Villa Alba was built between 1882 and 1884 for banker William Greenlaw and with interior decoration by the Paterson Brothers, and is notable for its painted decorations. The grand house has survived multiple uses including a nurses hostel where they thought all the period decoration was dark and gloomy so they painted it over it to’brighten it up’, gasp.
It is being restored as a museum and educational facility for the collection, study and display of interior decorations and decorative finishes.
There’s a wonderful trompe l’oeil walled gallery space in the middle of the ground floor with murals painted by a Melbourne artist. There are views of Sydney Harbour on one wall and of Scotland on the other. The original owner was a Scot and the murals must have included the things he felt nostalgic about, and those which represented his new country, like magpies.
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