The Victorian-era mansion Madford in Wellington Street had several incarnations before it was finally demolished. While the precise details of its original construction have not been discovered, we know that it was originally named Elm Lodge, and that the property was offered for sale in 1863 by Thomas Mitchell, of the firm Mitchell & Bonneau, wholesale ironmongers and merchants. The house was sold in about 1873 to William Siddeley (1827-1905), who was described on the occasion of his death as ‘the father of Australian shipping’. The next owner was Arthur Septimus King (1827- 99), who renamed the house Madford after his purchase of the property in 1875. It was A.S. King for whom this artwork was completed. Following King’s death in 1899, portions of the property were sold, including to the Borough of Kew in 1905, to form the Alexandra Gardens. Then, in 1920, the house and its remaining lands were sold to the Catholic Church who opened St Anthony’s Home for Children on the site in 1922. That building was promptly demolished, and the site redeveloped circa 1976.
This fine perspective drawing of the architectural elements of Madford [formerly Elm Lodge, later St Anthony's Home for Babies] is contrasted with the freer addition in watercolour of the layout and plants of the garden facing Wellington Street. The view selected is the south-facing main facade and the west facing side. After A.S. King purchased the house in 1875, it was extended with new wings at the rear to accommodate his large family. There is no indication of these extensions in the painting so its creation must predate the renovations, and probably depicts the original building on the site.
Inscriptions & markings
"MADFORD / The Property of A. S. KING Esq"