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'A country residence, New South Wales'  by Conrad Martens
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[A country residence, New South Wales] / Conrad Martens
1 painting : watercolour on paper ; 19 x 29 cm.
Signed "C. Martens" left of centre on lower edge. This painting was sold at Sotheby's Sydney in August 1999 under the title 'A country residence, New South Wales', and later titled while on display at Clyde Bank, The Rocks, 'Pemberton Grange, Parramatta River'.
Apart from the inclusion of this house as a detail in Martens' 'View of Parramatta', there are few documentary sources that might be used to confirm the identification, nor have any preliminary drawings by Martens been located.
In 1837 Pemberton Grange was owned by George Thomas Palmer, eldest son of John Palmer, first fleeter and former Commissary of New South Wales. Like Hannibal Macarthur, Palmer bought his land at Parramatta in 1813. He built a ten-roomed cottage on the property, fronting the river, and called it Pemberton Grange after his wife, Catherine Irena Pemberton. Palmer had extensive land holdings in various parts of New South Wales and was notably active in colonial public life but his name does not appear in Conrad Martens' account books. He returned to England around 1840 and Pemberton Grange was let.
From the early 1840s until late 1853 the tenant was a wealthy widow named Elizabeth Margaret Gore with an entourage of sons, daughters and a daughter-in-law. They had come to Sydney in late 1841, following two other sons who had arrived in the colony early in 1840 and gone squatting on the Darling Downs where they were neighbours of the Leslies. The Gores immediately became part of the social circle of the Macarthurs at Vineyard. Emmeline Macarthur remembered them as "all musical" and recalled that "it was delightful to hear their part-singing as they rowed up the river after spending the evening at Vineyard".
Deutscher Fine Art 'Australian art: Colonial to modern' August-September 1986 (Perth & Sydney) no. 20; Masterpiece Fine Art Gallery and Antiques (Hobart) 'Australian paintings: Colonial to contemporary' September 1988, no.23; Sotheby's (Melbourne), 16 August 1999, lot 69; Caroline Simpson Collection, Clyde Bank, The Rocks, Sydney, 1999-2004.
Exhibited in:
Deutscher Fine Art Australian art: Colonial to modern August-September 1986 (Perth & Sydney), no.20
Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection ; Caroline Simpson Collection: L2005/26
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