A generous arts and antiques buff!

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home” – Twyla Tharp

What if I told you that I know a place here in North Adelaide to travel the world, escape the routine and embrace history, would you believe me?!

The Pratts called this type of pottery their “Etruscan” ware.

The David Roche Foundation is an impressive arts collection gallery featuring two centuries of European designs. His founder, David Roche, was passionate about antiques and fine arts. He devoted his whole life traveling the world and acquiring unique objects. When it came to arts he had absolutely no limits and he adored everything: furnitures, paintings, sculptures, porcelains… His home was filled with treasures from the past to be cherished and kept secret! But David Roche had a dream: he wanted  to leave a legacy to Australian people! His foundation is his last gift so visitors can enjoy his legendary collection and learn more about history through unique and original pieces.

Patinated bronze statue of the Madonna: Mother of Mercy

I really recommend to visit this art gallery. It is fascinating to gaze at all these original objects and hear about their origins. It is like traveling to the past: it is a beautiful journey from the early rococo of France to Faberge in Russia. Furthermore David Roche is quite an intriguing character and it is interesting to hear about his life. The gallery is run by an amazing Lady called Ann, she is absolutely fabulous and I could honestly listen to her for hours presenting each item of the collection: so fascinating! Besides she speaks English beautifully (crystal clear) so for foreigners like me, it is a really good practice!  In my opinion, she speaks the “Queen’s English” and it is absolutely divine! I think she really adds something to the whole experience!

As for me, thanks to Ann explanations, my favourite piece was actually a Napoleon dessert service depicting views of Paris. It was made with delicate and finest porcelain and it looked really precious. The emperor offered this set to his beloved sister Pauline! And if you paid a closer look to the dessert plates, you could see on one of them the “Jardin des plantes” and 2 kangaroos as part of this beautiful scenery! Actually the French emperor was fascinated by Australia: in the 1800s it was considered as the most exotic, exiting and unexplored place of the world! No wonder that at that  time an expedition was orchestrated by Napoleon himself! He appointed the French explorer Nicolas Baudin and instructed him to bring back to France typical Australian plants and animals! It is nearly a miracle that the kangaroos survived the 6 months journey on the ship (when I can hardly cope with the 21 hours trip by plane from Adelaide to Paris) and could be seen in the famous Parisian botanical garden. So as you can easily imagine I really enjoyed gazing at this beautiful Napoleon dessert service, it is more than an object, it is all the (hi)story it represent and what Australia means to France and French people ❤

IMG_1191So next time, you happen to visit the fancy Melbourne street on North Adelaide, pop by the lovely cafe E for Ethel for a nice lunch or a latte and then head to The David Roche foundation and don’t  leave the gallery before having found a favourite piece to remember so you can tell me all about it in the comment section 😉 I’m really looking forward to hear from you!


237 Melbourne Street
North Adelaide SA 5006

(08) 8267 1755
Entry by donation of $2 per person
Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 3pm – Friday to Monday: Closed
Here are some informations about the antiques presented on the different article pictures:
The pair of moulded and carved terra cotta figures are allegories of Spring (with the posy of flowers)  and Summer (with the buch of grapes) and are in the style of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853). They are from France, early 20th century.The silvered and parcel-gilt electrotyped copper wall plaques are referred to as “Chargers” and were made by Elkington & Co. in England in 1869, from French designs.One is  “January-June” signs of the zodiac, the other is  “July- December” and each has a different season portrayed in the centre.
The black and white earthenware Pot-pourri Vase is by Pratt & Co. of Fenton, England and was made circa 1880. It is in perfect condition, and is in three sections with a domed lid, an inner lid pierced with holes and a base with two handles attached from the shoulders to the rim, decorated in black over white with painted and transfer printed classical pattern borders and figural designs and gilding. The Pratts called this type of pottery their “Etruscan” ware.
The patinated bronze statue of the Madonna is by British sculptor, Nic Fiddian-Green who was born in 1963.   It is titled ‘Mother of Mercy’ and was produced in England circa 1999. This sculpture was created for the new millennium as an edition of only three – the first is in the Vatican in Rome. On completion of the third and final cast, all moulds are to be destroyed by the artist.

7 thoughts on “A generous arts and antiques buff!”

