Image 27 of 69
  previous page next page

"Cameragal the chief of the most powerful Tribe in New South Wales"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 29.5 x 18.7 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 53


hide detailed image description

Full-length portrait of an Aboriginal man named as Camaragal, standing in a landscape in front of a river or harbour inlet. The man is naked and his skin is very dark brown, overlaid with black concentric rings describing the contour of his body, particularly the belly and knees. His septum is pierced by a nose-bone, and there are several grey-white markings on his upper arms, chest and left thigh. He holds two fighting spears and a fishing spear in his right hand, and two throwing sticks in his left. He is depicted standing on the bank of a river or harbour inlet with a canoe in the water on the left, and a figure paddling a canoe in the mid-distance to the right, with a sparsely wooded far shore. The water is represented by a pale blue wash with grey lines, and the land by a pale yellow-green wash overlaid with brush marks of darker colours which describe the slope of the land. The sky is unpainted. The upper part of the drawing is framed by a pencil border.


hide notes

  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "62", which refers to the pre-1984 numbering system for the Watling Collection.
  • The drawing is annotated in brown ink at top left "o..".
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • A separate label of laid paper measuring 2.5 x 19.4 cm. is attached to the mount below the drawing. It is inscribed in brown ink "o.. This Mans name is Cameragal the chief of the most powerful Tribe that we at present know of in New south Wales. He holds two fighting spears and a fiz gig in one hand and two throwing stiks in the other." It is inscribed in pencil at lower right with the number "62", and on the reverse "F18 Bottom".
  • The style of painting and the use of colour resembles Watling Drawing number 51.
  • The author of this catalogue record is Suzanne Stenning.
  • By permission of the trustees of the Natural History Museum (London).
  • Two sets of transparencies held in the Natural History Museum (London) Zoology Library and Picture Library: Picture Library order number 12053
  • James Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available.
  • Wheeler, A. and Smith, B, (eds.) The Art of the First Fleet and other early Australian Drawings. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1988. (Plate 30, p. 42.)