Julia deVille

Published: 09.05.2022


A sculpture created in 2014 is now uploaded to the profile: Galactagogue.
Julia deVille Julia deVille


I am an Australian citizen living in Melbourne, originally from New Zealand and known Nationally and Internationally for my contemporary art and craft practice. My work is highly profiled and recognisable for its distinctive combination of taxidermy and jewellery as well as its strong animal rights themes.


In the art of taxidermy gesture is paramount, hence for jeweller, taxidermist and vegan Julia deVille the most considered aspect of creation is composing her subjects to find a balance between pathos, humour and dignified realism.

Arriving in Australia from New Zealand on the cusp of adulthood, deVille trained as a jeweller and learned further crafting skills studying shoe design before her long hunt for a taxidermy mentorship was successful. Driven by a strong commitment to animal rights, deVille’s sculptural assemblages belie the heroic, trophy-hunting culture associated with mounting dead animals. In a form of gentle protest she combines precious gems and metals with antique ‘ready-mades’ to challenge our disregard for and consumption of both wild and domesticated fauna.

Drawing on Renaissance, Baroque and Victorian art and ideas, deVille creates contemporary ‘memento mori’ that raise our curiosity through the use of paradoxical processes and materials. While all deVille’s creatures have died a natural death, they live on as beautiful and compelling allegories, begging a reflection on our symbiotic but decidedly unequal relationship with the animal world and our cavalier disregard for mortality in general.

Commissioned by Hobart’s MONA to create a permanent installation in 2011, deVille also won the City of Hobart Art Prize in 2012 and the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize in 2014. In 2006 her work was included in the MCA’s important Primavera survey exhibition. DeVille’s work was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in 2012. In 2013 she was featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s ‘Melbourne Now’ and in 2014, The Adelaide Biennial at the Art Gallery of South Australia - which resulted in the acquisition of deVille’s ‘Victorian Cat Mummy’. In 2016 she won the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. She exhibits regularly in Australia and overseas.

In a then New Land nearly as south as one can go before starting to go north again and during a meteor shower, our prescient protagonist Julia deVille was born to a Nurse and a Wild Man.
Her tenacious eyes remained closed for twenty-seven days after her pudendal entry into this tactile dimension. The Nurse informed us that there was nothing worthy of first glance until this auspicious day. For at this most malleable and
life changing moment, the chimerical JdV could sense with her tiny eyelashes, the very gleaming thing that was to be her purpose in this lifetime… The Wild Man had returned home from a subaqueous marauding expedition. Still half dressed in diving suit, helmet under arm and steeped in brine, he presented to the Nurse the most precious and inestimable jewel that any of them had ever laid sight upon. Especially our newly voyant JdV!
From this moment on our heroine, dotingly named Jules, after her novel affection for all things aureate, directed her germination toward alchemical preoccupations. And her environment was equally encouraging of such
The Wild Man wore a gentleman’s
moustache on his top lip and taught his cherished protégé the value of being uncommon.
He introduced her to the deceased when she was but a pup. When she shook an elderly lady’s limp left hand, asking, “how do you do?” our juvenile JdV concluded that the human form is merely a repository… a vessel containing something far more transmundane. This insight allowed her to flourish, free from fear of expiration, for one cannot undergo the psycho-spiritual transmutation necessary to become
alchemist, when inhibited by morbid trepidation.
The Nurse was like the folds of the universe, which JdV lay within and all became still. Both Matriarch and Creator, the Nurse taught her Delphian progeny the art of silence and flawless unconditional love; obligatory apparatus for even the most basic of alchemical incantations.
As centuries rolled by, JdV refined her talismanic skills in clandestine, apprenticing under of the greatest and most formidable masters ever known (and often unknown).
In the mid 19th Century, deVille quietly emerged from her draconian education as
master alchemist, with soul almost all in tact. Queen Victoria soon thereafter enlisted our new métier alchimisté as her principal goldsmith. With Queen V’s patronage and friendship, JdV was able to create the most exceptional and heartbreaking regalia. Together they made mourning a fashionable devotional trend. All jewels were ebon to couple the Monarch’s grief from her recent bereavement; jet (both true and French), obsidian and prized black diamonds took spotlight.
One winter at the cusp of the 20th Century, Victoria became increasingly absent, spending her time in solitude at the royal residence on the Isle of Wight, and in 1901 she passed. God rest our blessed Queens's soul! JdV mourned her Majesty and then moved on, burgeoning her palette beyond raven’s pitch. She discovered a luminous universe brilliant with shimmering gems of all
colours and diversitiés. Out of death, our fabled sorceress fashioned gorgeous new life!
Throughout the years deVille cultivated her skills and unceasingly reinvented her approach. The collections you behold in this little web suspended non-physical
shoppe, are the culmination of centuries of autodidactic and apprenticed lessons. Every jewel has a story to tell and each story is pavé set into our beloved JdV's heart. The most ostensible instruction our benevolent founder acquired from this epoch of both personal and professional transubstantiation, is one of love - she was conceived of it and must exit congruously. So our little factory, simply, is devoted to that most fundamental heart shaped emoticon. Here we craft seeds of devotion and love relics just for you. And might I add, not just in matrimony do we intend the use of these precious jewels. Love is also for child and for consciousness. Devotion, unto oneself and one's Creator. We specialise in every amorous application!
It is the destiny of Julia deVille and all of us here under her ordinance, to facilitate and proliferate your personal love story into amuletic palpability.
Yours in sincerity and of course, in love,

