Soup tureen

Doulton soup tureenThis a Doulton china soup tureen, 1860-70,  and was gifted to Riccarton House by Phil and Josie Deans.

It is Doulton which later became Royal Doulton.

The cupboard under the tureen was used to hold the port and glasses for the gentlemen to pass around the dining table after dinner when the ladies would retire to the drawing room.

Dining room

Riccarton house dining room

Riccarton House formal dining room

The dining room was added in 1874 by Jane Deans to celebrate her son John Deans 21st and his inheritance of the Deans properties.  Celebrated in true Scottish style, Jane held three banquets over three days using this formal dining room and marquee outside. The first day was celebrated with 200 friends and family, the second day was with 60 past and present employees and their families and the third was with local Maori who worked with and were associated with the family.  The family and friends had a very grand menu which you can see today.

Later, with an expanding family the dining room table stretched the full length of the room and Catherine would sit at the head of the table with the females while the men sat together at the other end, children in the middle.  The men would be laughing at some joke and Catherine would ask what they were laughing at.  The joke would then be sanitised as it passed up the table!

Sale of land

Sale of landThe first sale of land at Riccarton was 30 acres between the new railway line and Hagley Park with frontage on to the Avon River.  It was advertised as “the most important sale of suburb land ever held in Canterbury”.  Some sections sold for the huge price of £900 an acre.  Unfortunately there had been an overseas crash in November 1878 and the bonanza was over.  Some land fell back to John and later sold for £40 a quarter acre section.

Other sales took place in 1883-1899.

This poster is the last sale of land in 1909.

Jane’s desk

Jane Dean's deskShe would have kept meticulous records of all farm events sitting at this desk.  Some of the receipts of purchases made in Scotland and London on their honeymoon have been kept all these years.  They include Jane’s clothes, John’s shooting jackets, expensive china and silver, a waterwheel and Jane’s bible and books.  They bought everything you can think of for the home except kitchen utensils.

Painting of shorthorn bull

Painting of a shorthorn bullPainting of shorthorn bull ‘Duke of Gunterstone”.  He was a stud bull for the Deans.  John’s shorthorn herd was dearest to his heart and he spared no expense procuring the best possible sires.

Special trees of Riccarton Bush

Indian Bean tree on the grounds of Riccarton House and BushIf you’re interested in the details of trees within Riccarton House and Bush from a botanical perspective then some of them are listed in great detail on the following website.

This is thanks to the huge amount of work done by Dr Brian Molloy.

The following link provides a little information about each link prior to clicking so that you can find a specific tree a little more easily.


Wapiti Head

Wapiti Head

Wapiti Head

St Patricks day Wapiti Head, 1924

This Wapiti was shot in the Henry Saddle area of the Wapiti river in Fiordland on St Patricks day 1924, by John Deans.

This was the very first trophy head taken on the Eastern side of the main divide under license


John Deans (b. 1880 – 1974) was well known as an outdoorsman hunter and fisherman. The Wapiti river is at the head of the North West Arm of Lake Te Anau. In 1924 it was accessible by boat and walking track.

Map of the location this trophy was shot

Link to map of the location in Fiordland where this trophy was shot.