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  • Title
    Picnic at Mrs Macquarie's Chair, 1855? / oil painting by unknown artist
  • Call number
    DG 265
    Status: On display – Paintings from the Collection, Room 1, West Wall, no. 12
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
  • Physical Description
    1 painting - oil - 63.7 x 91.7 cm. inside frame; 87 x 114.9 cm. framed
  • Copying Conditions
    Out of copyright: Artist died before 1955
    Please acknowledge:: Dixson Galleries, State Library of New South Wales
  • General note

    Unsigned and undated.

    A lithograph by John Black Henderson based on this painting was produced ca.1870?. Henderson is one of several artists previously suggested as the painter of the oil (see PXn 48, Picnic at Mrs Macquarie's Chair - Notes on attempt to identify the artist of), but he lived and worked in Victoria after arriving in Australia in 1851 and is not known with certainty to have been at Sydney before 1877 (The Dictionary of Australian artists : painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870 / edited by Joan Kerr. Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1992). Also unclear is whether the depiction of Mrs Macquarie's Chair greatly out of scale with the figures is intentional, or the result of assumptions by an artist unfamiliar with the location.

    The basis for the date 1855 on the painting's original mount is not known. Costume features such as tiered skirts suggest a date ca.1855-1860. A reproduction, possibly from the lithograph of this scene, in the Anchor, October 5th, 1911 is captioned "Anniversary Regatta 1850 - View by Mrs. Macquarie's Chair (from an old Engraving)", based on an unknown source.

    "The inaugural Anniversary (or Foundation Day, as it was first known) Regatta on Sydney Harbour took place on 26 January 1837 to commemorate the landing of the First Fleet. The regatta continues to this day ... The artist of this colourful record of the 1850s is not known, although John Black Henderson, a Sydney artist and surveyor, produced a separately issued lithograph based on the painting about 1870 [V1/Par/Dom/5]. The painting [or an image based on the painting] was reproduced in the Sydney Mail of 30 January 1897 (when it was in the hands of John C. Lovell, 'furniture, warehousemen and fine art dealers' of George Street, Sydney) and in the Anchor, 5 October 1911" -- Australian Colonial Art in the Picture Gallery, guide, March 2001

    Dimensions converted to metric from ML Pictures card catalogue

    "Lent to Jubilee Exh. of Aust. Art, Aug. 1951, to Olympic Games 1956" -- from reverse side of former main entry card

    Notes on researching the unknown artist at Pxn 48
    Digital order no:Album ID : 825787
  • Date note

    Title and date on mount
  • Conservation note

    Preservation report filed in BM stack with brass title plaque
  • Subject
  • Topic
  • Place
  • Exhibited in

    Cuisine and country - Orange Regional Gallery
    Line of Sight: 19th century Australian landscape paintings - State Library of New South Wales (March, 1997 - April, 1997)
    Australian Colonial Art - State Library of New South Wales (July, 2000 - November, 2000)
    Painted panorama 1800-1870: paintings from the Mitchell and Dixson collections of the State Library of New South Wales - Blaxland Gallery (November, 1985 - November, 1985)
    Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens - State Library of New South Wales (September, 2016 - January, 2017)
    Paintings from the Collection - State Library of New South Wales (October, 2018 - )
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