Scout Jean-Baptisté, Familiar, council
and biographer to Julia deVille.

Julia deVille’s new showroom.

Location: East Melbourne, Australia.
By appointment only:
On the eve of the sixth new moon of MMXVI, down below our little alchemical laboratory in Melbourne’s Colling-Woods, we proudly opened the doors to our nouveau subaqueous locutorium. A moist place governed by an octopus and devoted to the facilitation of personalised jewels for devout patrons, such as yourself!
Due to our often-nocturnal schedule, we are receiving visitors to our locutorium via appointment only. You are welcome to contact us so that we may arrange a date and divulge directions to our clandestine subaqueous locale.
Fear not, my most apprehensive guest! Diving suit and breathing gas will of course be provided and our dear friends at Hendrick’s have bequeathed us as much gin & tonic as you may require to help ease any underwater aversion. And if all the breathing gas and gin cause you to feel lightheaded, we have saccharine nourishments to pique your sanguineous sucrose levels.
Everything (or should I say everyone) will be taken care of to make your experience as agreeable as possible. Some of us are quite shy here in our little factory but we will be appropriately tranquilised so as not to startle so easily upon eye contact or human touch. Others here (namely the ones involved in the production of our black diamonds) can be quite terrifying and ferocious. Alas, they will receive extra sedation to ensure your security and enjoyment.

CV      View / hide description

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Events      View / hide events

Exhibition  25 Aug 2018 - 04 Nov 2018  Wholeness and the Implicit Order by Julia deVille.
Exhibition  13 Dec 2017 - 01 Jul 2018  Theoria.
Exhibition  27 Nov 2017 - 27 Jan 2018  Regale - Crafting the Table.
Exhibition  14 Oct 2017 - 28 Jan 2018  Romancing the Skull.
Meeting  04 Aug 2017 - 11 Aug 2017  The Inaugural JdV Jewel Sale.
Exhibition  07 Jul 2015 - 01 Aug 2015  Lullaby by Julia deVille.
Exhibition  24 Jan 2015 - 10 May 2015  Beauty of the Beast: Jewellery and Taxidermy.
Exhibition  04 Nov 2013 - 15 Nov 2013  Pushing Boundaries & Chasing Challenges.
Exhibition  22 Oct 2013 - 09 Nov 2013  Julia deVille: Can The Voices Of The Living Be Heard By The Dead?.
Exhibition  22 Oct 2012 - 03 Nov 2012  Julia deVille: Bequeath.
Exhibition  24 Jul 2012 - 01 Sep 2012  Julia deVille: Sarcophagus.
Meeting  10 Feb 2012 - 13 Feb 2012  JEMposium.
Exhibition  28 Jul 2010 - 21 Aug 2010  Julia deVille: Night's Plutonian Shore.
Exhibition  30 Oct 2008 - 29 Nov 2008  Julia deVille: Ossuarium.

Publications      View / hide publications

Article:  Julia deVille on life after lockdown and her dreams for 2021. together. Journal:  2021
Book:  New Brooches: 400+ Contemporary Jewellery Designs. Estrada, NicolasPromopress:  Barcelona,  2018
Book:  New Necklaces: 400+ Contemporary Designs. Nicolas EstradaPromopress:  United Kingdom,  2016
Book:  New Earrings: 500+ designs from around the world. Estrada, NicolasThames & Hudson:  Untied Kingdom,  2013
Book:  Design Behind Desire. Faramehmedia:  2012
Book:  New Rings: 500+ Designs from Around the World by Nicolas Estrada. Estrada, NicolasThames & Hudson:  United Kingdom,  2011
Catalogue:  Wattle, Australian Contemporary Art. The Cat Street Gallery:  2011
Book:  Just Must. International Jewellery Art Exhibition. Kodres, Krista; Veenre, Tanel; et. al.Arnoldsche Art Publishers:  Stuttgart,  2008
Book:  Bijoux. Illustration et Design. Maomao Publications:  2008
Book:  New Directions In Jewellery 2. Black Dog Publishing:  London,  2006
Book:  Handmade in Melbourne. Geoff Slattery Publishing:  2006