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Mauritius & South Africa 1825-8 | South America 1851/8 | New Zealand 1840

The Art of Captain Robert Marsh Westmacott

Section 1

Lithographs

During his lifetime, Robert Marsh Westmacott was involved in the production of two series of lithographs of New South Wales scenes (1838 and 1848); the publication with John Skinner Prout (March 1841) of a lithograph recording the fire at the Albion Mills, Sydney; and a view of Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, based on one of his drawings, was lithographed in 1851. These works are titled and described in the Catalogue as follows:

* Series of Views in Australia [1838]

* Destructive fire at the Albion Mill [1841]

* Sketches in Australia [1848]

* Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound , New Zealand [1851]

* Sketches in Australia [1852]

Detailed descriptions follow.


* Series of Views in Australia [1838]

Six lithographs of New South Wales scenery, inscribed as follows: [Image] / [Title] / From a Drawing by Captain Westmacott, 4th Reg (or Kings Own) / On Stone by W.Gauci / Printed by C. Hullmandel. Dimensions: Image 20 x 28.7cm (7 1/4" x 11"). Printed in England during 1837 by C. Hullmandel, perhaps the finest English lithographer of the time and a pioneer of the then relatively new method of printing. According to a notice in The Australian of 15 May 1838 , this series was then published by James Tegg, Bookseller and Printer, George Street , Sydney , under the title Series of Views in Australia , Part 1. It was also noted in the advertisement in The Australian of that day as "Sold only in Sydney ". A complete set in the Mitchell Library is bound in unmarked paper covers, supposedly as issued. Each lithograph was composed of the lithographic image, plus border with engraved title and associated details (name of artist, lithographer, and printer) below. Those sections of the inscription From a Drawing and On Stone by W.Gauci were stuck onto the lithograph after printing. Six different lithographs are known. This series proved to be Westmacott's finest set of lithographs, due both to the skill of C. Hullmandel the printer and W. Gauci the artist, in reproducing his often simple drawings via the lithographic process. The original drawings for four of the lithographs are unknown.

1 Road near Portland Head. New South Wales.

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View at Portland Head from the mountain road, looking down upon the Hawkesbury River , near Sackville Reach and Lower Portland. A shepherd is seen by the road in the left foreground.

2. Sydney Cove, Goat Island , Darling Harbour. New South Wales.

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View from the North Shore looking towards Sydney Cove, Goat Island and Darling Harbour. The lithographer has printed the image in reverse, with Sydney Cove to the right instead of the left.

3. River Nepean near Menangle Ford. New South Wales

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View of a sheer cliff section of the Nepean River , near the Menangle Ford, and important early crossing point. Horizontal view. Reproduced in W. Mitchell & G. Sherington, Growing Up in Illawarra ( Wollongong , 1987).

4. The Bourke Falls, Illawarra. New South Wales.

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View of a picturesque waterfall in the Illawarra district, with two Aboriginal natives carrying spears and shield, located in the foreground. The precise locality of this view is unknown - it could possibly be the Kings Falls , west of Stanwell Park , or another west of the Illawarra Escarpment at Wollongong. Vertical view. Reproduced in Mitchell & Sherington (1987, p.10). Exhibited, C France, The Illawarra & Environs: A Pictorial Survey ( Wollongong , 1988).

5. View from Bourke's Pass on the Maneroo Range. Mount Westmacott in the distance. New South Wales.

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View from the Maneroo Range , with a party of Europeans and Aborigines in the foreground. Precise locality unknown. The Maneroo Range is located west of Twofold Bay on the far south coast of New South Wales. No Mount Westmacott survives in the region today, however there is a modern day Mount Westmacott located west of Waterfall, on the road between Sydney and Illawarra. See DLPX53 f.10 for a draft sepia wash drawing of this view.

6. Illawarra Lake , New South Wales

Lithograph 20 x 28.7cm. View looking east from the Illawarra escarpment across Lake Illawarra towards the Pacific Ocean. Bass Point is the headland in the distance to the right. See DLPX53 f.17 for the original pencil sketch of this view. Illustrated W. Mitchell & G. Sherington, Growing Up In Illawarra (1984, p.9). Exhibited, C. France, The Illawarra & Environs: A Pictorial Survey (Wollongong City Gallery, 1988). Surviving examples from the above set of lithographs exist in a number of public and private collections, un-coloured as printed, or with contemporary hand-colouring (possibly by Westmacott or members of Hullmandel's establishment). A number of examples from the above series have been offered for sale trimmed and laid down on board. In trimming, the title, artist's and printer's name, and border is removed, leaving only the lithographic image. Some examples exhibit contemporary hand-colouring in the manner of a watercolour. It is possible they were coloured by Westmacott himself, and sold in this form.


