The Johnston Collection launches new exhibition

The Johnston Collection launches new exhibition
Jack Hayes

East Melbourne’s own “hidden treasure” The Johnston Collection (TJC), has announced its new exhibition.

Fit for a King: Vincent Jenden Reimagines The Johnston Collection opens to the public on February 28.

Unlike many other house museums, TJC’s extensive collection of fine and decorative arts is regularly rearranged by guest designers, artists, and creatives. Each visit to Fairhall, the museum’s 1860s East Melbourne townhouse, offers something new.

Interior designer Vincent Jenden, guest curator for Fit for A King, is a familiar face around East Melbourne, where he works with a number of private clients.

As a self-proclaimed “maximalist,” Vincent has a passion for combining antiques with contemporary styling, and his 30-year career has taken him from New Zealand to London and then to Melbourne.

For his first exhibition at TJC, Vincent has been inspired by the anticipated Australian Royal Tour by King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Vincent’s starting point has been historic Fairhall in East Melbourne, as well as many of the grand country houses and estates in Great Britain and Europe that he has visited throughout his career.

“Having visited Fairhall on many occasions, I have gained a greater understanding of benefactor and collector William Johnston (1911 – 1986): his life, taste in antiques and the collection that was left to the people of Victoria. Wandering the corridors and pausing in different rooms has allowed me to think creatively about their possible function and use,” Mr Jenden said.

Vincent has envisioned a glamorous banquet set with a glittering array of silver and treasures of British and European fine and decorative arts to welcome royal visitors. The result is a theatrical reimagining of The Johnston Collection that pays homage to Fairhall's storied past and brings the grandeur of a bygone era into the present.

Fit for a King promises to be an opulent visual journey that celebrates the history and enduring allure of the treasures of The Johnston Collection.

“I consider it a special honour to be invited to walk in the footsteps of William Johnston himself, not to mention Australia's leading creative and design specialists, who have been invited to reinterpret the collection over past years. I am thrilled to be able to work with the vast collection at Fairhall and bring my vision to life,” Vincent said.

Fit for a King: Vincent Jenden Reimagines The Johnston Collection is open from February 28 until August 25, 2024. The Johnston Collection is open Wednesday to Sunday for pre-booked tours led by knowledgeable volunteer guides.


Image: Vincent Jenden with his 2023 installation at the Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association Antiques & Art Fair at Malvern Town Hall.

Like us on Facebook