Provenance: Tom Roberts Miss H.W. Boyes (sister of Jean Boyes, Roberts second wife) 1945 Park Galleries, Melbourne Private collection, Melbourne April 1987 Christies Lot 344 Private collection, Sydney
Reference: Helen Topliss (author)
Tom Roberts (1856-1931): A Catalogue Raisonne, catalogue # 282, Volume 1, Page 152
Illustrated: Helen Topliss
Tom Roberts (1856 – 1931): A Catalogue Raisonne, Volume 2, plate 282.
Provenance: The artist John Young, Sydney; gift from the above circa 1920s Macquarie Galleries, Sydney Private collection, Melbourne; purchased from the above in 1962 Sothebys Australia, Important Australian Art, Melbourne, November 23, 2009, Lot 48 Private collection, Sydney
Literature: Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856 1931: a catalogue raisonné (2 vols), Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1985, vol. 1, p. 88, vol. II, plate 10 (illus.) (as Untitled. Thames Landscape).
Signed lower left: Tom Roberts, inscribed reverse upper left: To my Darling/ Gwen on her/ 20 Birthday/ from Mother: inscribed reverse lower left: Dec 19 1929, inscribed reverse right: 17044/ 2
8.4 x 19.8cm
Mrs Winifred Onslow Dunban, Sydney (prior to 1915); by descent, Gwendolen Onslow Dunban (on her 20th birthday) 1929;
Deutscher Fine Art Exhibition, Melbourne, Nov/Dec 1988 Cat. No. 24, 1989;
Private collection, Sydney since 1988
Exhibition and Sale of Paintings by Tom Roberts, Previous to his leaving Australia, Society of Artists of New South Wales, Vickery’s Chambers, 76 Pitt Street, Sydney 14 November 1900, cat 28, At Watsons Bay, 1 ½ gns.
The location of this painting is Watsons Bay, specifically Camp Cove. It fits stylistically into a group of Harbour panels (of Circular Quay, Rose Bay, Kirribilli and Sirius Cove) executed by Tom Roberts in the late 1890’s.
A forty year old Tom Roberts married Lillie Williamson in Melbourne in early 1896; in January 1898 their son Caleb was born. After the marriage Roberts left the makeshift Curlew Camp at Sirius Cove, which he had shared with Arthur Streeton and others since coming up from Melbourne in 1891 and took up residence in Paul Street, Balmain. He continued however, to work and teach from a city studio in Pitt Street.
Roberts executed two historical bush-ranging subjects in the mid 1890’s, Bailed Up and In a corner on the Macintyre c1894-95. After 1895 he worked on the large droving theme, A mountain muster (c1897-98) but his small portrait studies and rare (compared with Streeton) Sydney Harbour views on un-primed cedar panel, such as, At Watsons Bay c1898, are arguably the most appealing works he created at the time.
The painting has a charming provenance – it was given to the previous owner by her mother, Winfred Onslow Dunban, on her 20th birthday in 1929.