* Destructive fire at the Albion Mill [1841]

From a Drawing by Captain Westmacott / Drawn on stone by Mr J.S.Prout

According to a notice in The Australian of 9 March 1841 , this lithograph was published during the week following (9th-13th) by artist J. Skinner Prout. The fire at the Albion Mill, Sydney, had taken place on 2 March, 1841 , with Westmacott obviously on hand to record its spectacular demise. Skinner Prout had arrived in Sydney late in 1839 with his own lithographic printing press, hoping to make a successful career as a professional artist in the Colony. This lithograph represents an early example of the illustration of a topical news item in an era when profusely illustrated newspapers were still some twenty years away. Unfortunately no surviving copy of this work is known to the author.


* Sketches in Australia [1848]

This series consisted of 18 tinted lithographs issued in three parts - each part comprising 6 lithographs, and enclosed in buff coloured covers. Unsold copies were reissued in book form in 1852. The lithographs and covers are described below.

Covers

There are two cover types (termed Type 1 and Type 2) known for the 1848 issue of Sketches in Australia. With the 1852 issue the covers were replaced by a single title page.

Type 1 - Bearing engraved ornamental borders of basic geometric designs such as lines and curves, with a central lithographic vignette. Inscription as follows:

SKETCHES in AUSTRALIA / From drawings by / Captn. R.M.Westmacott, / Late 4th King's Own Regt. / [Vignette lithograph] / Drawn on Stone by / W. Spreat / Printed at W.Spreat's Lithographic Establishment, / Park Place , Exeter

This cover is dated at 1848, based on evidence within the text accompanying Plate 1 and knowledge of Westmacott's movements. A copy of Sketches in Australia in the Mitchell Library (F981W Copy 2) contains this cover with plates 1-6, as originally issued. It therefore pre-dates the Type 2 cover (bearing ornate Aboriginal borders) which may be found with all the eighteen plates enclosed. Also, an example in the Mitchell collection bears the inscription "1848" in ink, whilst a Type 2 cover likewise bears "F.G.S. - F.R.G.S.", indicating compilation after April 1852. There is no facility for part numbering on this cover. The lithographic vignette consists of an untitled View from O'Briens Pass, Illawarra (described below).

Type 2 - Bearing engraved ornamental borders composed of Aboriginal artefacts such as boomerang, waddy and spears, and native flora (replacing the simple geometric design of the Type 1 cover), with a central lithographic vignette. Engraved inscription as follows:

SKETCHES in AUSTRALIA / No. / No. / From drawings by / Captn. R.M.Westmacott, / Late 4th King's Own Regt. / [Vignette lithograph] / Drawn on Stone by / W. Spreat / Price to Subscribers Five Shillings / Printed at W.Spreat's Lithographic Establishment, / Exeter

Facility for part numbering, with parts usually numbered 1 to 3 in ink adjacent to No. The lithographic vignette consisted of an untitled View from O'Briens Pass, Illawarra. This cover post dates the Type 1 cover.

Vignette - View from O'Brien's Pass, Illawarra

Lithograph 7.8 x 11.8cm. View looking east from the Illawarra escarpment at a point behind Wollongong and with Mount Keira the mountain to the left of the view. This vignette is printed on both the Type 1 and Type 2 covers to the 1848 edition of Sketches in Australia , and is cut and pasted onto the title page of the 1852 edition.

Individual Lithographs

Each of the eighteen individual lithographs contains the following engraved inscription:

[Image] / [Title] / From drawings by Captn. R.M. Westmacott, Late 4th King's Own Regt. / Drawn on Stone by W. Spreat / P rinted at W. Spreat 's Lithographic Establishment, Exeter / Price to Subscribers Five Shillings

Dimensions: Image plus inscription 21.5 x 24cm (10 1/4 x 14 1/2"). The dimensions of the lithographic impression vary. They were accompanied by individual, descriptive letterpress text, and sold for 5/- per part. The printing of this series is dated 1848 according to references within the accompanying letterpress text, and knowledge of Westmacott's movements. Each lithographic plate in this series contained a printed tint of pale blue, blue-grey, or cream, to facilitate later hand-colouring. Whilst W. Gauci had obviously improved upon Westmacott's original drawings in the 1838 issue of Series of Views in Australia , W. Spreat was unfortunately more literal in his reproduction of the artist's work for this second series. The quality of Spreat's lithographs is not on par with those printed by Hullmandel, though the addition of the tint does enhance their appearance to a degree. Apart from imperfections in the lithographic images due to bad printing technique, the accompanying engraved letterpress text is also at fault, with numerous typographic errors, though there was no letterpress text accompanying the 1838 series with which to make direct comparisons. Many of the Australian spellings in this second series of lithographs are incorrect e.g. "Kiama" is spelt "Kiaina" on plate 9; "Waniora" appears as "Wooranora" on plate 16; "Wollongong" is printed "Wollonyony" on the letterpress text accompanying plates 13 & 16; and "Jervis Bay" is given as "Jarvis Bay" on plate 18, though both spellings are correct. Despite the minor imperfections, this series is nevertheless of fine quality, especially attractive when hand-coloured. A complete bound set of the 18 lithographs, hand-coloured possibly by Westmacott, is to be found in the Dixson Library collection. The descriptive text accompanying each of the eighteen lithographs is reproduced below, as written by Westmacott during 1847-48.

