The Spencer Mansion

A House, a Home, and an Art Gallery

ISBN 9781927129272
Softcover | Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
216 Pages

About the Book

Built in 1889 and now home to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Spencer Mansion is a magnificent building with a rich and layered history. With detailed research, historian and author Robert Ratcliffe Taylor describes the original appearance of the house, designed by William Ridgway Wilson for Alexander Green and his family, as well as its inhabitants over the decades. Also known as Gyppeswyk, after the village in England where Green wed Theophila Rainer, the house is more commonly referred to as the Spencer Mansion, after later owners David and Emma Spencer. The book also chronicles the brief period when the residence served as BC’s Government House and concludes with the story of how the house came to function as an art gallery.

A unique book, The Spencer Mansion showcases a true gem of Victoria’s architecture and history.

About the Author(s)

Robert Ratcliffe Taylor is the author of popular histories of Victoria's heritage architecture as well as several books on German history. He has a PhD from Stanford University, where he holds a major in modern European history and minors in medieval and Russian history. Robert is now professor emeritus in the history department at Brock University. Since 2003, he has served as a docent with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and enjoys giving public tours of the exhibits as well as of the Spencer Mansion. Robert was born in Victoria, BC, where he still resides.


“Taylor covers the rich history of the building . . . A highly readable account of a real Victoria landmark.” —The Time Colonist