mm (picture out of frame)
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Staffordshire flatback figures

Description:
A Staffordshire earthenware flat back figure; Prince of Wales on horse. What is a flat back? The figures, also commonly called "chimney pieces", are cheap earthenware ornaments made initially for modest country cottages by relatively unskilled labor. Detailed only on the front and slim enough to fit on a narrow shelf (primarily fire-place mantels), they were made from the 1840s to the early 20th century up to World War 1 and can be classified as naive folk art.

Object TypeDecorative objects
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeEngland
Date Createdc. early 1900
MaterialEarthenware
DimensionsHt 310 mm
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Islamic Jar

Description:
...

Object Type...
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeUnknown
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialUnknown
DimensionsUnknown
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Pistol, Flint Lock

Description:
Old flint lock pistol (possibly Spanish Miquelet)

Object TypeWeapon
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeUnknown
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialMetal, Wood
DimensionsL 330 mm
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Yusen-jippo, black grey and green with dragon vase

Description:
Globular form. Silver-toned metal base. Yusen-jippo, black grey and green with dragon motif. Delicate cloison work. No marks. Early 20C for export.

Object TypeVase
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeJapan
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialMetal/cloisonné
DimensionsHt 100mm
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Mincer

Description:
Small metal meat mincer, inscribed "No. 1 Universal Food Chopper L.F. & C. New Britain Conn. U.S.A. PAT. OCT. 12. 1897. APR.18, 1899. RE. SEPT.5. 1880." Handle inscribed "PAT. MAY 15. 1900. CANADA PAT. OCT. 12. 1897. GREAT BRITAIN 2432697. BREVETE SG. DG. 1897. D.R.P. NO. 104762. BELGIUM 139446."

Object TypeKitchen ware
CreatorLanders, Frary & Clark, New Britain Conn. USA
Place MadeUSA
Date CreatedUnknown
MaterialCast iron,
DimensionsL 240 mm
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Painting, ‘The Orange Seller, Tangier’

Description:
“The Orange Seller, Tangier” by Frances Mary Hodgkins, 1869-1947

Object TypeArt Work
CreatorFrances Hodgkins
Place MadeNew Zealand
Date CreatedTBC
MaterialWater Colour
DimensionsH 75 x W 500 mm (picture out of frame)
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Georgian Tea Caddy

Description:
The history behind this small item displayed in the drawing room of the Theomin family home traverses the high seas and exotic teas, trade and taxation, revolution and relaxation.The decoratively detailed yet practical item is a tea caddy, a container for loose leaf tea, dating from the late 18th to early 19th century, when King George III reigned. The mahogany box is an elongated hexagonal shape, tin-lined and lockable. Glass panels on the lid and sides contain skilful examples of paper quilling.

Object TypeDecorative objects
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeUnknown
Date Createdc. late 18th to early 19th century
MaterialWood, tin, paper and glass
DimensionsHt 125 mm
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Eagle Coal Range

Description:
The kitchen at Olveston Historic Home is dominated by a magnificent coal-fired range – the Patent Eagle, a handsome piece of equipment which c.1904 would have been state-of-the-art. It was manufactured by Eagle Range & Gas Stove Co Ltd, of Regent Street, London. The words 'BY ROYAL LETTER PATENT EAGLE RANGE' are proudly embossed on the black cast iron.

Object TypeCoal Range
CreatorEagle Range & Gas Stove Co Ltd, London
Place MadeEngland
Date Createdc.1904
MaterialCast iron, mica
DimensionsUnknown
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Japanese ramma transom panels

Description:
A pair of Japanese ramma panels are a feature of the Theomin family’s oriental collection in Olveston. They are placed above two doorways in the Great Hall, a location simulating their original architectural use as pierced ventilation transoms (although Olveston’s examples have been modified with the addition of silk backings). The traditional wood carving art on ramma panels – sometimes brightly coloured, sometimes plain – ranges from simple slatted or geometric trellis designs to more figurative ones featuring plants and animals or landscapes.

Object TypePanel
Creatorunknown
Place MadeJapan
Date Createdc. early 1900
MaterialWood, pigment and silk
Dimensions1830mm x 510mm
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North American Indian beaded bag

Description:
A North American Indian beaded bag hanging in a corner of the Card room. The bag itself is made of soft hide (buckskin), with a wrist-strap, flap fasteners and a long fringe at the bottom edge. An overall decoration of stitched rows of seed beads creates a ribbed appearance. Ornamental beadwork is one of the best known art forms practised by American Indians and design elements were distinctive to different tribes. Judging from the geometric design and beading technique, this bag is most likely an example of a 19th-century Plains Indian artefact.

Object TypeBag
CreatorUnknown
Place MadeAmerica
Date CreatedUnknown
Materialsoft hide (buckskin), beadwork
Dimensions490 x 20mm
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D. E. Theomin’s book plate, designed by Mabel Hill

Description:
A book plate is a label, affixed to the inside cover, indicating ownership. This one was designed for David Theomin by artist Mabel Hill and was produced as an etching, printed in black ink, to use on the books in his personal library. The original etched zinc plate and several prints are also still at Olveston.

The Latin words Ex Libris translate as “from the books” or “from the library of”.

Object TypeBook plate
CreatorMabel Hill
Place MadeDunedin
Date Createdc.1925
Materialpaper
Dimensions115x75mm
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