Art Gallery of NSW Including Interiors (Many Parts) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Art Gallery of NSW Including Interiors (Many Parts)

Item details

Name of item: Art Gallery of NSW Including Interiors (Many Parts)
Other name/s: National Gallery
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Art Gallery/ Museum
Location: Lat: -33.8701823431342 Long: 151.216002188038
Primary address: 2B Art Gallery Road, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
2B Art Gallery RoadSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Art Gallery of New South Wales, located near the eastern boundary of the Domain, is significant as the first purpose built art gallery structure completed in New South Wales. It has social significance as the repository of the largest public art collection in the state and as the continuation of the earlier New South Wales Academy of Art which dated from 1871. The building is significant as a design of the Government Architect W. L. Vernon, and was constructed to complete the 1880's building begun by the prominent nineteenth century Sydney architect John Horbury Hunt. It has social and aesthetic significance as a grand civic monument in the Beaux-Arts tradition common to Sydney cultural institutions at the time, and for its association with many prominent nineteenth and twentieth century business men and politicians, as well as artists and art lovers. The building has asthetic significance as the finest, most intact, and indeed the only purpose built public art gallery building in the city. It has significance for the strong contribution it makes to the character of the Domain. The building also has significance for the sequential development spanning some one hundred years with the latest extensions being the winner of the Sulman Award in 1989.
Date significance updated: 02 Dec 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: John Horbury Hunt / Walter Liberty Vernon (Gov Archt) / E. H. Farmer (Gov Archt), M.Lewis, J. Barnet
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1885-1989
Physical description: The Art Gallery of New South Wales, is located towards the north eastern extremity of the Domain, facing west towards the city. The sandstone façade features a large centrally placed classical portico with a pediment supported on six fluted columns with Ionic capitals. A semi-circular bay at each end of the front façade features Ionic columns. The walls are sandstone coursing with prominent horizontal jointing, and the roof is hidden behind a stone parapet featuring lightly carved stone motifs. The interior of the building contains an oval vestibule finished in stone with a series of marble columns with stone Ionic capitals. Archways open to the main hall. Original galleries open from the south decorated with classical motifs, and original timber flooring. An original marble staircase provides access to the basement library and archives.

The galleries to the north and east are modern additions (1989) with spaces of reinforced concrete frame and glass, with concrete coffered ceilings which connected the gallery to the landscaped gardens. The extension forms a unified complex within the existing building complimenting the existing materials and finishes.



Category: Individual building.
Style: Federation Academic Classical.
Storeys:2 + basement.
Façade: Sandstone. Side/Rear Walls: Sandstone. Internal Walls: Plastered masonry.
Roof Cladding: Copper.
Internal Structure: Loadbearing walls & timber beams, reinf. Conc. Column & beam.
Floor: Timber joists & boards, reinf. Conc. Slab.
Roof: Timber framing (unseen), reinf. Conc. Slab.
Ceilings: Decorative plaster, exposed floor structure.
Stairs: Marble faced concrete staircase from basement to ground floor; reinforced concrete staircase to c1971 wing. Escalators to 1988 wing.
Fire Stairs: Unseen. Sprinkler System: Yes. Lifts: Lift in modern building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The gallery is in good condition throughout. There is some delamination of stonework on eastern side of Vernon building..
Date condition updated:28 Jul 06
Modifications and dates: 1885, 1895, 1906, 1971, 1988
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Art Gallery
Former use: Art Gallery

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

In 1871 the New South Wales Academy of Art was founded by Edward Reeve and E. L. Montefiore. The Academy held regular exhibitions and classes in painting and sculpture. In 1873 Eccleston DuFaur became Hon. Secretary and with Montefiore, became founders of the later Art Gallery. Trustees were elected in 1874 to administer a vote of 500 pounds from the New South Wales Government, and included with the earlier two were Sir Alfred Stephens, Edward Coombes, and James Reading Fairfax. The Academy was given a temporary building on Macquarie Street to house the collection, and in 1883 became known as the of Art Gallery of New South Wales. A new building was designed by John Horbury Hunt and constructed in 1885 as a face brick inner shell of a later structure. It comprised a central hall with three galleries off either side. In 1895, the Trustees dismissed Hunt and part of his building was demolished for construction of a new gallery designed by Vernon in 1895. The portico and grand oval lobby, considered to be Vernon's masterpiece, were completed in 1902. The south wing was completed in 1904, and a north gallery was added to complete the façade in 1909. Vernon's design included bronze reliefs set on the outer walls, of which only four were completed. The reliefs are arranged in chronological order of their civilisations, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Rome. Two large bronze equestrian statues by Gilbert Bayes were part of the same beautification programme and installed in 1926. In 1932 the Government Architect Evan Smith drew up plans for an extension at the rear of the Art Gallery. It was only built as a restoration studio and carpenters workshop and was demolished in 1971. In 1968, to improve the building for the Captain Cook bicentennial celebrations, the Hunt building was demolished to construct a new North Wing designed in the Government Architect's Office Andrew Anderson's. A new eastern wing was constructed in 1988 and was the winner of the Sulman Award in 1989.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The building has significance as the continuation of the earlier New South Wales Academy of Art which dated from 1871. The Art Gallery of New South Wales was the first purpose built art gallery structure in New South Wales, and is the repository of the largest public art collection in the state. It has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The building has a long association with the NSW Government Architect.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The original building was constructed to a design of the Government Architect W. L. Vernon, to complete the building begun by the prominent nineteenth century Sydney architect John Horbury Hunt. It is significant as a grand civic monument in the Beaux-Arts tradition common to Sydney cultural institutions. It has significance for the strong contribution it makes to the character of the Domain. The additions are contemporary but respect the scale form and materials of the original building.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is significant for its association with many prominent nineteenth and twentieth century businessmen and politicians, as well as artists and art lovers. Has social significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The building has little archaeological significance but has research potential for the sequential development of the Art Gallery buildings spanning some one hundred years.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The is Art Gallery is rare within the City of Sydney.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is representative of the cultural traditions of the state, and is an example of the style used in important cultural buildings of the time.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Generally: A conservation plan should be prepared to guide the future works, use and maintenance of the place. The form and scale of the building should be retained. Surfaces never intended for painting, such as stonework, and polished timber should not be painted, while materials originally painted such as render of metal, could continue to be repainted in appropriate colours. As the building has been continuously used as an Art Gallery, this use should be retained. Exterior: The front facade, including all stone walling, steps, sculpture, plaques, pediment, portico, columns, and bronze equestrian statues in front of the building, should be retained and conserved. The external form of the building should be retained and the skyline should not be broken by additions or alterations. Views and vistas from the building should be retained. Window and door openings should not be enlarged or filled in, and any necessary replacements should be similar to the original detail. Interior: The original materials and detailing of the entry, vestibule, and original galleries should be retained and conserved. Timber panelled ceilings in the entry, decorative plaster ceilings and rooflites, as well as archways and cornices in the galleries, should all be retained. Timber floors in the original galleries should be repaired and conserved.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I166514 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAndrew Metcalf1997Architecture in Transition - The Sulman Award 1932 - 1996
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenGil Docking1988The Art Gallery of New South Wales
WrittenGraham Jahn1997Sydney Architecture
WrittenHoward Tanner, Tanner & Associates2001Heritage Impact Assessment

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2423945


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