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View of Hunters River, near Newcastle, New South Wales, taken  from Prospect Hill / drawn by I.R. Browne, engraved by W. Preston
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View of Hunters River, near Newcastle, New South Wales, taken from Prospect Hill / drawn by I.R. Browne, engraved by W. Preston
1 engraving : hand coloured : plate-mark: 27.6 x 40.8 cm.
Titled below image: View of Hunters River, near Newcastle, New South Wales / taken from Prospect Hill. 'No. 5' at top left of image. Attribution immediately below image: Drawn by I.R. Brown [left]; Engraved by W. Presston [right] Dedication and publication statement at bottom of sheet: 'Dedicated to His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie Esq. Governor of New South Wales &c &c &c / Published Nov 30th 1812 by A. West, Sydney.
This engraving is a hand-coloured version of view no. 5 of a set of 12 'Views in New South Wales' published in Sydney in January 1813 by emancipated convict Absalom West. West placed a notice in the Sydney Gazette on 7 November 1812 announcing the forthcoming publication of 'a select collection of beautiful views of New South Wales drawn and engraved by artists of superior abilities resident in this colony'. The views were to be published on 30 November but publication was delayed "owing to the sudden indisposition of one of the persons employed in their completion" and they were not ready for delivery until 1 January 1813 (Sydney Gazette 5 Dec 1812; 2 Jan 1813] The 'artists of superior abilities resident in this colony' had all, like West, arrived in NSW as convicts. Richard Browne (1776–1824) was a Dublin-born artist who was transported to NSW in 1811 on the Providence and spent almost his entire seven-year sentence at the secondary penal settlement of Newcastle. Walter Preston, engraver, was 23 years old in February 1811 when he was found guilty at the Old Bailey, London, of highway robbery (assaulting an apprentice at night in Tottenham Court Road and stealing a watch chain and watch key). He was sentenced to death but his sentence was respited to transportation for life and he arrived in Sydney on the convict transport Guildford in January 1812. On arrival he seems to have been assigned to Absalom West who may expected that all 12 plates of his first set of 'Views in New South Wales' would be engraved by Preston. Instead Preston seems to have absconded from West's employ (the 'sudden indisposition') and is responsible for only 10 plates. He next appeared in colonial records in the first week of January 1814 when he was sent to the secondary penal settlement at Newcastle. [MM, March 2020]
Sotheby's Fine Australian Paintings, 19th April 1993 (Melbourne), lot 304; Caroline Simpson Collection, Clydebank (1993-2003).
Museum of Sydney ; MOS2007/29-4
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