Olveston benefits from Hudson generosity

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Historical connection . . . The beautiful drawing room at Olveston provides the backdrop as Auckland man John Hudson (left) hands over a painting by Sir Ernest George to Olveston manager Bronwyn Simes this week. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

A painting by the architect who designed Dunedin’s stately Olveston Historic Home has found a new home.

The early 20th-century painting, depicting architect and painter Sir Ernest George’s London offices, was donated to Olveston yesterday by Auckland man John Hudson.

Mr Hudson was visiting Dunedin with his wife, June, this week and called in at Olveston to hand the painting to Olveston manager Bronwyn Simes.

As the great-grandson of historical Dunedin figure Richard Hudson – founder of Hudson & Co (the precursor of Cadbury Schweppes Hudson) – Mr Hudson has strong family connections with Dunedin.

He inherited the painting in 1959 from the estate of his grandfather, Richard Hudson jun, whose art collection was divided among family and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

“When I realised who the artist was, I felt the painting would be properly placed here at Olveston,” Mr Hudson said.

Ms Simes was delighted to receive the painting, saying it would now be placed to “preside over the business of the house”.

Sir Ernest never visited New Zealand, but provided drawings for a Jacobean-style mansion to David and Marie Theomin when they visited London in 1903.

Olveston, built from 1904 to 1907 by Robert Miekle under the supervision of Mason and Wales, is the only house in the southern hemisphere known to be designed by Sir Ernest.