Colonial cultural links with Asia explored in the next Port Arthur Talk

November 18, 2008

Colonial society – and more particularly Tasmanian society, in the nineteenth century was closer in its mores, memories and trade to India and China than nascent memories of England. These cultural links are the topic of the next Port Arthur Talk, entitled “Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Chinese Decorative Arts in Colonial Australia”, to be presented by Warwick Oakman

If one were part of Military society, the Colonial Civil Service, or on the make, one could just as easily find oneself in Jamaica, India, Sydney, Macao, Canton or a plethora of exotic destinations.

And how better to kit out the home? Rattling with the frisson of a Chinese orchestra, Colonial tents, huts and bungalows were all too often kitted out with fancy goods of the East. This talk will focus on issues of Colonial identity – what was actually washed up? Who was washed up? What did they bring? What couldn’t be brought? What survives? What is provenanced? What is mis-diagnosed? And what is yet to be found?

Warwick Oakman practices as an architectural historian and antique dealer in Battery Point, Hobart. He is a third generation antiques dealer and National President of the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association.

He advises the Port Arthur Historic Site, NSW National Trust and Historic Houses Trust of NSW on furnishing policy. He also advises the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on Colonial Furniture and Decorative Arts and has been involved in several exhibitions involving furnishings of the Colonial period.

The talk is on next Tuesday, 25 November, in the Junior Medical Officer’s Conference Room at the Port Arthur Historic Site 2008. It starts at 5.30pm sharp. Admission is free and all are welcome.