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Observatory Hill from Darling Harbour

Date: c 1865
Overall: 460 x 702 x 31 mm, 1.6 kg
Sight: 347 x 590 mm
Display Dimensions: 380 x 620 x 20 mm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert Bleakley
Object Name: Oil painting
Object No: 00001315
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Darling Harbour,

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    This oil painting depicts Observatory Hill from Darling Harbour and is attributed to the artist Frederick Garling. It is a view to the south, showing boats in the foreground near Millers Point and the Observatory beyond (1856-8). The work resembles watercolours by Frederick Garling, a renowned maritime artist whose prodigious output covered most of the ships that came to Sydney during his lifetime as an artist. Garland was a self-taught artist who worked as a customs agent.
    SignificanceFrederick Garling is regarded as colonial Australia's leading maritime artist.

    The work reveals topographical details of colonial Sydney in the 1840s, including Darling Harbour and Millers Point making the painting an important colonial view.
    HistoryFrederick Garling was born in 1806 in London, England. He came to Australia with his parents in 1815 aboard the FRANCIS AND ELIZA. Records suggest he was appointed a landing waiter with the Customs Office in 1827 and promoted in 1847.

    Garling was self-taught as a marine artist and had a prodigous output of mainly unsigned works. In 1827 Garling accompanied Captain James Stirling as official artist on his exploratory expedition to the Swan River in Western Australia. He exhibited with the Promotion of the Fine Arts Society in Sydney in 1847and 1848.

    Garling painted marine and landscape subjects, and his marine paintings covered both genres. Garling is thought to have painted most of the vessels that came through Port Jackson during his period as a painter, the middle of the 19th century. Garling painted almost exclusivley in watercolours and along with an attention to the detail of the ship and background, he created dramatic and atmospheric scenes to accompany the ship portrait.

    Garling is undoubtedly colonial Australia's finest maritime painter and his works can be found in the Art Gallery of NSW, the Dixson Gallery, Mitchell Library and other distinguished Australian public and private collections.

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