Latest talk

Design for frieze / by Ethel Atkinson

Creating Imagined Interiors

Join industry experts at the Caroline Simpson Library as they discuss different approaches to creating interiors for house museums and film and television productions

Watch our talks and webinars

Photo of children in dress up clothes

Unlocking Past Lives

Join Matthew Stephens, research librarian at the Caroline Simpson Library, as he uses the library’s specialist collection to explore the contexts of a selection of historic family photographs

Vivienne Chaffer : Colour [interior design student workbook]

Phyllis Shillito and her colour curriculum 1945–1979

This event focused on the colour curriculum of pioneering Sydney-based colour designer and educator Phyllis Shillito (1895–1980) of the 1940s to the 1970s

Watercolour of a group of people landing ashore

The Extraordinary Story of Rose de Freycinet

Hear the story of Rose de Freycinet, the first woman to write an account of a global circumnavigation, with Suzanne Falkiner

Vivienne Chaffer : Colour [interior design student workbook]

Experiencing a Technical Difficulty

Join Dr Catriona Quinn on a journey through Australia’s rich interior design heritage and a deep dive into the studios of design educators in Sydney in the 1940s, 50s and 60s

A colour chart of ready-mixed paints

Historic colour in the home

The many sources in the Caroline Simpson Library that can bring colour to the homes of past, with Matthew Stephens

Children's nursery

Animals in our Houses

A Parade of Animals in Nurseries, with Michael Lech

Books in Miss Macleay's room, Elizabeth Bay House

Reading the House Library

An exploration of MHNSW’s Rare Book Collections, with Dr Matthew Stephens

Burdekin House, etching, circa 1933

Burdekin House columns

Burdekin House was once described as one of the finest buildings in New South Wales and one of the sights to see when visiting Sydney

Jemma Thrussell from the Historical Performance Unit, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, playing cello in the library, Elizabeth Bay House

Music in our Houses

Join Dr Matthew Stephens as he discusses how we can convert musical museum objects into musical sound

[Collection of pencil and watercolour sketches, photographs and ephemera related to the Rouse family of Rouse Hill House] / Thomas Wingate [pictorial material]

House Music at Your House webinar

A new musical experiment aiming to bring the music of the 19th century into the 21st century

Leaf pattern samples from a sample book of wallpapers, Essex & Co., 1893

The cultural history of wallpaper

Wallpaper, once dismissed as old and fusty, is having something of a resurgence of late

Wallpaper, c1888

Dick Whittington and his cat

The tall tale of Dick Whittington and his adventurous cat reminded children that good deeds and generosity will ultimately lead to great fortune

[1] Rhodanthe anthemoides [2] Zerochrysum [3] Coronidium oxylepis [4] Chrysocephalum : watercolour by Gertrude Lovegrove, c1891

The artist and botanical collector

There are only a handful of known remaining copies of 'The Wild Flowers of New South Wales', a small booklet of watercolours and descriptions published in the late 19th century by Shoalhaven-based artist Gertrude Lovegrove and botanical collector William Bäuerlen

Caroline Simpson Library

Browse all
Woodgraining tools, rollers, stamps, combs

Caroline Simpson Collection

Home and garden design, history and life

Furnishing guide : 4th edition / B. Bebarfald &amp Co Ltd. [trade catalogue]

Collection strengths

The Caroline Simpson Library holds many collections relating to the history of houses, interiors and gardens. Explore a selection of some of our favourites

Design for ceiling decoration,  ca.1890

Notable collections

The Caroline Simpson Library holds many collections relating to the history of houses, interiors and gardens. Explore a selection of some of our favourites

A chair with curved timber arms that bend to become legs with a white abolstered seat.

An extraordinary collection

The Caroline Simpson Collection has become Australia’s leading source of information on the history of houses, interiors, furnishings, gardens and domestic life