The Spencer Mansion: A House, a Home, and an Art Gallery

The Spencer Mansion: A House, a Home, and an Art Gallery

by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor

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Built in 1889 and now home to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Spencer Mansion is a magnificent building with a rich and layered history. With detailed research, historian and author Robert Ratcliffe Taylor describes the original appearance of the house, designed by William Ridgway Wilson for Alexander Green and his family, as well as its inhabitants over the decades. Also known as Gyppeswyk, after the village in England where Green wed Theophila Rainer, the house is more commonly referred to as the Spencer Mansion, after later owners David and Emma Spencer. The book also chronicles the brief period when the residence served as BC's Government House and concludes with the story of how the house came to function as an art gallery.

A unique book, The Spencer Mansion showcases a true gem of Victoria's architecture and history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781927129289
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 216
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Robert Ratcliffe Taylor is the author of popular histories of Victoria's heritage architecture as well as several books on German history. He has a PhD from Stanford University, where he holds a major in modern European history and minors in medieval and Russian history. Robert is now professor emeritus in the history department at Brock University. Since 2003, he has served as a docent with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and enjoys giving public tours of the exhibits as well as of the Spencer Mansion. Robert was born in Victoria, BC, where he still resides.

Table of Contents

Those who Made Gyppeswyk their Home viii

The Spencer Mansion as Gyppeswyk? ix

Foreword Jon Tupper xi

Introduction 1

The House the Greens Built 7

Another Rocky Oak Place 7

A Villa in the Countryside 15

The Architect William Ridgway Wilson 20

The Contractor George C. Mesher 24

Generous, Hospitable Space 27

The Founding Family 39

Gold Fever 39

Alexander Alfred Green: Respected Citizen 43

"A Meteoric Business Career" 49

Garesche Green & Co 55

Theophila Turner Rainer Green 60

The Green Children 62

Just Visiting 69

Frederick Harmmett Worlock 70

Green Worlock & Co. 71

Martha Rainer Worlock 74

The Worlock Children 75

The Lieutenant - Governors 77

A Gentleman of More than Ordinary Ability 77

A Ruritanian Comedy 83

The McInneses' Sons 85

A Gentleman of France 86

David Spencer and his Business 93

An Outpost of Empire 93

David Spencer: Esteemed and Valued 96

Instinctively Aggressive and Full of Enterprise 105

EMMA Spencer and her Children 111

"Strong Character and a Sweet Disposition" 111

"Capable and Energetic Boys" 117

The Spencer Daughters 122

A Showplace Mansion 129

"The Most Hopeless Place Artistically in the Dominion" 129

Sara's Gift 132

"A Long and Complicated Story" 134

A Natural Ease and Charm 138

Making an Art Gallery 143

Discreet Alterations 145

Construction of the Centennial Wing 153

The Past is Past 156

Unsung Heroes 158

Into the Twenty-First Century 163

Appendices 168

Appendix I The Guest List for the Banquet at Gyppeswyk in 1901 168

Appendix II Details of Gyppeswyk's Design and Decor 171

Appendix III Timeline 174

Endnotes 176

Bibliography 194

Index 199

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 204

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