Thomas Robertson ( 1819 – 1875)
“Aurora Navigating the Ice Flows” 1857
Oil on canvas
69 x 102 cm
Signed & dated lower left: “T Robertson 1857′

Private collection, Melbourne, c. 1920
Thence by descent
Sotheby’s Melbourne, 21st August 1995, cat. no. 64
Private collection

Thomas Robertson (1819 – 1875) combined his career as a painter with that of captaining the ship Lady Bird, operating between Launceston and Melbourne during the 1850s. In 1856 he was described by The Hobart Town Courier as ‘one of the best marine painters in the Australian colonies’1 This painting depicts the barque Aurora rounding Cape Horn following its journey from Southhampton to Port Adelaide in 1856, under Captain Valentine Ryan.

1. Kerr, J (1992), Dictionary of Australian Artists: Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers to 1870, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

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Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)
(Tasman’s Discovery Ships; the Heemskirk & the Zeehan)
Oil on canvas
51.5 x 80 cm
Signed lower left

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After an early life spent painting between military life and extensive travel between Europe, Jamaica and Brazil, Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925) emigrated from Britain to Tasmania in 1876. He painted prolifically after his arrival, becoming known for his meticulous paintings of Tasmanian maritime scenes and wilderness landscapes.

With the renewed interest in the early days of the colony in the late 19th century came Forrest’s first forays into historical painting. After exhibiting at the ‘Old Hobart’ exhibition of 1896 with paintings depicting Old Government House, Hobart and Sarah Island, Macquarie Harbour, Forrest turned his hand to the earliest chapter of the island’s European history; the sighting of the west coast of Tasmania by the Dutch explorer Abel Janzoon Tasman (1603 – 1659) in 1642.1

1. Brown, G D (1982), Haughton Forrest 1826 – 1925, Malakoff Fine Art Press, Melbourne

Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)
“Yacht ‘Tartar’ off Mumbles Light”
Oil on academy board
31 x 46.5 cm
Signed lower left: ‘HForrest’

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Sir Oswald Walter Brierly (1817 – 1894)
“After the Gale”
Pencil on paper
13.2 x 22.3 cm
Signed and inscribed with title lower right:
‘O. W. Brierly After the Gale’

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Haughton Forrest (1826-1925)
(Yachts of the Friar’s, Bruny Island, Tasmania)
Oil on canvas
29 x 50 cm
Inscribed  verso

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Att. Reverend William Horatio Walsh (1812 – 1882)
(The Convict Ship Asia) 1850
Ink wash with Chinese white on paper
18 x 25.5 cm
Inscribed with initials lower right: ‘W.H.W.’
Inscribed lower left: ‘The Asia on 2nd of August 1850 / Lat: 44.24. S. / Long: 164.9.2 / in very light air from S.S.W.”  

The Asia was built in Calcutta in 1815, and served variously as a convict ship and as a general trader between England and Australia. The ship is notable for transporting the renowned convict artist William Buelow Gould to Hobart Town in 1827.

This work, dating from 1850, depicts the ship in the south Tasman Sea, off the coast of New Zeland. The work is signed lower right “W H W”, which suggest the artist is the Reverend William Horatio Walsh, who was a passenger on board at this time.

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William Duke (1815 – 1853)

(The Barque Derwent of the Coast of Dover) c. 1849
Oil on canvas
62 x 92.5 cm

The Simon Brown Collection, Ellenthorpe Hall, Ross, Tasmania
Private Collection, Launceston

Although William Charles Duke (1814 – 1853) spent only seven years in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, his impact on the maritime art of the island was enormous. Duke arrived in Hobart in May 1845, having travelled from New Zealand aboard the Sir John Franklin.  As a painter of some talent, he quickly took up portraiture commissions and found employment creating theatre sets. As the decade progressed and the whaling industry entered its peak, he found local fame after publishing four lithographs depicting the whaling activity in the area.

Duke’s style was deeply indebted to the work of English maritime artist William John Huggins (1781 – 1845). One of the four prints, titled The Flurry, was a direct copy of a whaling scene by Huggins. Despite this, the series drew the attention of local ship owners. In 1849, when the Hobart whaling fleet reached its peak of 34 Hobart owned and operated vessels, Duke produced his best-known whaling scene, Offshore Whaling with the Aladdin and Jane, now housed in the collection of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

That same year, on the 22nd of August, 1849, the Hobart Courier reported the launch of the Derwent, a 140 foot barque built by Messrs. H. Degraves, Brown & Co.. The article goes on to report ‘Her figure-head was carved by Mr. Duke, and represents a female in a beckoning attitude, and is 6 feet 3 inches in height’. 1 The ship was intended for regular trade between Hobart and London, and in September that year Henry Degraves and Brown & Co. placed an advertised freight services to London in the Colonial Times.

In depicting the The Derwent, Duke has taken a direct cue from the work of Huggins by placing the ship off the White Cliffs of Dover and having ship repeated, sailing into the distance, on the right-hand side of the work. The painting was discovered following the dispersal of the Simon Brown collection, Ellenthorpe Hall, in 2006. 3

1. The Courier (22 August 1849, Hobart), ‘The “Derwent”‘, p. 2
2. Colonial Times (28 September 1849, Hobart), ‘Advertising’, p. 3
3. Stevenson, M, The Examiner (1 July 2006), ‘Rare 1825 Sideboard is sold for $94,000’

Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)
(Hobart Town from Bellerive)
Oil on academy board
46.5 x 62 cm
Signed lower left


Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)
‘Ramsgate Pilot to the Rescue’
Oil on canvas
66 x 166 cm

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