Visions of Colonial Grandeur

John Twycross at Melbourne’s International Exhibitions

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Cover of Visions of Colonial Grandeur
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
By Charlotte Smith and Benjamin Thomas
RRP $39.95
Published by Museum Victoria
172pp

Visions of Colonial Grandeur explores the history of Melbourne’s international exhibitions through the stunning art collection of 19th-century businessman John Twycross.

Known locally as Top Hat, John Twycross was a merchant and art collector who lived and worked in ‘Marvellous Melbourne’. In this boom period of the 1880s, the city hosted two international exhibitions and the best and latest in trade and culture was seen by millions in the newly-built (Royal) Exhibition Building. During his time Twycross purchased hundreds of exquisite fine art objects and paintings, building a collection that had been treasured by his family for four generations before being generously gifted to Museum Victoria.

Visions of Colonial Grandeur provides a fascinating insight into historical Melbourne and the thriving art trade of the nineteenth century, and features a variety of archival and colour photographs of the most beautiful and significant art works in the Twycross collection.