Set No. 1

1. View of North Head of Port Jackson and the Quarantine Ground.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See ML PXA1760 f.14 for a draft sepia wash drawing of this view. Letterpress text:

VIEW OF THE NORTH HEAD OF PORT JACKSON HARBOUR AND THE QUARANTINE GROUND.

Before entering upon a description of the accompanying views, it will, perhaps, be advisable to give a brief account of the discovery of New Holland , and of that portion of it called New South Wales. As early as 1542, the English are said to have discovered a new tract of land to the south, but at the time it was not imagined to be other than a vast continent. From this period, little appears to have been known until the Dutch, under Dirk Hartage [Hartog], in 1612 made other important discoveries. After this, several ships visited the newly discovered land, conceiving it to be a portion of the main land; nor was the opening, dividing New Holland from Van Dieman's Land, discovered until 1798, ten years after an English settlement was formed upon the east coast. This was made known by the intrepidity and perseverance of two Officers - Mr. Bass, a Surgeon, and Mr. Flinders, a Lieutenant - in our navy. The discovery of the splendid harbour of Port Jackson was still more singular: Captain Cook was the first who visited the eastern coast, he gave it the name of New South Wales, and recommended the English Government to form a colony there, representing Botany Bay as a desirable spot to commence upon. Continuing his voyage, coasting to the northward, a sailor, by name Jackson, reported from the mast head that a very considerable inlet was visible; at first this did not create surprise, as many of them may be observed along the shore from north to south, but some years after, Captain Phillips, who took out the first ships to form the colony, went according to instructions to Botany Bay, and being greatly disappointed with it as a harbour, and finding the land all around sterile and incapable of being cultivated, was determined to explore the east coast in search of something better; he had not advanced northward above twelve miles, when he observed an opening between two bold cliffs, and to his amazement, instead of a mere inlet, he entered one of the finest harbours in the world, navigable for the largest vessels sixteen miles from its entrance, perfectly sheltered, and with good anchorage.The heads of Port Jackson Harbour are in Lat. 34o 34' S, and Lon. 152o 24' E. Captain Phillips immediately returned to his ships, and after further exploring the harbour found a considerable bay with a stream running into it, where he landed the party; this is now called Sydney Cove, and upon its shore stands the city of Sydney, perhaps the largest and best built town in our Colonies. Captain Phillips met at first with great opposition from the natives, and also suffered great privations by the unfortunate loss of a vessel carrying provisions to them from England. Perseverance, however, after a time prevailed; the settlement he had formed flourished, and it is truly astonishing to see how much has been affected at our antipodes in the comparatively short period of sixty years, where they are enjoying all the laws, customs, and privileges of the mother country, and numbering, at this time, 1848, nearly 300,000 persons.

The Quarantine Ground, pointed out in the sketch by the ship riding with the Quarantine flag flying, is situated in a small bay immediately round the point inside the North Head; the arrangements are very complete, and, although it is a long distance from Sydney (eight miles), the position is judiciously chosen, and the circumstance has, no doubt, saved the colonists much misery. A few unfortunate emigrant ships have arrived with contagious fever on board, and by cutting off all communication with the town nothing serious has occurred to the general population. Small pox, cholera, and other dreadful diseases, are at present unknown in New South Wales.

Immediately facing Port Jackson Heads is Middle Harbour, a considerable inlet, running about twenty miles inland, but only navigable for boats. The land about it is becoming located, and many flourishing gardens and cottages adorn its banks.

No. 1.

2. Sydney Harbour. From the Government Domain.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See NLA NK762/17b for the original watercolour version of this view. Letterpress text:

VIEW OF SYDNEY HARBOUR , FROM THE GOVERNMENT GARDENS AND DOMAIN.