  1. Hi dear Virginie!!

    Thanks a heap for sharing your posts. They’re pretty interesting and honestly, I enjoy reading all of them. In the case of this new one about arts, I’d like to say that I have in mind visiting a great museum in the South of Spain next summer, during my holidays. It’s Picasso’s museum and is located in the downtown of Málaga. It’s said that it’s amazing.
    After my long silence, I have to say that fortunately I’ve finished my English exams and now I hope to know the marks the next week. I’ll be crossing my fingers until then. To be honest with you, I have many doubts with the listening and writing exams. The truth is that it’s been a tough year at my English school due to the high level and now I feel exhausted. Anyway, if I fail, I have another chance in September.
    The best thing is that I’ll start my holidays in two weeks give or take.
    I wish you the best Virginie!!!
    Take care and keep in touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Antonio,
      Thanks for this lovely comment: this is music to my ears! You made my day! I think it is a really great idea you are going to visit Picasso’s museum in Malaga! If you happen to see one of his masterpiece called “Guernica” then please think of me 😉 as it is one of my favorite and I tell you why: I started to learn Spanish at College when I was 15 years old! One of the text I studied was about the painting “Guernica” and I still remember it, it was very powerful! There was a big picture of the painting and an interesting article where everything was explained. Learning a language through its art, its culture and its history is so fascinating! Putting everything into context makes more sense. Picasso is such a talented artist that even if I could not understand all the words and expression in the text, I just had to gaze at the painting to get a feeling to understand the violence, the tragedy, the chaos that war can cause. So many innocents people killed in these times of darkness and brutality. This painting is a memory, a sad part of the Spanish history. But more generally it is also a symbol denonciating the abominations performed in the name of political and/or religious beliefs and reminding us that war is never the answer!
      As you can see I keep a vivid memory of this Spanish lesson as I was very moved by this painting.
      As for your English exams, I am very confident in your skills! Your English is pretty amazing and I have no doubt in your success! It is good if you are following courses where the level is high! It is important to be constantly challenged when you learn a second language. You were very committed to your lessons so I see no reason why you would not succeed! Should this happen, please don’t doubt yourself, as I have told you your English is great but sometimes exams can be stressful and even the best student can lose it! Actually my friend Virginia (from Spain) who is currently living in London has failed her Cambridge exams 2 times and to me it is a complete mystery because her English is way better than mine! The only explanation I can think of is that she must be panicked during the tests but she has a positive attitude and she keeps trying and I am sure that her commitment and perseverance will pay off someday! So Antonio I wish you all the best regarding your exams results, please keep me posted 🙂


  2. Lovely friend, I love your blog, I can practice my English with it and I love the way you write. You are one of my best things that I have had this year =). All your stories are interesting and each one could feel your emotions and connection with each thing that you live.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi dear Virginie!! Thanks a heap for your kind post. I really liked it. I don’t find words to describe how well you write.
    OMG, I’m absolutely astonished. Your knowledge of Spanish history is amazing. Obviously, I studied that subject at school, yet, to be honest, now I’ve forgotten many things about that. Anyway, one thing is clear, Picasso was probably the most talented artist in Spain.
    Talking about my last English exams, I have good news. Fortunately I passed all of them!! Sincerely, it’s been a tough year. You know, mainly practicing lots of listening exercises (my weakest skill in English). Now it’s time to think long and hard about the following English course: C1.‏
    Do you know it? ‏
    Well, the thing is that I don’t know exactly what to do. The schedule for that course isn’t adapt to my shifts at work and I’d have many problems to attend the classes. Let’s see. ‏
    Ahh, by the way, I’m traveling to the South of Spain next week. There, I’m not sure if I’ll have Internet available. Anyway, I wish that we keep in touch. ‏
    Are you going to have holidays this summer as well? If so, enjoy them a lot. You recently found a job, didn’t you? Are you satisfied?
    Take care dear Virginie. Ahh, I forgot it, if you happen to meet Balbina, give her a big hug from me. She’s pretyy special. 😉 🙂 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Antonio, CONGRATULATIONS!!! It is so great, I am so glad for you! Well done, I knew you would pass your exams successfully, I had no doubts! I don’t know about the C1 exam, is it related to English Cambridge exam? I hope you will manage to find the right balance between your job shifts and your English classes so you can study in the best conditions! I wish you great holidays and keep following my blog! I have been very busy lately (on interesting stuffs) and I have many articles to write which is good 😀 So keep in touch!


  4. Hi dear Virginie,

    Thanks a lot for your post. I really liked it. C1 is officially recognized in Spain as an advanced level of English. Well, in my case I’ve just finished the B2 level (At my school it’s called “Advanced 2”). Indeed, the English Cambridge exam is another sort of official exam such as FCE, TOEFL and so on.
    It isn’t so easy to deal with studies and job, but at least it’s something that I enjoy doing. Now, it’s time to wait to get a place in that course. Until September I’ll know nothing.

    I wish you the best. Take care and keep in touch.;) 🙂


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