Photo Government House dining room P.27782.VH

[singlepic id=340 w=450 h=250 float=none]Government House dining room
The back wall of the dining room at Government House. The arrangement of weapons, bowls, pottery and spirit houses on a gatuvakaviti barkcloth, was overseen by Lady Gordon with assistance of Alfred Maudslay and Anatole von Hügel.
Nasova, Ovalau Island, Fiji. Collected by A. von Hügel, 1875-77. P.27782.VH

The dining-room is now beautifully decorated with trophies of spears and clubs, and great bowls, and native cloth. The house is all so thoroughly in keeping with the country; so infinitely preferable to any attempt at making a Europeanised “Government House,” and so much more suitable to Sir Arthur’s rôle of premier chief of Fiji. Constance Gordon Cumming’s letter to her sister, 28 March 1876.

To the first dinner we had the ex-King Thakombau [Cakobau]… a fine dignified old man, with a most commanding manner, and perfectly at his ease… Yesterday Maafu [Enele Ma’afuotu’itonga], the great Tongan Chief came; he is an extremely clever man, and the handsomest of them all. Lady Gordon’s letter to Lady Shaw-Lefevre, October 1875.

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