Olveston

Enjoy stunning artwork and beautiful 20th-century design features at one of the Otago region’s finest manor houses.

Admire paintings by Charles Goldie and Frances Hodgkins, explore rooms decorated with statues and pretty motifs and stroll around the bright, fragrant gardens at the beautiful Olveston Manor. Designed by English architect Sir Ernest George, Olveston was built in 1906. It was home to the wealthy Theomin family for years before being opened to the public in 1967.

Enter this gravel-coated brick building to find a reception area and vestibule tiled with white marble. Mounted on the walls behind an imposing statue of a bear you will see an impressive collection of weapons. The Japanese swords here are the first hint that the occupants of the house had an interest in oriental culture and artwork.

Continue on to the main hall where period chairs and cupboards are spread over the dark oak floor. Admire the paintings by Frances Hodgkins, a local artist and friend of the Theomins. As well as these superb oil works, the collection includes several examples of Japanese art.

Wander to the drawing room. Its striking white ceiling features swirling motifs that complement the sparkling chandeliers. This room is unique in that it is the only one in the house with a decorated ceiling.

Make your way to the card room nearby to find a stark contrast to the traditional décor displayed throughout much of the house. The throws that cover the sofas have oriental patterning while the embroidery on the red drapes over the windows appears to depict Arabic temples.

Outside stroll through the attractive gardens. Sit on one of the benches and look out over colourful assortments of rhododendrons and roses.

Olveston is a 5-minute drive north of the centre of Dunedin. The house is open all week and has a small admission fee. Visits to Olveston are by guided tour only. Book a tour online or over the phone.


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