The Government Domain occupies the whole of the east side of Sydney Cove, - Government House and Grounds taking up some portion, the Botanical Gardens another, and the remainder being laid out in walks and drives. The scene, looking towards the Heads, is very beautiful, the high land, with the Lighthouse upon it, forming the extreme distance. The Lighthouse stands upon the south Head of Port Jackson Harbour , and is called Macquarie 's Tower; its height from the sea is nearly four hundred feet. It has a brilliant revolving light visible in clear weather from a ship's deck at a distance of fifteen leagues. The Signal station communicating with Sydney is also on the south Head. The Botanical Gardens adjoin the Government grounds, forming, in appearance, one beautiful estate. It abounds in curious plants and shrubs, and the Government affords settlers an opportunity of improving their orchards and vineyards, by the permission of taking cuttings, seeds, or specimens of any thing the garden may produce. They are open to the public, and form a delightful retreat during the summer months when the heat and dust in Sydney are almost intolerable. The grounds are beautifully laid out, sloping gradually to the water's edge, and the judicious manner in which the shrubs from different countries are arranged, some flowering at all seasons, gives the spot a gay and cheerful appearance. Garden Island, situated at a short distance from the main land, is very picturesque: it is covered with beautiful shrubs, creepers, and flowers. There is a Police station upon it for the protection of the shipping, and to prevent smuggling.

3. Sydney Cove. With Government House & Fort Macquarie

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See NLA NK762/1 for the original watercolour of this view. Letterpress text:

VIEW OF SYDNEY COVE, SHEWING THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE AND FORT MACQUARIE.

Ships upon arrival generally bring up in Sydney Cove, opposite the Town; Dawes Battery being on the west, Fort Macquarie on the east. The east side of the Cove is at present occupied by the Government Domain; the new Government House occupying a portion of it; the remainder will be appropriated to wharves and public buildings. The depth of water is sufficient for large vessels to lay alongside the banks, which are of solid rock, and which will be converted into magnificent wharves and quays. The Government House is a fine and capacious building of stone, and is said to have cost about 70,000, a building quite out of character to the small salary the Colony at present give to their Governor. Dawes Battery is a formidable fort overlooking the harbour as far as Bradley's Head; the Queen's Wharf, Dock Yard, Commissariat Stores, and many private establishments, occupy the whole space on the west side of the Cove. At the south end of the Cove a circular wharf has been constructed of stone; vessels of the largest tonnage can lay alongside of it. The Customs House is a fine stone building; and connected with this is the Harbour Master's office. There is also an extensive building for storing wool as it arrives from the interior, a very necessary precaution against it being shipped in a damp state. Other public buildings are in progress (1847) in the immediate vicinity. Darling Harbour round Dawes Point is an extensive harbour, having, on the city side, fine wharves,stores, ship building establishments, and a slip for repairing shipping, and upon which vessels of large size can be placed. Sydney is built upon an irregular neck of land about two miles in length and one in breadth, and contained in 1847, nearly 90,000 inhabitants. The width and regularity of the streets gives it an appearance much superior to many of our large country towns. The public buildings, such as Hospitals, Churches, Market Place, Police Offices, Prisoners' Barracks, and many private dwellings, would do credit to the mother country. Sydney has lately become a City, having a resident Bishop, and has its Mayor and Corporation. The Police is well organised and very efficient. The City will shortly be entirely lighted by gas; the shops, generally speaking, are so at present. Many of these are quite equal to those in London , and much superior to what we meet in the generality of country towns in England. There is an abundant supply of water from the inexhaustible swamps a few miles from Sydney, on the road to Botany Bay; pipes are laid in through the principal streets, and public pumps are erected in the most frequented parts, adding much to the cleanliness and general good appearance of the town. Steam to a great extent has been introduced into Sydney , not only among the numerous steamers employed in the coasting trade, but in distilleries, saw mills, and flour establishments. The Market Place is a fine building, having its separate departments for the variety of produce for sale. The hay, corn, and cattle market is at the entrance to the town, and is always plentifully supplied. There are four Banks in Sydney, independent of the Savings Bank. The Cathedral, when completed, will be a handsome building. St. Mary's, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, is a large building not very celebrated for its style of architecture. The Council Chamber and Benevolent Asylum are buildings of some importance.

4. View of Sydney. From above Vaucluse.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See DL PX53 f.3 for the original watercolour of this view. Letterpress text:

VIEW OF SYDNEY , FROM ABOVE VAUCLUSE.

This forms a very extensive view; shewing many of the numerous and beautiful bays for which Port Jackson Harbour is so celebrated. The great expanse of water is beautifully broken by numerous islands, as Shark Island , Garden Island , and Pinchgut; upon the latter a Fort is being constructed. Its banks are studded with villas and gardens. The defences have lately assumed a formidable aspect, a battery carrying guns of large calibre, commanding the entrance of the harbour, having been completed at Bradley's Head. A floating light has been placed upon some dangerous rocks called the "Sow and Pigs," enabling vessels to enter at all times. Previous to the establishment of this light, entering the harbour at night was attended with great risk. In the distance is seen the town of Sydney , showing its length and position, also the entrance of Sydney Cove.

