Image 19 of 84
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"A View of Governor Philips House Sydney Cove Port Jackson taken fron NNW"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1789 and 1792]
Dimensions: 22.2 x 30.8 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 19


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A view of Government House with outbuildings and gardens, depicted as if seen from an elevated position. The Government buildings and gardens are contained within pale wooden fences, in front of uncultivated land with trees painted in darker tones, with two smaller houses to the right. Government House itself is portrayed as a symmetrical building, two storeys high, with an arched door-frame, nine windows and a lightning conductor rising from the centre of the roof. It is constructed of pale buff-coloured stone, with a blue-grey roof. In front of it there is a walled courtyard patrolled by two soldiers carrying bayonets and protected by two cannons, with piles of cannon balls on either side of a gate. The gate leads to the surrounding pathways and lawns, which are represented by washes of grey-green and yellow-green overlaid with darker stippling. To the right of the main building there is a well and several outbuildings, including a gabled construction with blue panels which appears to be the pre-fabricated house which was brought from England to house Governor Phillip until an official residence could be built. The sky is composed of unpainted areas with washes of blue towards the top, yellow, and pink on the horizon. The drawing is framed by a triple-banded border, the central band coloured with a pink wash and the surrounding narrow bands with black. The title is inscribed in brown ink in a separate panel inside the frame at the bottom of the drawing.


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  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "28", 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 Governor Philips House Sydney Cove Port Jackson taken from NNW". The handwriting is similar to that on Watling Drawing number 21.
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated. William Dixson (1923) suggests the drawing must have been made before Governor Phillip's departure on December 10th, 1792.
  • 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 12019
  • James Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available.
  • Proudfoot, H. et. al. Australia's First Government House. Sydney, Allen & Unwin in conjunction wth the Department of Planning, 1991.
  • 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 118, p. 114.)
  • McCormick, Tim. First Views of Australia: A History of Early Sydney. David Ell Press in association with Longueville Publications, Chippendale, 1987. (Plate 18, p. 52.)
  • Dixson, W. 'Some Early Picture of Sydney', The Royal Australian Historical Society Journal and Proceedings Vol. 19, 1923, pp. 198-204.