Carrick Hill: Jewel Box of Twentieth-Century Art

26 February 2016

This jewel box of a home contains one of the best collections of early twentieth-century art in Australia. Built in the late 1930s by Edward and Ursula Heywood in the style of a 17th century manor house, and using materials sourced from the demolition sale of a Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, Carrick Hill is a testament to the distinct taste and connoisseurship of its builders.

The juxtaposition of the tudor-inspired interiors and Jacobean furniture with modern, avant-garde paintings and sculpture endows the house with a unique and playful atmosphere. So many masters of the early twentieth-century British art world are on display here I almost didn't know where to look first, but seeing Gwen John's Soeur Marie Céline (c 1915-1920) was a real treat.

John is an artist I studied extensively throughout my doctoral research and Soeur Marie Celene is an excellent example of the many convent themed paintings she created. The Heywoods purchased the work in 1948 from British art dealer Arthur Tooth and Sons for £760 - a greater price than that paid for the three Joseph Epstein heads the couple also bought from Tooths. Nine years after her death John's commercial value was increasing, after years of struggle during her many years making art in Paris.

It's also worth noting that Carrick Hill houses one of the most glamorous 1930s bathrooms I've ever seen. Worth the entry price alone.

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 Soeur Marie Celene by Gwen John (c) Carrick Hill Estate

Soeur Marie Celene by Gwen John (c) Carrick Hill Estate

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