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"A Native going to Fish with a Torch and flambeaux, while his Wife and children are broiling fish for their supper"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 26.7 x 42.4 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 43


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Harbour landscape, with an Aboriginal family preparing to catch and cook fish. On the left a woman and two children are depicted crouching beneath an overhanging rock which is topped with foliage and a tree. The woman and one child are tending a fire, while a second child gestures towards a man who is depicted in right profile walking towards the water's edge in the centre foreground. The man is equipped with a fishing spear and throwing stick in his right hand and a flaming torch in his left, and is approaching a canoe in the water to the right of the composition. The water is represented by a gradated wash of blue through yellow to pink, overlaid with short grey horizontal brush marks in the foreground. There is a headland to the right in the mid-distance and two islands on the horizon. The sky consists of blue wash around unpainted areas, with patches of pink, yellow and grey wash. The drawing is framed by a triple-banded ink border, with annotations in brown ink in the central band at bottom.


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  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "52", which refers to the pre-1984 numbering system for the Watling Collection.
  • The drawing is annotated in brown ink at bottom "A Native going to Fish with a Torch and flambeaux, while his Wife and children are broiling fish for their Supper".
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • 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 12043
  • 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 38, p. 48.)