No. 4.

5. Botany Bay Heads, from Newtown.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See NLA NK762/10 for the original watercolour of this view. Letterpress text:

VIEW OF BOTANY BAY , FROM NEW TOWN.

Botany Bay, twelve miles south of Port Jackson Harbour, was discovered by Captain Cook, and was so named by Sir Joseph Banks who accompanied him in his voyage, and conducted the scientific operations in botany, &c. It is of considerable extent, but badly sheltered, and not navigable for large vessels far from its entrance; Cook's River and George's River empty themselves into Botany Bay. The land in the vicinity is very indifferent, low, and swampy. The celebrated voyager De la Perouse and his companions visited Botany Bay previous to their sailing on their last sad expedition, and a monument to their memory has been erected by the French, consisting of a column surmounted by a glove. Some years since an attempt was made to locate the shores of Botany Bay by granting land to old soldiers and others; for some time the result was anything but satisfactory, but lately considerable improvement has taken place. A cloth manufactory is established there, where a very excellent coarse cloth is made, while it employs a great many hands, and is said to be a very remunerating concern.

No. 5

6. Natives. (Armed) (In Deep Mourning)

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. View of two male aborigines standing side by side - the one on the left armed and equipped for war; the other in deep mourning. A native hut is seen in the background. Letterpress text:

NATIVES: ONE IN MOURNING; ONE EQUIPPED FOR WAR.

T he Aboriginal population of New South Wales may be classed in the lowest scale of human beings at present known to the white man. The generality of the people are small in stature, with large heads, broad shoulders, long arms, and are very ugly. Their clothing consists simply of an oppossum cloak. They are fond of adorning their persons with the teeth of kangaroo, cockatoo feathers, flying squirrel tails, &c. &c. They cover their bodies with whatever grease they can obtain, and with sharp flint cut their breasts, arms, and backs, making long gashes, which they fill with earth, keeping the wound open until it heals: it then presents a frightful scare or weal. The males have the front tooth struck out upon arriving at puberty. When they mourn for one of their tribe, or go to war, they smear their bodies with pipe clay and a yellow pigment they make from the bark of trees. They evince some skill in making their war and fishing implements, and are very dexterous in using them. They throw the spear with great precision from one hundred to one hundred and twenty yards, by means of the womera or throwing stick, a piece of wood about three feet long, three inches broad at one end, terminating at a point at the other, to which a hook is fastened; this hook is inserted into the extremity of the spear, a small hole being made to receive it, and the womera being grasped at the broad part, the arm is suddenly extended, and the spear flies off, the womera remaining in the hand. The bomerang is also a very extraordinary implement used by these savages. Its form is that of a curve, the concave part is something more than a quarter of an inch thick, but the convex side is very sharp. They throw this instrument fifty or sixty yard; in its flight it turns round with great rapidity, and suddenly rising to a great height in the air it then returns, and ultimately falls at the feet of the person throwing it; this weapon is used in hunting as well as war.

It would be difficult to describe their religious beliefs, but they have an idea of the existence of a good and evil spirit. The latter they insist wanders about at night, and therefore nothing will induce a native to move about after nightfall; when the day closes they halt, and to use their own phrase - they sit down. When one of the tribe dies, the name is never mentioned for one twelvemonth, nor is any allusion made concerning the deceased. They treat their women brutally, and they obtain their wives after a very novel fashion. They steal the woman from another tribe, cautiously following their track and watching for the opportunity when the men leave the camp for hunting. The suitor then rushes on the female he desires to secure, and beats her until she is senseless, when he carries her off. He has however to undergo a severe penalty for this. In the first place, the aggrieved tribe is allowed to select a certain number of companions or warriors to throw their spears at the delinquent, who is only permitted to use the helieman or shield to defend himself. Should he escape from this, he is subjected to a still more severe trial: a man is selected to meet him, and each is armed with a waddy; one quietly presents his head and receives a desperate blow; this being inflicted, the other then offers his head for the same discipline, and this continues until they reel about quite senseless. The blows inflicted would be sufficient to kill any other human being, but these people's skulls are of extraordinary thickness. After this the two tribes become friends, and pass a day or two in dancing their corrobories , and in exhibiting other demonstrations of friendship. Many attempts have been made to civilize them, and make them of some use, but instances of their leaving their wild habits are rare. In some later numbers further accounts of this wild people will probably be given.

