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"A view of Government Farm at Rose Hill, New South Wales 1791"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [1791]
Dimensions: 20 x 30.8 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 18


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View across a river to a group of farm buildings and cultivated land. The river cuts across the composition from the bottom left corner to approximately a third of the way up the right-hand edge. In the foreground, partially hidden by the near-side river bank, there is a small white building with a yellow-ochre roof at right, and slightly left of centre a brick kiln with a plume of smoke rising from it, labelled in brown ink "I". A bridge crosses the river about half-way across the drawing, leading to a closed gate and a track which runs between cultivated fields towards a group of farm buildings. The figure of a man, apparently threshing wheat, can be seen in the open doorway of a barn to the right. The crops in the fields are represented by rows of dots and lines over pale washes of colour. The foliage of a row of trees along the far bank of the river is represented by washes of yellow-green overlaid with horizontal lines and stippled brush marks, and distant woods are similarly represented with grey-green washes and horizontal lines. The drawing is framed by a triple-banded border, the central band of which is coloured with blue wash, and it is annotated below the frame in brown ink.


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  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "272, which refers to the pre-1984 numbering system for the Watling Collection.
  • The drawing is inscribed in brown ink at bottom with the title "A view of Government farm at Rose Hill N. S wales 1791", followed in paler ink by "I Brick kiln", referring to a construction in the foreground of the drawing labelled "I". Rose Hill is the original name given to Parramatta.
  • The drawing is unsigned, but dated 1791.
  • 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 12018
  • 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 120, p. 116.)
  • McCormick, Tim. First Views of Australia: A History of Early Sydney. David Ell Press in association with Longueville Publications, Chippendale, 1987. (Plate 12, p. 46.)
  • Dixson, W. 'Some Early Picture of Sydney', The Royal Australian Historical Society Journal and Proceedings Vol. 19, 1923, pp. 198-204.