Statement of Significance
The Waller House and Collection including all the buildings (interiors and exteriors), fixed and movable objects and the garden. The buildings include the main house with semi-detached sunroom and laundry/bathroom, a separate garage and a separate Art Studio. The garden near the house includes plantings, terraces and garden rooms with brick and stone edged gravel paths, brick or stone walls and concrete paths. A less formal bush garden is located further away from the house. The Collection includes artworks by Napier Waller; Napier and Christian Waller's full-size cartoons for stained-glass windows, library, art materials, tools and equipment as well as items associated with the Wallers including a collection of Melbourne Art Pottery, rugs and household items. Most of these objects are still in the house.HOW IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Waller House and Collection is of architectural, historical and social significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history.
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.
Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria's history.WHY IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Waller House and Collection is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Waller House and Collection is historically significant as the residence and workplace of renowned artists Napier and Christian Waller where, with assistance from Lorna Waller and others, many artworks of State and national significance were designed and fully or partially executed. These include mosaics, stained-glass windows, painted murals, ceramics, prints and books. Evidence of these creative practices still exists at the place. [Criterion A]
The Waller House is architecturally significant as a notable example of an artists' residence and workplace, specifically designed and modified for the production of monumental artworks such as murals, mosaics and stained-glass windows, noting that smaller scale prints, paintings and drawings were also made at the house. A separate Glass Studio was attached to the Living Hall in 1931 and the original studio and light well were converted to a double height Living Hall and Minstrels Gallery respectively. Full-size cartoons of monumental artworks could be hung in the Living Hall and viewed from the Minstrels Gallery and Entrance Hall. A simple self-contained Art Studio was constructed on a lower terrace in 1937 for mosaic work and print making. Both studios have large south facing windows intended to provide good light to the artists. [Criterion D]
The Waller House and Collection is also architecturally significant for its architecture, interiors, furnishings and garden; all of which demonstrate the ideals of the English Arts and Crafts movement, especially the value of simplicity, utility and beauty; unified design schemes for buildings and their interiors and gardens, and collaborations between designers and crafts people. The house was designed by the Wallers in 1922 and has similarities to the work of the Wallers' friend architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear. Later alterations were designed by architect Percy Meldrum, in sympathy with the original design. The individually designed furniture resulting from collaborations with the Wallers, Percy Meldrum and furniture designer and manufacturer Harry Goldman, reflects the Wallers' creativity and is either Arts and Crafts or Moderne in style. The handcrafted interior finishes were also designed by the Wallers. The Australian Arts and Crafts style garden has more formal terraced garden rooms and hand-crafted features nearer the house, and an informal bush garden further away from the house. [Criterion D]
The Waller House and Collection is significant for its association with artists Napier and Christian Waller. Mervyn Napier Waller CMG OBE (19 June 1893 - 30 March 1972) was a noted Australian stained-glass artist, mosaicist, muralist, print maker and painter. Christian Marjory Waller (1894-1954) was a noted book designer, printmaker, stained-glass artist and painter. The Waller House and Collection provides a unique insight into the daily lives, work practices, friendships, range of interests and personal and professional associations of the Waller family and their circle of artist friends especially ceramicists Kylie Sclater/Pate and John Barnard Knight, architect Percy Meldrum, sculptor Ola Cohn and furniture designer and manufacturer Harry Goldman. Most of the Collection consists of artworks by Napier Waller; Napier and Christian Waller's full-size cartoons for stained-glass windows, their library, art materials, tools and equipment as well as items associated with the Wallers including a collection of Melbourne Art Pottery, rugs and household items. Most of these objects are still in the house, many in their original rooms. [Criterion H]
WALLER HOUSE AND COLLECTION - History
Mervyn Napier Waller (1893-1972) was a prolific artist and designer who worked in many media including small scale oil, watercolour and printmaking and monumental murals, mosaics and stained-glass windows. His murals include Peace After Victory (1929) in the State Library of Victoria, (VHR H1497); the Mural Hall murals (1935) in the Myer Emporium, (VHR H2100) and the Pioneer Mural (1962) in St Andrew's Church Brighton, (VHR H2100). His mosaic art includes The Five Lamps of Knowledge at the University of Western Australia (1931); I'll put a girdle round about the earth (VHR H0447) commissioned by Theodore Fink in 1933 for Newspaper House; Prometheus (1962) for the SEC at Monash House and the "Eight" Aboriginal Tribal Headmen (1963) for Temple Court. A few of his many stained-glass windows include those for St Peters Eastern Hill (1945), (VHR H0009); St Mark's, Camberwell (1952), (VHR H2158); St Paul's, Frankston (1960) and St Stephen's, Gardenvale (1970). Many preliminary drawings, sketches and full-size cartoons of these works remain in the Waller House Collection. Between 1955 and 1958 he designed and executed (with others) the mosaics and stained glass for the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, creating one of the largest single mosaics in the world.
Christian Waller (1894-1954) was a noted book designer, print maker, painter and stained-glass artist. In the 1930s she produced her finest prints, book designs and stained glass while residing at the house. Using an 1849 printing press still at the house, she designed, cut, and hand printed The Great Breath: A Book of Seven Designs (1932). A copy, purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria in the year it was published, was her first work to enter a public collection. Christian Waller created more than 65 stained-glass windows for a number of churches, especially for those designed by Louis Williams in Melbourne, Geelong, and rural centres in New South Wales. She also created The Robe of Glory mural in 1937 for the crematorium at Fawkner Memorial Park (VHR H2331) and the East of the Sun and West of the Moon stained glass window at Beleura (VHR H0319).
Napier and Christian Waller were married in 1915. Napier lost his right arm while serving on the Western Front in 1916. After he returned to Australia in 1917, Christian supported him briefly by working as a commercial artist. Napier Waller bought the land at 9 and 9A Crown Street in 1920. He discharged the mortgage to the War Services Homes Commissioner in 1922 and the house was constructed by builder Phillip Millsom in the same year.
The Wallers visited England, Venice and Ravenna in the late 1920s and became interested in murals and received training in mosaic and stained-glass techniques. The interwar period was a highly creative period for both Napier and Christian Waller when many of their major public commissions were created. Artistic collaboration by the Wallers on stained glass projects has been noted and both artists are recognized as among Australia's leading stained-glass artists of the twentieth century. Napier Waller is also recognised as Australia's leading mosaic artist. Napier Waller lived at the house continuously for fifty years, while Christian Waller lived there on and off for thirty years. The house tells the story of the artists' home and of their work spaces and is a memorial to them.
All images, objects and artworks created by or depicting Christian Waller were removed from the house following her death in 1954. Her niece Klytie Sclater/Pate was given many items, and others were sold. These works are now mainly held by the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, Beleura (VHR H0319) and in private collections.
Napier married his second wife Lorna Waller (nee Reyburn) (1912-1997) in 1958. She was Napier Waller's model and studio assistant in stained glass and mosaic although she also made prints. She did the lettering on his stained-glass windows and was the assistant to Waller for the work at the Hall of Memory in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Following Napier's death, she was forced to sell some of the Collection for financial reasons. Lorna Waller was responsible for the preservation of the Waller House. Her will specified that her trustees should:
.establish in the dwelling . a centre for the study of art and in particular of monumental art in Australia; not to sell or otherwise dispose of the art collection; to keep the art collection on display at the dwelling . and not to remove or cause to be removed the art collection nor any part thereof from the property other than for temporary purposes. the dwelling .not be subjected to external alterations; the exterior and interior decoration of the dwelling house to be maintained in the form in which it is at the time of my death .
While many artworks have been attributed to Napier Waller in the past, it is almost certain that Napier and Christian Waller collaborated on many stained-glass windows, mosaics and murals in the 1930s and 1940s as well as the decoration of the house. This is based on stylistic similarities; their shared artistic vision; known collaborative work practices including sharing the studios at the house; Napier's disability and Lorna's efforts to expunge Christian Waller from the house. Works dating from the early 1950s would have been designed by Napier Waller alone.
