Sunday of Gothic Luxury

Sometimes weekends are just splendid.

After yesterday’s productive writing session working on The Familiar (there’s plot to this novel after all! and twists! and characters I want to learn more about!) today I had the pleasure of joining company with a group of engaging, intelligent Ladies for a private viewing of the ‘Imagining Interiors’ exhibit, currently showing at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. ‘Imagining Interiors’ boasts works curated by Wendy Walker (who was kind enough to give us a tour of the show, explaining the concepts behind each piece and providing wonderful anecdotes along the way) all of which are inspired by and refer to works of contemporary and historical Gothic literature. I knew the exhibit would be a winner as soon as I saw the first (1764) edition of Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto sitting in a glass case next to a Regency edition of Ann Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho,  two palm-sized red leather volumes, which just happened to be bracketing a first edition of Lewis’s The Monk… The artworks ranged from paintings, to embroidery, to glass works, to soft sculpture, to gigantic Lovecraftian installations; they engaged with ideas of doubling, the Australian Gothic, the uncanny; and drew on Poe, Kubrick, Lovecraft, Jolley, Walpole — in fact, there were too many Gothic sources to mention!

Before our tour of the show, I snuck over to a smaller gallery adjoining the ‘Imagining Interiors’ space and am so glad that I did! Inside a white room no bigger than an average-sized shipping crate, was a collection of wonderfully Gothic ‘sculptures’ (you’ll understand why I’ve put inverted commas around sculptures in a moment…) by New Zealand born, Melbourne-based jeweller, Julia deVille. The ‘Nevermore’ pieces are tiny, Frankenstein’s monsters of taxidermy and precious metals, all of which, no doubt, will one day appear in my fiction. Diamonds, jet, silver and gold either adorned or served as skeletons to some deliciously creepy animal artworks — and the few pieces of straightforward jewellery shown (a diamond-encrusted raven’s skull, a silver bird-foot brooch, a twisted bird-foot ring) were gorgeous… and if I had a spare $9,000.00 I would’ve snapped up the bird’s skull pendant in a flash.

A few examples of deVille’s work can be found on the Jam Factory website, but I’ve selected some superb examples to share here:

Taxidermied cat wearing diamond-encrusted bridle, pulling a funeral carriage (by Julia deVille)
Taxidermied rabbit with solid silver ribcage (by Julia deVille)
Silver raven skeleton with ruby heart (by Julia deVille)

The sculptures all had names, but since I failed to write them down, you’ll have to imagine the Poe-esque titles that would have accompanied these pieces instead of the descriptive glosses I’ve included above.

Afterwards, we made our collective way to Grace, The Establishment for an afternoon High Tea fit for Alice and the Red Queen herself. We had China Jasmine, Fruit Medley, Earl Blue Flower teas — and this!

Photo by Sara King

Crab and cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and dill cream with crispy tapioca topping, mini toasties, mini fish tacos, mini croissants with Bechamel dipping-sauce; lemon tarts, ginger cheesecakes, pink macaroons, cupcakes and caramel-filled chocolate tubes of delight! Yum, yum, yum and YUM!

Today I feel properly spoiled. Thanks, Ladies!




  1. I’m not sure what I’m more tempted by – the mini croissants or the creepy cat in diamond encrusted bridle…

  2. I am so happy I have found your blog. You are interesting and informative and fun and live in Adelaide to boot! I don’t get to leave home often so your words and deeds are a breath of fresh air. I will be back – regularly.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: