Six Walter Withers murals – with a 10-bedroom Victoria Western District homestead thrown in – listed for $6 million

Six Walter Withers murals – with a 10-bedroom Victoria Western District homestead thrown in – listed for $6 million
Six Walter Withers murals – with a 10-bedroom Victoria Western District homestead thrown in – listed for $6 million

Purrumbete, the 10-bedroom bluestone homestead in Victoria's Western District, has been relisted with a $6 million asking price.

Set on Lake Purrumbete, the house comes with a 1902 great hall lined with six Walter Withers murals telling how the Manifold family settled the area in the 1830s. The Manifolds replaced the original slab hut with a bluestone and weatherboard house in the 1840s, which was incorporated into a larger residence in the 1850s and then in 1901 the architect Guyon Purchas undertook extensions and renovations for it to become a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture.

It's been listed by B&B operators Max and Ann Magilton, who've occasionally quipped that they bought six paintings with a house and farm attached. They paid $2 million in 2000 to the Haldane family, the cheese making family who pioneered the importation of South American alpacas.

Earlier in Purrembete's ownership the late Sydney stockbroker Rene Rivkin, attracted by the Withers murals, bought the 170-hectare property for $1.5 million from David Marriner in 1987 and then followed it up with his purchase of the Walter Withers painting Allegory to Spring, which the Manifolds had commissioned to hang in the adjoining Purrembete room. Against a background of blossom-laden wattle and peach trees, it depicts a young girl clad in blue and white gossamer garments stirred by the winds of spring, who is moving with swift step past two shorn lambs to the destiny of love, which inevitably awaits her, according to Fanny Withers’ short biography of Walter. The painting cost $190,000 at a 1987 auction at Joel's.

The murals had gained public attention in the late 1980s and again in the early '90s when the two consecutive high-profile owners, David Marriner and Rene Rivkin, tried to strip them from the house.

With its Withers murals still intact, the bluestone homestead was resold by Rivkin in May 1991 for $950,000 and then later during the same recession Rivkin sold the painting at Sotheby's for $66,000. The property sale represented a 36% net loss; the painting, 60%.

The existing estate on 170 hectares, some 75 minutes from Geeling, is being marketed by Charles Stewart Geelong agent Andrew Wright. It initially hit the market in late 2010 with $5 million-plus hopes which seemingly meant $6 million.

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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