The Quest for Manning’s Folly of Follies.

You might have noticed the intriguing new art work on top of the soon to open Quest Hotel on the corner of Short and Pakenham Streets

Interestingly this is the first artwork to be completed under the City of Fremantle’s for the Percent for Art Policy in which a developer contributes 1% of the development costs towards an artwork the public can appreciated.

In this case the artwork is titled Folly of Follies, by Lorenna Grant.

It is a celebration of the fascinating history of that site opposite Pioneer Park. Manning’s Hall – more often called ”Manning’s Folly” – was a very unique building erected in 1858 at great expense for  Charles Manning, a Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust (1859-1867).

A passionate astronomer, he lived there until he died in 1869. The building was demolished in 1928 to be replaced by the façade that is still there now.

According to the wonderful

“It received the name “Manning’s Folly” because of the peculiarities of its architecture and the immense amount of money expended upon its erection and exterior embellishments. Its flat roof and glass facades, later replaced by masonry, gave it the appearance of a huge hothouse.”

The artist’s statement includes the following

In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or merely appearing to be so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or the class of building to which it belongs.

The artwork has developed by creating a drawing of the original Manning’s Folly based on historic and archival images. The drawing uses the colours and hallmarks of early architectural ideas recorded as ‘blue prints’ and will be printed to 60 fixed glass panels.

The image is one that falls in and out of construction marking the coming and going of the previous dome on the site. The resulting image while couched in local history speaks of transmigration, ascending entities, the movement through the night sky of stars and sacred geometries and alignments that enthralled Manning. The image is intentionally unfixed as to create different experiences from varied focal points in and adjacent to the area.

As Manning’s Folly once was, I am sure this artwork will also be a landmark for the West End.

manninghall quest


About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to The Quest for Manning’s Folly of Follies.

  1. mmagus says:

    Many thanks. I had thought that the reference in the construction was to Manning’s observatory.

  2. And if you want to know more about Fremantle’s fascinating history come visit us at the City’s own Fremantle History Centre: for more wonderful stuff about Fremantle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: