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[Gentleman with a piano], Sydney, May 1853 / Thomas Wingate
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[Gentleman with a piano], Sydney, March 1853 / Thomas Wingate
1 watercolour on paper: col ; 41 x 34 cm.
Signed and dated within image: T. Wingate pinkt / Sydney March 1853.
This large watercolour sketch is a puzzle. It was painted in Sydney in March 1853 by an amateur artist named Thomas Wingate (1807-1869). It shows an elegantly dressed gentleman, elbow resting on an upright cottage piano, standing near the open door of an Italianate villa with a view across Sydney Harbour to North Head. The villa is possibly a fine house called Clarens at Potts Point, but the man's identity is not known, although we can be certain that it is not the artist himself. Wingate was a retired British army officer who had served in the 2nd or Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot in the East Indies. In his sketches of life in the army in India in the 1830s he depicts himself as a slightly scruffy, slightly portly man. [ref: Wingate sketches in Brown University Library Digital Repository] This debonair gent may be a musician, a rare pictorial reference to domestic music making in colonial NSW. [MM, June 2017]
Len Barton (Barton Antiques, Sydney), July 1983; 'Australian art, colonial to modern, 15 April-26 April 1985', Deutscher Fine Art (Gallery), Melbourne; Masterpiece Fine Art Gallery (Hobart); 198?; private collection; Trevor Kennedy collection (Sydney); Day Fine Art (Blackheath), May 2017.
Published in:
Eve Buscombe 'Artists in early Australia and their portraits', Sydney, 1979; Joan Kerr (ed) 'The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870', Sydney, 1984, p.870.
Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection ; CSL&RC PIC 2017/1
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