Archbishop Goold’s legacy continues to grow

The St Thomas painting discovered at Villanova College Brisbane and Jaynie Anderson at the Goold Museum, Melbourne (Goold Museum and Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission/Fiona Basile)

The rich cultural and historical contribution of Melbourne’s first Catholic archbishop, James Goold, lives on as valuable artworks imported by the Augustinian missionary continue to be discovered across Australia. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

The latest is a painting housed in a Catholic secondary college in Brisbane that depicts St Thomas, which Archbishop Goold imported from Rome in the 1850s.

Jaynie Anderson is Professor Emeritus in Art History at the University of Melbourne and an internationally recognised art historian and curator. She has been investigating Archbishop Goold’s cultural contribution to colonial Melbourne since 2016, as part of an Australian Research Council grant with Fr Max Vodola, a lecturer in Australian Church history and chair of the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission, and Shane Carmody, who is known for his work in state libraries and public records.

To date, Professor Anderson has identified some 68 late baroque paintings that Archbishop Goold bought for the churches he was building in colonial Melbourne, including a significant painting by French artist Jacques Stella, Jesus in the Temple found by his parents, which hangs in the baptistery of St Patrick’s Cathedral. And though the official ARC funding and work has ended, Professor Anderson said the “project keeps snowballing”.

“We keep on finding these paintings everywhere, so the work continues to grow.”

Professor Anderson is hopeful that further funding will become available to continue studying and attributing, and ultimately conserving these treasures in Melbourne and beyond.

“There’s no doubt Goold was an ambitious man, and he considered it part of his missionary role to import large and impressive artwork to decorate the fantastic churches and cathedral to inspire the faithful.”


‘Sacred images’: Goold’s legacy of artistic treasures (By Fiona Basile, Melbourne Catholic

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