Cinema posters of screen idols such as Errol Flynn and Rita Hayworth, films by Hitchcock and Fellini adorn the cafe walls at the entrance of the Victory Theatre Antique Centre and pay homage to the grand old building’s former incarnation. Today, more than 50 ‘seasoned’ dealers make up the shops and cabinets in the centre, some having been there since its inception, a mere 22 years ago. This accounts for the breadth of such an impressive selection of special collectables.
Most large furniture items can be found on the ground floor, ranging from Australian and European 19thC manorial-sized sitting room pieces to impressive table sets, armchairs, hallstands and dressers in woods such as oak, cedar, mahogany, maple, black wood and pine. Hundreds of furniture pieces see a steady turnover and the hard-working dealers’ waste no time in replenishing their stock.
Fireplace surrounds, hearth fenders, fire ‘dogs’, billows, tools and timber boxes are popular items, as are the ever sought-after antlered deer & boar heads, which now adorn the walls of what was the former picture theatre’s ‘elevated dress circle’.
The old projection room, above the cafe, today contains ‘eclectic’ items brought out from England, such as architectural church fittings and furniture and early 20thC stained glass windows. Impressive Australian and international militaria, nautical and motor car memorabilia cabinets are nearby, along with a robust collection of industrial-sized iron hooks and fittings, restored wooden-handled carpentry tools and early Australian glass and ceramic bottles. Recently, a colonial convict ‘stocks’ was sold.
Two staircases lead upstairs, one at each end of the building. Towards the back, Art Deco lounge suites, cupboards and furniture items, light fittings & ephemera have recreated a stylish two-roomed shop, evocative of that ‘modernist’ 1920s/30s era.
By contrast, an adjacent area displays English cottage furniture and sideboards with a large quality collection of Shelley fine bone china tableware. The retro theme for wall decoration is seen in contemporarily and locally-produced ‘giclee’ prints, providing clear definition and vivid colour-rendering of old Deco 1950s and international travel posters.
The aforementioned cinema posters expand in selection, hung overhead in a small book shop - all now rare images emanating from a London collection begun in the 1960s.
Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Edwardian lampshades and fittings, many fully restored, bedeck the ceilings of many shops. More streamlined 20th C versions of Deco through to 50s & 60s shades are interspersed throughout the centre.
The Victory Theatre has one the finest collections of early 20thC Australiana flora & fauna ceramic sculptures, vases (and bookends) by artists such as Grace Seccombe, the Boyd family and the Remued and Mashman companies. Additionally, decorative arts items from world-renowned establishments such as Moorcroft, Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Kralik, Loetz, Daum, Lalique and Japanese Satsuma Ware, make up sumptuous cabinet displays.
Period European kitchenalia cabinets display colour themes of greens and blues, showcasing some rare and charming items. Nineteenth and 20thC jewellery cabinets display hand-crafted creations from Australian jewellers such as Rhoda Wager and European greats like Georg Jensen.
Even ‘period’ clothing styles are available from an outstanding retro clothing shop for men & women. The Victory is often frequented by individuals and couples stunningly dressed – perhaps for the annual Prohibition Ball, the Roaring Twenties Festival or the 1950’s Miss Lady Luck Swing Dance.
Return to any or all of these eras and more, in the pursuit of your restoration ideas, furniture and decorative arts items. Spring and Autumn offer a visual feast of blossoms and ever-changing tree colours in the upper Blue Mountains and there is an abundance of fine and family-friendly dining and accommodation.
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