Set No. 2

7. The Jiggama River near Pambula.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Blue-grey tint. See DLPX53 f.9 for the original pencil sketch of this view. Note the depiction of the extremely ragged, volcanic rocks marking the entrance to the river. Westmacott had a tendency to exaggerate the jaggedness of rocks within his views, emphasising their picturesque qualities. This view was probably taken in 1835 while en route to Twofold Bay aboard the HMS Hyacinth , with Governor Bourke and party. Letterpress text:

THE JIGGAMA RIVER , NEAR PAMBULA.

This River takes its rise near Pambula, a fine tract of alluvial country, about ten miles from the coast. The scenery on the river is very picturesque, but the land indifferent, expecting a few rich flats. It abounds in wild ducks, pelicans, swans, &c. This river is navigable for small boats nearly up to Pambula. At the entrance of the river is an extensive bar, which at low water, owing to the surf breaking on the rocks, is very dangerous to approach; and when it blows at all strong from seawards, quite impossible to cross; when inside, the water is deep and well sheltered.

No. 7

8. Road from Emu Plains, Over the Blue Mountains. The First Stone Bridge built in New South Wales.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm.Cream tint. The bridge, known as Horseshoe Bridge on Mitchell's Pass, near present-day Lapstone, was the first constructed by David Lennox, the famous colonial bridge builder. It was completed in 1833 and the original view for this lithograph was probably taken during the final stages of construction. Note the convict labourers and road gang at work on the bridge surrounds. Richard Bourke took special pride in the constructions of Lennox during his period of governorship. Reproduced: Spiers, p.49. Letterpress text:

ROAD FROM EMU PLAINS TO BATHURST , BLUE MOUNTAINS.

This view, intended to represent part of a Road over the Blue Mountains, is perhaps of more importance than any recently constructed in New South Wales, opening to the settler some of the most magnificent country for agriculture and grazing pursuits in this vast land, - Bathurst, Wellington Valley, Macquarie, &c., &c. This range of Mountains was for some years considered inaccessible; but after repeated unsuccessful attempts, the perseverance of explorers was rewarded, and a road, or mountain pass, was made over a portion called Lapstone Hill; the ascent and descent was attended with great fatigue and danger; at length, the Surveyor General, Sir Thomas Mitchell, exercising his usual perseverance and skill, overcame this difficulty, and although much labour has been expended, this hitherto considered impracticable barrier has been removed, and the mountain can now be ascended with great facility. The Bridge represented in the sketch carries the road over a deep gully, and was the first stone Bridge erected of any size in New South Wales.

No. 8.

9. Blow-Hole. (Kiaina Illawarra)

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Blue tint. See DLPX53 f.12 for the original pencil sketch of this view, with accompanying description of the operation of the Blow Hole. On the text accompanying this lithograph, "Kiama" is misspelt "Kiaina". Letterpress text:

THE BLOW HOLE, KIAMA.

The Blow Hole is situated in Illawarra, upon a rocky point of land running into the sea, which point forms the south side of the Harbour of the Township of Kiama. The position of this town is very beautiful, its neighbourhood abounding in perhaps the finest land in New South Wales. The singular appearance the Blow Hole presents, is caused by the swell of the Pacific rushing into an apperture from the cliff, running a considerable distance inland; the entrance of the opening is on the both sides beautifully supported by basaltic columns. The great force with which the water enters, causes it to expend itself against the side of a basin or crater at the extremity; a magnificent column of white foam is thrown up, sometimes to the height of one hundred and fifty feet, causing a noise that may be heard several miles from the spot.

No. 9.

10. Valley of Jamberroo , Illawarra.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See NK762/4 for the original watercolour of this view, looking south west over Jamberoo Valley towards the Illawarra Escarpment. The snake-like watercourse in the right foreground is Minamurra River , with Woodstock Mill to the right again of the river. Reproduced: Mitchell & Sherington, p.9; Henderson, p.106; Bayley, 1976, p.21. Letterpress text:

VALLEY OF JAMBERROO , ILLAWARRA.

The Valley of Jamberroo is well watered, and perhaps for its fertility cannot be surpassed. The valley extends some distance, bounded by lofty hills; the soil to the summits is very rich; the timber of gigantic size and variety. This extensive valley has at no very distant period been covered by the sea, as shells embedded in the rocks and clay are found in great quantities. The extremity of the valley is fifteen miles from the sea. Extensive Mills have been erected for sawing timber, grinding, &c., and within a short period a Brewery, proving of great benefit to the settler, who gets rid advantageously of his barley. The establishment cultivate their own hops, and as a proof of the good description of land, they grow upwards of twenty five feet high, and yield about thirteen hundred weight to the acre, and are said to be of superior quality; there are however other extensive hop plantations in Illawarra.

No. 10.

