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"A Group on the North Shore of Port Jackson, New South Wales"

Artist: Watling, Thomas
Created: [between 1792 and 1797]
Dimensions: 30.2 x 44.8 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 26


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A monochrome view of a group of nine Aboriginal men, women and children, including a woman nursing a baby, gathered around a camp fire on the shore of a harbour inlet. The scene is painted in monochrome in black ink and grey watercolour wash. The figures are arranged in a pyramidal composition and enclosed by high wooded cliffs behind them. To the left the water stretches back to a wooded shore with hills behind. The background landscape has been excecuted in broad areas of grey wash overlaid with darker linear detail outlining a variety of trees and foliage, and is lighter in tone than the foreground which displays a greater range of tonal contrast and detail. To the right, a man crouches in left profile cooking fish on a fire, on the other side of which is a central group of five figures and a baby. They are linked by their glances and gestures into a semi-circle around the figure of a standing woman, who is depicted facing forwards and looking out towards the viewer. To the left of this group a boy, with one arm raised and the other extended, appears to be gesturing towards a younger child who sprawls on a rock in front of him. A shield and club are placed in front of the rock, and the prow of a canoe is visible to the right. The drawing is framed by a narrow double-banded border, the inner band of which has been coloured with black. The drawing has been signed and titled by Watling below the border, and further annotated in another hand in brown ink.


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