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Niga, Fishing in the surf with his Mutton / Burgon, Celebrated Fisherman of New South Wales, in a canoe - the woman sitting down is supposed to be is [sic] wife

Date: 1815
Dimensions:
521 x 613 mm
Medium: Pen, ink, watercolour, bodycolour, gum arabic, laid paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00000021_1
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Sydney,

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    Description
    This watercolour by convict artist Richard Browne documents the fishing techniques used by Aboriginal people in the Sydney and Newcastle regions around 1820. Fishing spears were called 'mooting' or 'mootang' by the Aboriginal people in the Sydney area. Burgon was the subject of several of Browne's paintings.
    SignificanceThis watercolour is significant as a record of Aboriginal people in the Sydney region and the fishing techniques they employed around 1820. It is further significant as part of the body of work produced by convict artist Richard Browne between 1811 and 1924.
    HistoryRichard Browne was born in Dublin in 1771 and was sentenced to transportation in 1810, possibly for forgery. He arrived in Sydney in 1811 on the PROVIDENCE, and was relocated to the secondary penal colony of Newcastle a few months later. Browne remained in Newcastle until 1817, during which time he came into contact with Lieutenant Thomas Skottowe (Commandant of Newcastle 1811-1814) who commissioned him to create drawings of his natural history collections to illustrate a manuscript he was writing. Browne also contributed original illustrations to Major James Wallis's 'An historical account of the Colony of New South Wales' which were subsequently engraved. These natural history studies and landscape paintings demonstrated Browne's competence in watercolour painting.

    Upon Browne's return to Sydney in 1817 as a free man, he concentrated on illustrating the Indigenous Australian groups of the Sydney area, completing bust-length portraits and full-length figure compositions. Richard Browne died in Sydney in 1824, and it is thought that his son William later produced copies of his drawings which circulated widely in Europe. Other works by Browne are represented in the collections of the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales.
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