11. Mountain Pass , from Jamberoo, Illawarra, & Bong Bong

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See DLPX53 f.7 for original pencil sketch of this view. Letterpress text:

MOUNTAIN PASS , FROM JAMBERROO, ILLAWARRA, TO BONG BONG

There is nothing of particular interest in this view, except the very beautiful scenery it represents. The Mountain is of considerable height, clothed to its summit by gigantic trees of the Eucalyptus, Cedar, &c., and Shrubs of great beauty, the soil being of the richest description. This Pass is very precipitous, and used only by the natives, who appear upon all occasions to make their paths pass over the summits of eminences, instead of making an easier ascent by going round them.

No. 11.

12. Natives.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See PXA1760 f.31 and DLPX53 f.27 for the two original sketches upon which this lithograph is based. The lithographic view contains a reverse image of the aboriginal women portrayed in the original sketch. See also ML PXA1760 f.30 for a detailed sketch of the natives' huts, termed "Gumoyas" [gunyahs]. Letterpress text:

NATIVES

The Aboriginal women are small in stature, illmade, and very plain, seldom having a robust appearance, and not so cleanly as the men. Their life is one of hardship, doing all the drudgery and hard work, the men seldom assisting. These people are never stationary; all the camp equipage and children are carried by the women, the men condescending to carry only their weapons of war, the chase, or fishing. Should the gin, or wife, have a child before the last is able to follow, the poor little wretch, unless some more humane than father or mother protects it, is put to death. Upon arrival at the ground for encampment, the women erect the gumoyas, or huts, light the fires, fetch water, and cook what they may have for the evening repast. Their daily wanderings are over at sunset. No black fellow ventures abroad after dark, as they have an idea that evil spirits then roam about and afflict them with misfortune and disease.

No.12

Set No. 3

13. Johnstone Plains and Five Islands , from the Green Mountain.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. This view is similar to that contained in plate 6 of Westmacott's Series of Views in Australia [1838], which in turn had been based upon the pencil sketch DLPX53 f.16, though taken from a location on the Illawarra escarpment further to the south. Letterpress text:

JOHNSTONE PLAINS AND FIVE ISLANDS , FROM THE GREEN MOUNTAIN.

The ascent of this mountain is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the favoured district of Illawarra. The view from its summit cannot be surpassed: to the west is the Illawarra range of mountains, a deep gully pointing out where the River Macquarie enters the district, the swamps from the plains above forming its source, the river meanders through the district emptying itself into Illawarra Lake; the scenery looking easterly embraces to the north, the hills near Wollonyony [Wollongong], the Five Islands, and Johnstone Plains; to the south, Terry's Mount, and the country in the neighbourhood of Jamberroo.

No. 13.

14. Monument to Monr. De La Perouse, And His Companions. Erected at Botany Bay.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. View of monument with contemporary enclosure. Letterpress text:

MONUMENT TO MONS. DE LA PEROUSE, ERECTED AT BOTANY BAY.

The accompanying sketch is of the Monument erected by the French to the memory of the scientific and ill-fated De la Perouse, and his companions, whose fate for many years was uncertain, no tidings having been heard of them since the expedition left Botany Bay in 1786 [1788]. These doubts have, however, been cleared up, by portions of the vessels and some of the property having been found in possession of the savages of the Island of Manocolo in 1826, where no doubt the vessels were lost, and crews perished.

No. 14

15. Condon's Creek.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Blue-grey tint. Condon's Creek is located on the southern side of Bass Point, Illawarra. Letterpress text:

CONDONS CREEK.

This view of Condons Creeks, in the district of Illawarra, has nothing further to recommend it than being the favourite resort in the season, of the aboriginal natives, for catching fish in their peculiar manner of stupifying them. The sketch endeavours to show the manner in which they perform this novelty. A tree, called by them the Dog Tree, is stripped of its bark, and tied up in bundles, it is then dipped in the water and placed over a blazing fire, when it becomes hot, and emits a strong smell, it is plunged into the water, the natives previously driving the fish to the mouth of the creek, and damming it up with bushes across, shortly the fish appear on the surface, as if dead, they are then thrown upon the bank, and soon recover, apparently none the worse for the dose administered.

No. 15.

16. Wooranora River.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See PXA1760 f.26 for the original pencil sketch of this view, titled "Waniora Creek, Co. Cook, N.S.W.". Within this edition "Wooranora" should read "Waniora", for the river which flows through the mountains west of Sutherland. Letterpress text:

WOORANORA RIVER.

