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  • Title
    A direct north general view of Sydney Cove ... 1794 ... / oil painting
  • Call number
    DG 60
    Status: On display – Paintings from the Collection, Room 1, West Wall, no. 29
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1794
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
  • Physical Description
    1 painting - oil on canvas, gilt framed, then reframed over original frame - 91 x 121 cm. inside original frame; 109 x 147 cm. framed (ie reframed)
  • Copying Conditions
    Out of copyright: Artist died before 1955
    Please acknowledge:: Dixson Galleries, State Library of New South Wales
  • General note

    The identity of the artist of this oil painting has long been the subject of conjecture. While the inscription on the reverse clearly links it to convict artist Thomas Watling, he is not known to have painted in oils. On professionally prepared canvas, and using commercial pigments unlikely to be available in the colony, it is possible that it was painted in England, and was based on a drawing made by Watling in Sydney.

    Notes on provenance and restoration work carried out on the painting held at Pxn 464

    For information on attribution and dating:
    Pxn 264
    First views of Australia 1788-1825: a history of early Sydney / Tim McCormick et al. Chippendale, NSW: Longueville Publications, 1987 (Plate 32 & p.274)
    "Was Watling the artist?" by Elizabeth Ellis in The Articulate Surface: dialogues on paintings between conservators, curators and art historians / ed. Sue-Anne Wallace with Jacqueline Macnaughtan & Jodi Parvey. Canberra : Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University and National Gallery of Australia, c. 1996, pp. 189-212
    "The oil painting 'Sydney in 1794'" by Bernard Smith in Australian Journal of Art, Vol. XIV, No. 1, 1998, pp. 52-59
    Published in: 1001 paintings you must see before you die / general editor Stephen Farthing. Sydney : ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2006.

    Jubilee exhibition of Australian Art, 1951
    Art Gallery of N.S.W., Oct 1963
    Banks exhibition 1979
    Dixson Gallery 1, 14/3/1990-8/8/1990
    August 1985-March 1986
    Mitchell Galleries, Dec. 1987-Nov. 1988
    Japan, Dec. 1988-July 1989
    Museum of Sydney, March 1995-Dec. 1996
    Digital order no:Album ID : 824175
  • Signatures / Inscriptions

    "A direct north general view of Sydney Cove, the chief British settlement in New South Wales as it appeared in 1794, being the 7th year from its establishment. Painted immediately from nature by T. Watling" -- inscription on reverse of original canvas, in brown paint
  • Conservation note

    Creased down centre, possibly from being folded
  • Subject
  • Topic
  • Place
  • Exhibited in

    People and Places - State Library of New South Wales (1 January - 31 December, 1979)
    A Rage for Curiosity - State Library of New South Wales (September 1997 - January 1998)
    Australian Colonial Art - State Library of New South Wales (July - November 2000)
    National treasures from Australia's great libraries - Council of Australian State Libraries (December 2005 - December 2006)
    Antipodean vision : Australian painting, colonial, impressionist, contemporary - Selected by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board for showing at the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery in Ottawa, with two pre-view showings in Australia (circa 1962)
    Paintings from the Collection - State Library of New South Wales (2018)

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