A Lot To See At Dobell House Exhibition

Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie is the Nation Heritage listed Dobell House, the home and studio of the late Sir William Dobell, one of Australia’s most famous painters. The home and its contents offer a unique experience of the life and work of Wangi’s “Gentle Genius”.

An extensive exhibition, “Dobell, his Life and Art”, is permanently on display. It is made up of 5 panels dedicated to Dobell’s life interspersed with 60 images of his works from 1927 to the time of his death in 1970. A further 8 panels, displaying 85 images, highlight the four major eras of his work – London, Sydney, New Guinea and Wangi. This exhibition was funded by a grant from the N.S.W. Ministry for the Arts under its 2001 Museums Program.

Dobell’s furniture and memorabilia, left in the house by the executors of the Will, were purchased by Lord and Lady Casey, Governor General of Australia and close friends of Sir William, and given to the Committee. These items remain on display throughout the house. Much of this furniture, including a Brinsmead grand piano (thought to have been given to Dobell by Camille Geysen in return for painting his portrait) and the house, have been restored by Federal and State Government grants and local government loans.

Over the years the Dobell family, led by Sir William’s niece Jean Hayward, have donated a considerable collection of Dobell’s personal items and family heirlooms to the House.

These have been placed on display and include a complete 80-piece blue and white Meissen dinner service; a jeroboam of vintage champagne bought by art collector and friend, Rudy Komon, for Dobell’s 70th birthday; and pieces of cane furniture which Dobell purchased in Hong Kong.

Other items donated and on display are a ‘pen and ink’ sketch on tracing linen, circa 1919, produced as an election poster for Magnus Cromarty and believed to be the oldest, signed work completed by Dobell as an adult; and his blue and white Japanese Yukata, or kimono-style housecoat.

A photo wall depicting Sir William at various stages of his life extends along the full length of the reception area. The images were selected from the Dobell House archives collection by Newcastle Region Art Gallery curatorial staff in preparation for their major ‘William Dobell: hard drawing’ exhibition. The Gallery enlarged and mounted the photographs and then donated them to Dobell House at the conclusion of the exhibition.

Visitors to Dobell’s studio, where he created many of his famous paintings, can listen to a 1963 radio interview in which he talks about himself and his work while downstairs in the main area they can watch a video program about him produced in the 1960s and featuring an interview actually filmed in the House.

The video program also includes footage of Dobell receiving the prestigious Britannica prize; extensive commentary by then Art Gallery of NSW director Hal Missingham and artist Donald Friend; and an interview with Sir William’s agent Rudy Komon.

The gardens around Dobell House have been restored to their heritage condition with an emphasis on plant species popular when Sir William lived there. They also contain many of his original plantings which are all clearly identified for visitors with individual plaques.



Dobell Studio
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Dobell Exhibition
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William Dobell in his Studio
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Sir William Dobell - H Rubenstein
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Dobell House

Situated at:
47 Dobell Drive
Wangi Wangi NSW 2267
Phone: 02 4975 4115
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