What is significant?
Clowance was built in 1892-93 for mine manager Isaiah Pearce and his family to the design of local architect WE Gribble. Clowance is a single-storey, brick building with cement render decoration on the windows, a patterned, slate hipped roof and dichromatic brick, Tudor style chimneys. Clowance has projecting, rendered bay windows, the eastern one with a battlemented parapet, the northern one with a raised pediment. Verandahs with ogee curved roofs are on the east and north facades, and the last bay of the east verandah has an entry porch with an encaustic tile floor.
How is it significant?
Clowance has architectural, aesthetic and historical significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Clowance has architectural significance as an innovative example of a transitional design between Victorian and Federation styles with a notable combination of features and fine external and internal detailing. Notable elements include the patterned roof, bay windows and distinctive timber detailing on the verandahs and bargeboards. The verandahs have cast iron posts in pairs joined by a segmental arched timber valance instead of the conventional cast iron frieze. The half hipped gable and barge boards have a hint of an Islamic style in the curved motifs. The exotic theme is carried over into the stepped triangular arches over the main openings, a distinguishing feature of the whole composition of the interior and exterior.
The fence is significant as a fine example of a timber picket fences from the early 20th century. It replaced the original fence but is highly sympathetic to the elaborate style of the house with its chamfered posts capped by prominent mouldings and asymmetrically topped pickets.
Clowance has aesthetic significance for the richness and intactness of its interior decorative scheme. Notable features include timber detailing, marbling, frescoes, leadlight door surrounds, woodgraining, marble fire surrounds, an early brass pendant light fitting in the hallway and a variety of decorative ceilings including coved, papier mâche and rattan ceilings.
Clowance has historical significance for its associations with Isaiah Pearce who played an important role in the mining industry in Ballarat. He was involved in a number of successful mining ventures, including the North Woah Hawp mine, one of the richest and longest surviving Ballarat mines. Pearce was a long standing member of the Ballarat East council and was mayor in the year Clowance was built. Clowance with its highly embellished interior demonstrates the status and lifestyle of a family whose wealth was generated by goldmining in Ballarat.
Clowance is a replica of an earlier house designed by Gribble for Isiah Pearce's older brother James Pearce. Cranborne is located at 312 Eyre St (Cnr Eyre and Raglan Sts). James Pearce later subdivided his land and built 2 terraces (also designed by Gribble) facing Raglan St, for 2 of his daughters. James Pearce was founder of the Canadian Crushing Co and Pearce Brothers Mining, (which Isiah managed) Canadian Crushing Co was famous for building and operating the worlds largest gold battery.