This wild and picturesque scene is upon the line of road from Sydney to Wollonyony [ Wollongong ], the river running through the ravine collects its waters from the adjacent swamps and gullies, and during the rainy season becomes a rapid torrent. Upon passing the Fall shewn in the sketch it becomes navigable for small boats, continuing its course for some distance, joins George's River, which joins Cook's River, emptying itself into the sea at Botany Bay. The country in the vicinity of Wooranora River is rocky and sterile, and not being much frequented is the resort of the largest description of kangaroo.

No.16

17. Jarvis Bay.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. See DLPX53 f.28 for the original sketch of this view, possibly taken during Westmacott's visit there in 1835, en route to Twofold Bay with Governor Bourke's entourage. Within the lithograph and accompanying text the printer has incorrectly spelt " Jervis Bay " as " Jarvis Bay ", though confusion was common at the time. Letterpress text:

JARVIS BAY.

Jarvis Bay is ninety miles south of Port Jackson , and is one of the few harbours of refuge upon the east coast of New Holland. The immediate neighbourhood is sterile, and of little use for grazing or agricultural purposes, but is admirably situated as a harbour of export for the settlers to the south of Sydney (Argyle, St.Vincent, &c.) The enormous expense of carriage in sending wool, and the loss of cattle in driving them to Sydney, would to a great extent be saved, as ships could here load for England, or steamers could in a few hours convey the produce to Sydney.

No.17

18. Warragumba River. Near the Cow Pastures.

Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm. Cream tint. "Warragumba" should read "Warragamba". Letterpress text:

WARRAGUMBA RIVER , NEAR THE COWPASTURES.

This picturesque view is one of the many the vicinity of the Cowpastures affords. The surrounding country is celebrated for the richness of the land, great portion being alluvial; large tracts are cultivated, and the farmers in this district are justly considered the best in New South Wales ; the dairies are numerous, and supply the Sydney market with excellent butter.

No.18.

Sketches in Australia (1848) has been classified by Ferguson (No.4955) with the rarer Type 1 cover only. An example of this cover is to be found in the Mitchell Library collection (F981W). Further copies of Sketches in Australia are known in the following public and private collections and from various auction and gallery sales.


* Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound , New Zealand [1851]

According to a note attached to a pencil and sepia wash drawing by Westmacott of "Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand Native Fort" in the National Library of Australia collection (NLA NK762/33), this sketch was used as the basis for a lithograph published by C. Heapy and G.F. Swainson in 1851. The view is of Tory Channel, with a fortified pah on a small island in the centre, and a fully rigged ship sailing up, followed by a sailing canoe. Charles Heapy (1820-1881) was one of New Zealand 's major colonial period artists, working there from 1839 until his death in 1881 (Keith, 1968).


* Sketches in Australia [1852]

Sometime after April 1852, Westmacott's 1848 Sketches in Australia was issued in book form, with all 18 lithographs and letterpress text bound in. A new title page was included, incorporating the View from O'Brien's Pass, Illawarra vignette cut from the original 1848 cover and pasted in, along with an amended inscription. The new title page appeared as follows:

SKETCHES in AUSTRALIA / From drawings by / R.M.Westmacott, Esqe. / F.G.S. - F.R.G.S. / Late 4th King's Own Regt. / [Vignette lithograph]

The references to R.M. Westmacott as "F.G.S" (Fellow of the Geological Society) and "F.R.G.S" (Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society), which appelations he obtained around April 1852, indicate the earliest possible compilation date for this issue. Also, within the letterpress text accompanying plate 1, the date "1848" has been overwritten in ink "1851". Within the new title inscription, the label "Captain" had disappeared from Westmacott's name, as had the reference to " W. Spreat 's Lithographic Establishment, Park Place , Exeter ". This circa 1852 compilation is extremely rare, with three copies known to the author in the following collections: * Illawarra Historical Society, Wollongong - donated in 1949 by "John Westmacott, Rabymere, Nth Parramatta", a descendant of R.M. Westmacott's; * Royal Geographical Society, London - possibly donated by the artist; and an example was sold by Kenneth Hince of Melbourne in July, 1982 for $4500. Judging by the Illawarra Historical Society copy, this 1852 version of Sketches in Australia was issued with green embossed cloth and board covers, and the title "Sketches in Australia" on the cover in gold lettering. As noted previously, many of Westmacott's own proof copies of his two series of lithographs were offered for sale by his descendants at the Museum Book Store sale of 1929. The relative scarcity of his lithographs, especially the 1838 series, suggests that few were printed - perhaps only 100 of the first set. In the finished, hand-coloured versions, they are fine works of art, well structured and showing Westmacott's knowledge of the traditions of picturesque landscape art, in their depiction of New South Wales scenery.


Life & Times | Art - Lithographs | Art - Sketchbooks |
Mauritius & South Africa 1825-8 | South America 1851/8 | New Zealand 1840

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