A truly grand mansion : Labassa, Caulfield, 1890

#Labassa, #Caulfield, what we see dates from 1890, designed by German born architect #JABKoch for #CobbandCo magnate Alexander Robertson in a full-on #HighVictorian, with lots of delicate, rich detailing on an otherwise fairly typical #VictorianMansion form, a couple of bay windows joined by a #returnverandah, which is arcaded on both floors- there is a tower but you can’t see it from here. The sources have been debated, including German #gründerzeit, but all the bits were around in Melbourne, it’s just nobody put them all together like Koch did ! The swags on the columns are pretty rare though.

#oneofmyfavouritethings; a pair of #caryatids frame the entry of #Labassa – imagine coming home to that each day ! #JABKoch, 1890. Hmm they’re sort of bracket/caryatids, not sure if there’s a name for that.

Discovery ! The pale pink #marble all over #Labassa was originally deep rich red; I wetted a bit that’s been revealed by this broken bit. #JABKoch 1890.

Fabulous #TessalatedTile floor of the #Labassa #verandah, and I noticed the rendered underside of the floor above, which must be solid, and tiled too, very unusual. Or maybe not, I just never noticed before.

The rest of from a visit in a May 2019:

Labassa has a very impressive (and gloomy) #stairhall, probably dating from the house’s second renovation from 8 rooms to 20 rooms in 1873, by #CrouchAndWilson, for barrister Richard Billing, when it was known as #Sylliott Hill. The window is by #FergusonAndUrie (of course) depicting the four seasons – the bottom one looks like winter. The bronze lady lamp in the corner was one of the objects returned to the house by a previous tenant. If you look up on the stairs at #Labassa, there’s a #trompeloeil view of a classical atrium. Apparently there was some kind of false ceiling under this which fell down, and #voila ! Why on earth someone would cover this up I don’t know, especially given everything else was carefully retained.

The National Trust’s #Labassa in Caulfield is full of very grand heavily decorated rooms, and then there’s these, the #unrestored rooms upstairs, with occasional bit of antique furniture. Barely touched since the last tenants moved out in the 70s. One of the partition walls that divided up all the grand rooms still there (note didn’t go to the ceiling). And the tearoom toilet.

Something for your bedroom ? Some random furniture at #Labassa, in an upstairs corridor. I don’t even know what it is, let alone how anyone got it up there. Neo Renaissance ? Neo Baroque ? A bit of each ? I assume 1890s.

Some of the extraordinary #wallpapers at #Labassa, in fact, most of them I think, mostly variations of a gold floral swirl on a pale background, and all except one heavily embossed (or actually made like #papiermache, with a slurry of sawdust and glue). I reckon then were all more brightly coloured originally, certainly the stairhall paper was bright gold foil on odd white, partly restored in the first pic. The second one is the boudoir paper, lots of colour, but faded now. Last one is the parlour ceiling, maybe partly in plaster.

My favourite room at #Labassa is the #drawingroom, done entirely in #rococo, which I suppose was meant to be light and feminine compared to the darker tones of the other rooms. It’s a double room, with two parts, carving everywhere, which I suppose was originally glittering in gold, and pastel tones in the ceiling. I have an idea that this room was actually decorated in 1904 when purchased by John Watson, rather than an 1890 interior, but of course I can’t find confirmation of this. You’d think there’s be lots on line, but no, not really.

The bathrooms at #Labassa, a combo of 1890 tiling, and 1950s/60s fittings. Restore or leave ? Can’t decide. I’m sure they’re not restored because A. $ and B. the trust can’t decide either.

This corner almost has enough furniture to give some idea of how it might have looked – the #diningroom at #Labassa, created in 1890. Great huge ornate #overmantle, elaborate panelled ceiling, and cream and gold wallpaper.

Fabulous #GothicRevival #grandfatherclock at #Labassa, no idea if original or not but could be. Great #squirrel detail !

#Labassa in #Caulfield is the result of a massive do-over of an already large house in 1890, designed by German born and trained architect #JABKoch, a typically #Italianate mansion form, projecting bats on two sides joined by a return verandah, but everything’s on steroids, extra decoration, red marble panels (faded), semi-circular bays with curved glass, sculpted figures on the parapet (and storks as well originally) and at the entrance, #castiron columns and arcades on two storeys, etc etc. and then there’s the interiors !

We’re lucky to have it, and it’s only because the owners in 1920 liked it enough to not destroy the interiors when they turned it into flats, and subsequent owners kept it that way (though they sold off many bits until there were flats in the front garden) and then the @nationaltrustvic bought it in 1980 (with the arty hippie crowd still in residence) and eventually demolished the front flats in 1988; but ever since it’s been a question of what to do with it and allow visitors, since the nearby residents are a bit antsy about too many people. Perhaps some pandemic finding to create a proper entrance on orrong road ?

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