The David Roche Foundation Museum

Adelaide, Australia

The David Roche Foundation Museum is a house museum set up by David Roche, he had been a collector of antiques and fine art. As he got older he researched house museums around the world and set up a foundation for the establishment of what is now the David Roche Foundation Museum. The Museum itself opened in 2016 (David Roche lived in the house until his death in 2013) and I recently went to have a look through it.

The house is an example of a Federation Villa (built between 1901 and 1910), David Roche bought it in 1954 and changed the outside slightly. He had the grecian style columns added to the verandah, next to the house he had kennels as he bred dogs. The kennels have been demolished and exhibition space and a carpark were built there for the museum. (The carpark is very important as it's on a main road with very limited parking!)

The exhibition space with the main entrance to the museum.

I had read about the museum when it first opened and was fascinated by the fact that there was a private collection of so much decorative art in Adelaide. The location of the house also intrigued me as it's on a main bus route in North Adelaide and I had spent much of my teenage years passing by on a bus going to the city centre with no idea of the amazing collection of art housed there! The house is behind a high brick wall so hidden from passerbys, a section now has been opened up so the exhibition hall and carpark at least can be seen.

David Roche had this room added to the back of the house and it's now used as the meeting place for the beginning of the tours. It's necessary to book onto a tour to visit the house, it's all done online and there are 3 tours a day.
David Roche Foundation Museum

 A really nice touch is that when you arrive tea and coffee, plus biscuits are offered to you as you wait for the tour to begin. The tour I was on we had Martyn Cook who is the Director of the foundation and had been a close friend of David Roche's give us the introductory talk about the museum.

This room is called The Russian Room and David Roche planned out this what the room would look like shortly before his death.

The hallway down the centre of the house with rooms either side.

David Roche's bedroom, my reaction when entering was "Wow there's a lot going on! So many patterns and so many objects!" Quite a few things have been moved to the exhibition hall, so there had been a lot more things in the room when he lived there! Apparently he liked animal prints and they can been seen throughout the house.

The Roman bathroom.

The French Room, this was my favourite room in the house. The colours and patterns on the curtains and rug seemed familiar, then the guide pointed out that David Roche had them made up as they were a copy of Marie Antoinette's soft furnishings at Versailles. "Ah that's why I thought I had seen them before!"

The living room (again with the animal prints!) David Roche had this set up with his television set, the paintings reflect his interests, dogs! He was a breeder as well as a judge and had judged at Cruffs the famous dog show in the U.K.

The second bedroom which was used by his mother when she visited, I loved the curtains, the tassels have beads inserted in them. The wallpaper is handpainted, he certainly had the money to buy beautiful things!

I walked into this room and thought, "The military room?" and that's what it was called! Originally had been the dining room but the large table was removed and a smaller table placed in the centre to make it easier for the tour groups to circulate in the room.

The second bathroom, called The Chinese bathroom.

The tour also goes into the kitchen, which originally made me smile because it's such a stereotypical 1970's kitchen with the cabinets and appliances! It did also have collectables to look at.

From the outside the house looks like a simple villa, it's the inside that takes one's breath away with all the various antique and objects d'art. There's so much to take in, with the first overall look of the rooms, to the close up detailed examination of the smaller objects, the paintings, the furnishings (I really liked the drapery!)

Having visited all the rooms we then went over to the exhibition hall where more items were on display. It's also where the special exhibitions are held.

I thought the David Roche Foundation Museum was wonderful, I'm planning on visiting again. I love visiting stately homes, in this case, it's not the actual house that's the attraction but rather what's inside. The guides were knowledgeable and happily answered all our questions. Considering the house isn't all that large, the tour itself took 2 hours, there was no rush, we could take pictures and it was such a lovely place to visit.