This sketch appears to be the preliminary drawing for a large oil 'View of Arthursleigh', dated 1839, in the collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales [ML 105], the sale of which was recorded in Martens' "Account of pictures painted at Sydney, N.S. Wales" on 16 August 1839 to Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur, for 12 guineas. [Mitchell Library ZDL MS142]
Arthursleigh, on the Wollondilly River near Marulan, is a 7900 hectare property owned by the University of Sydney. It was bequeathed to the University in July 1979 from the estate of the late Eric Thomas William Holt and is operated as a commercial farm, as well as being used for teaching and research in pasture agronomy and animal science.
The original Arthursleigh was a 1000 acre grant made in 1819 to Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur (1788-1861), nephew of John Macarthur of Elizabeth Farm and Camden Park. By the time that Macarthur bought his painting of Arthursleigh the estate had grown to 19,780 acres.
Conrad Martens travelled to the southern highlands of New South Wales in July and August 1836, in search of picturesque subjects and painting commissions from landowners, visiting Bungonia, Arthursleigh, the Wollondilly and Cookbundoon Rivers, Fitzroy (Quarrooilli) Falls and Throsby Park, Moss Vale. Martens' "Account of pictures painted at Sydney, N.S. Wales" records several sales to Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur arising out of sketches made on this trip, including a large picture of 'Cookbundoon River' in September 1837, a 'View on the Wollondilly' in February 1838, 'Ford of the Wollondilly' in June 1839, 'Gibraltar Rocks' in July 1839 and 'View of Arthursleigh' in August 1839.
When bankruptcy forced Hannibal Macarthur to sell the estate in 1848, the property passed to the Australian Trust Company as mortgagees. It was subsequently purchased by Thomas Holt (1811-1888). [ref: Chrissy Fletcher Arthursleigh: a history of the property 1819 to 1979
University of Sydney, 2002] (MM June 2006)