This project began with the gift to Mary Ryllis Clark of a box of files of someone else’s writing. That person was her long time friend, Nina Stanton, one of the foremost director/curators in Australia, who died of throat cancer in 2009. Nina’s papers contain a raw depiction of a painful childhood, a troubled life and finally entry to a world in which she found her passion not only for beautiful objects but a capacity to educate others.
Inspired by the way Edmund de Waal uses the netsuke in the Hare with Amber Eyes as a vehicle to tell the history of a family, Mary uses the images of nearly 100 beautiful objects that include antique furniture, clocks, paintings, silverware, glass and porcelain, not only to make symbolic connections to Nina’s own exploration of her life, but also to introduce the reader to the historic, cultural and social context of the world of the fine and decorative arts in Australia.
All but one of the photographed objects are from the Johnston Collection, East Melbourne.