Harry Goldman (1872-1939) the co-designer and manufacturer of much of the varnished timber furniture in the house was a noted Melbourne cabinet maker and designer who worked exclusively in Australian timbers. His manufacturing company was known as H. Goldman Manufacturing Co. He also co-designed and constructed furniture for the Marion and Walter Burley Griffin's Cafe Australia in Melbourne. The painted built-in furniture in the house and Art Studio was designed by Christian Waller and architect Percy Meldrum (1887-1968) in a Moderne style and constructed by H. Goldman Manufacturing Co. Meldrum also designed Newspaper House where the Wallers' mosaic I'll put a girdle round about the earth (VHR H0447) was installed and the 1931, 1934 and 1937 alterations to the Wallers' house and studios.
Many of the ceramics at the house are made by noted ceramicists Klytie Sclater/Pate (1912-2010) and John Barnard Knight (1910-1993). Klytie Sclater was Christian Waller's niece and lived in the house from 1925 until 1937 when she married William Pate. Her artistic practice was very much influenced by Christian. She began her sculptural practice making drawings, prints and plaster models and learning sculptural techniques from Ola Cohn at the Waller House. Later she made ceramics at the Working Men's College. John Barnard Knight was a potter who studied and worked with Napier Waller in the 1930s. The house holds 17 vessels that he threw, and which Napier Waller decorated and others that he made and decorated alone.KEY REFERENCES USED TO PREPARE ASSESSMENT
Anon., H. Goldman, Design and Art Australia Online. https://www.daao.org.au/bio/h-goldman/
Anon., Mr H Goldman Dies, The Herald, Sat 25 Nov 1939, Page 12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243146232
Anya-Petrivna, Elizabeth, Exhibition Producer, National Trust Australia (Victoria), personal communication
Australian War Memorial, undated, Hall of Memory - The Artist. https://www.awm.gov.au/visit/visitor-information/features/hall-of-memory/artist
Blakeley-Carroll, Grace, Curator, National Library of Australia, personal communication
Busowsky Cox, E., 2018, Daughters of the Sun - Christian Waller and Klytie Pate, Bendigo Art Gallery
Busowsky Cox, Emma, Curator, Bendigo Art Gallery, personal communication
Draffin, N., 1990, Napier Waller, Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/waller-mervyn-napier-8963
Goad, P. and Willis, J., 2012, The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture, Cambridge University Press
James, Rodney, 2019, National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Napier Waller House Collection - Inventory, Insurance Valuation, Significance Assessment and Collection Management Plan
Lane, Terence, 1990, The Napier Waller House, Trust News, vol 18, No. 9, April 1990
Lane, Terence, 1999, The Napier Waller House, Fairy Hills, Heidelberg Historian, No. 192, June 1999
Register of the National Estate, Waller House, 9 Crown Rd, Ivanhoe, VIC, Australia, Place ID 15291 (archived record), Australian Heritage Database. http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;search=place_name%3Dwaller%3Bstate%3DVIC%3Blist_code%3DRNE%3Bkeyword_PD%3Don%3Bkeyword_SS%3Don%3Bkeyword_PH%3Don%3Blatitude_1dir%3DS%3Blongitude_1dir%3DE%3Blongitude_2dir%3DE%3Blatitude_2dir%3DS%3Bin_region%3Dpart;place_id=15291
Thomas, D, 2002, Christian Waller, Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/waller-christian-marjory-11944
WALLER HOUSE AND COLLECTION - Permit Exemptions
It should be noted that Permit Exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under s.49(3) of the Heritage Act). Permit Exemptions can also be applied for and granted after registration (under s.92 of the Heritage Act).
General Condition 1
All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
General Condition 2
Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible.
General Condition 3
All works should ideally be informed by Conservation Management Plans and Collection Management Plans prepared for the place. The Executive Director is not bound by any Conservation Management Plan or Collection Management Plan and permits still must be obtained for works suggested in any Conservation Management Plan.
General Condition 4
Nothing in this determination prevents the Heritage Council from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
General Condition 5
Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the relevant responsible authority, where applicable.
Specific Permit Exemptions
The following works do not require a permit provided that they are carried out in a manner which does not harm the cultural heritage significance of the place.
Maintenance and replacement of existing external electrical and fire services in the same location and of the same size.
Works or activities, including emergency stabilisation, necessary to secure safety in an emergency where a structure or part of a structure has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and poses a safety risk to its users or the public. Every attempt must be made to conserve and retain as much significant fabric as possible. The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, must be notified within seven days of the commencement of these works or activities.
The erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety.
The process of gardening, including mowing, hedge clipping, bedding displays, disease and weed control, maintenance of existing plants and replacement with similar species.
The removal or pruning of dead or dangerous trees to maintain safety.
Management and maintenance of trees including formative and remedial pruning, removal of deadwood, pest and disease control, cabling and similar supportive works.
Works associated with the management of possums and vermin.
Exterior of buildings
Repair to or removal of items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, antennae, aerials and making good.
Minor patching, repair and maintenance which replaces like with like without large-scale removal of or damage to the existing fabric or the large-scale introduction of new materials. Repairs must maximise protection and retention of fabric and include the conservation of existing details or elements. Any new materials used for repair must not exacerbate the decay of existing fabric due to chemical incompatibility, obscure existing fabric or limit access to existing fabric for future maintenance.??
Painting of previously plain painted external surfaces in the same colour, finish and type provided that preparation or painting does not remove all evidence of earlier paint finishes or other decorative schemes.
Movement of non-fixed objects within the place does not require a permit provided that the movement is to return objects to known pre-1986 positions within the house, or when the movement is temporary and is intended for the security or safekeeping of the objects or for interpretation of the place. Handling of objects is to be undertaken in accordance with the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) collection management policy once submitted to and accepted by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria.
WALLER HOUSE AND COLLECTION - Permit Exemption PolicyPreamble
The purpose of the Permit Policy is to assist when considering or making decisions regarding works to a registered place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to making a permit application. Discussing proposed works will assist in answering questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place.
The extent of registration of the Waller House and Collection in the Victorian Heritage Register affects the whole place shown on Diagram 617 including the land, all buildings (exteriors and interiors), roads, trees, landscape elements and other features. Under the Heritage Act 2017 a person must not remove or demolish, damage or despoil, develop or alter or excavate, relocate or disturb the position of any part of a registered place or object without approval. It is acknowledged, however, that alterations and other works may be required to keep places and objects in good repair and adapt them for use into the future.
If a person wishes to undertake works or activities in relation to a registered place or registered object, they must apply to the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria for a permit. The purpose of a permit is to enable appropriate change to a place and to effectively manage adverse impacts on the cultural heritage significance of a place as a consequence of change. If an owner is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that Heritage Victoria be contacted.
Permits are required for anything which alters the place or object, unless a permit exemption is granted. Permit exemptions usually cover routine maintenance and upkeep issues faced by owners as well as minor works or works to the elements of the place or object that are not significant. They may include appropriate works that are specified in a conservation management plan. Permit exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under s.38 of the Heritage Act) or after registration (under s.92 of the Heritage Act). It should be noted that the addition of new buildings to the registered place, as well as alterations to the interior and exterior of existing buildings requires a permit, unless a specific permit exemption is granted.
It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is developed to manage the place in a manner which respects its cultural heritage significance. It is recommended that a Collection Policy is developed to manage the Collection in a manner which preserves its cultural heritage significance.
Aboriginal cultural heritage
There are places in the Aboriginal Heritage Register within ten metres of the extent of registration. If works are proposed which have the potential to disturb or have an impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage it is necessary to contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain any requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. If any Aboriginal cultural heritage is discovered or exposed at any time it is necessary to immediately contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain requirements under the A boriginal Heritage Act 2006.
Please be aware that approval from other authorities (such as local government) may be required to undertake works.
Any works that may affect historical archaeological features, deposits or artefacts at the place is likely to require a permit, permit exemption or consent. Advice should be sought from the Archaeology Team at Heritage Victoria.
While it is likely that there are fragments of stained glass and mosaic tesserae in the garden these are not considered to be archaeological. These should be left in situ as evidence of the Wallers' working practices and managed as part of the garden, not as archaeological objects.
Additions and alterations to the Inventory held by the Executive Director
It is recognised that the catalogues of all cultural collections change over time due to a number of factors. These include cataloguing previously uncatalogued items, finding lost items, determining the correct location of objects and new research. These changes will necessitate amendment of the Extent of Registration on a regular basis. Therefore, every five years, the managers of the Waller House and Collection will be required to submit amendments/corrections to the Inventory which is held by the Executive Director. The Extent of Registration will need to be altered to remove the old version and include the new version of the Inventory.
Objects removed from the house in the 1950s
There are a number of movable objects relating to Christian Waller which were removed from the house following her death in 1954. These items were sold, and many are now held by the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia and in private collections. These objects included furniture she painted with scenes from Arthurian legends: six dining chairs (panels only removed); a hall stand and one of a pair of benches. Also removed was a large painting by Napier of Christian and her three Airedale dogs which had hung over the fireplace; as well as her paintings, prints, a sketch book and drawings. The dispersal of these items in the 1950s is currently considered to be part of the history of the place and not a loss. Therefore, while the locations of many items are known, these have not been included in the inventory held by the Executive Director and are not included in the Extent of Registration of the place.
Objects held at Heritage Victoria
Ca. 350 full size cartoons of stained-glass windows and other works on paper as well as a few objects are temporarily held in Heritage Victoria's Abbotsford facility as at 9 September 2019. These objects are included in the extent of registration of the place. Once pest, security and housing issues at the Waller House can be resolved, these objects should return to the Waller House.
An inventory of the library was prepared by Jane La Scala in 1995 and found a total of 787 books and pamphlets. The 2019 inventory project only counted the books without inventorying them and also found 787 books, although a check in 2009 found some books missing.
Requests may be made to permanently remove tesserae from the place for the repair of Napier Waller mosaics in Victoria or other parts of Australia. These tesserae are still being made in Venice and initially all repair projects should attempt to source replica tesserae from there. Where colours represented in the Collection are no longer being made, and a resin replica cannot be used for repair purposes, consideration may be given to allowing the removal of a small number of tesserae providing a good representative sample remains at the Waller House. Permits must be obtained.
The 2019 inventory project sought to locate all the objects listed in a 1998 artworks inventory prepared by Terence Lane - ca.38 objects could not be found. An earlier check had found that all but one of these objects were still in the house in 2009. The majority of these are artworks on paper by Napier Waller plus some ceramics by John Barnard Knight. Ca.18 other objects are known to have been in the house but were not included in the 1998 inventory. These include Napier Waller's 1953 OBE and 1959 CMG medals. All ca.56 of these missing objects have been included in the inventory held by the Executive Director as they may be found in the house or elsewhere in the future. These objects are included in the Extent of Registration of the place and are protected under the Heritage Act 2017.
Conservation, Movement or Relocation
. Preventive conservation cleaning of the historic fabric of the place according to the recommendations in the UK National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (2011) is recommended.
. Archival rehousing of paper or photographic objects in the Collection according to the recommendations in the National Archives of Australia Standard for the Storage of Nondigital Archival Records is recommended.
. Preventive conservation of the Collection according to National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries, Principle C2 is recommended.
Permits must be obtained if the objects must be moved from the place.
Security and disaster planning
Management of the place should ideally include security and fire detection and suppression systems suitable for museum use and be informed by a Disaster Plan prepared and implemented in accordance with Museums Australia's standards.Building works
Any works to the buildings where the Collection is held have the potential to damage the Collection. All objects must be removed from the area of the building impacted by these works before the works commence and not be returned until after the works have been completed. Permits must be obtained if the objects must be moved from the place.
Cultural heritage significance
Overview of significance
The cultural heritage significance of the Waller House and Collection lies in the intactness of the place and its high degree of artistic creativity and adherence to Arts and Crafts principals. The Wallers designed the interior finishes, and the varnished and painted timber furniture resulted from a collaboration between the Wallers, Percy Meldrum and Harry Goldman. The house contains artworks by Napier Waller, Klytie Sclater/Pate, John Barnard Knight, Ola Cohn, Lorna Waller and others; Napier and Christian Waller's library, art materials, tools and equipment as well as their rugs and household items. The garden includes plantings, terraces and garden rooms close to the house with brick and stone edged gravel paths, brick or stone walls and concrete paths. There is a bush garden further away from the house. The whole place including the buildings, gardens, interiors and Collection reflects the creativity of the artist occupants.
A permit is required for most works or alterations. See Permit Exemptions section for specific permit exempt activities.
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