Colonial Oil Painting, Fort with Steamship, Early Victorian For Sale
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Colonial Oil Painting, Fort with Steamship, Early Victorian

About

This delightful colonial oil painting came from a Townsville (Queensland, Australia) estate and we can provide no provenance beyond this location. It is unsigned and untitled. We at first assumed the landmass in the background and the rocky hill in the middle plane depicted an idealised image of Magnetic Island and Castle Hill or Kissing Point Fort in Townsville. However, our restoration consultant noted that in her extensive experience the colonial buildings, which appear to be be whitewashed stone with green roofs, were more likely South African. We've tried to locate all historic sea forts in Australia and South Africa to explore and match their topography with the painting's but none that we could find appear to fit this image. Nevertheless, the true charm of this image is in the artist's eye for detail and his or her arrangement of an everyday nautical scene. The image appears to have been made from a live sketch, capturing the action with immediacy. Two sailors can be seen in the foreground caulking the boards of a small sailing vessel, one with his trouser legs rolled up. Further down the beach cattle are grazing and another small sailing vessel rests in the shallows in front of a colonial cottage, where the sail and wall are delicately reflected in the water. A larger ship is sailing into the bay as other ships come and go beyond. In the mid plane, at the centre of the image, a small steamer appears to be loading or unloading on a breakwater, a wisp of smoke blowing away from it's funnel. This steamer is the real subject of the image and we think the artist may have been purposely juxtaposing this new technology with the ship under sail nearby. You will see from images of the painting's back that it was done on a linen-and-gesso canvas, probably prepared by the artist. The oil painting has been fully restored and lacquered by our professional restorer. Her assessment of the work was that it was of excellent quality and real historical interest. It could be of much higher value if one could identify the location of the scene. Unfortunately we have done our utmost and been unable to find the location. We are happy to pass this task to a new owner who may be better resourced to carry out or commission further research. The painting is sold unframed.

Details

  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor structural damages.
  • Dimensions
    H 8.67 in. x W 15.16 in. x D 0.52 in.H 22 cm x W 38.5 cm x D 1.3 cm
  • Seller Location
    Melbourne, AU
  • Reference Number
    LU265638423673
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About the Seller

5 / 5
Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2017
Located in Melbourne, AU
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