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Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill at the National Library Australia

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by Courtney Symes (subscribe)
Courtney is a freelance fashion, art and design writer and content creator for www.mrgift.com.au - an online boutique specialising in quality gifts for men. Read more of Courtney’s work at www.alittlepinkbook.blogspot.com.au
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Be transported back to 19th century Australia
Now you can enjoy more than 200 works from Australian artist, S.T. Gill (including paintings, drawings, watercolours, and prints) at National Library Australia exhibition, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill until 16 October 2016.

National Library Australia exhibitions, art exhibitions, Canberra art exhibitions, Australian artists, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, S.T. Gill, artist S.T. Gill
Title page from The Australian Sketchbook by S.T.G 1864–65, chromolithograph, State Library Victoria


The beauty of Gill's work is his ability to capture all aspects of life in Australia during the 19th century - cities, bush, goldfields, as well as the characters that exist in these settings – from Aboriginal Australians to larrikins, swagmen and prospectors.

National Library Australia exhibitions, art exhibitions, Canberra art exhibitions, Australian artists, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, S.T. Gill, artist S.T. Gill
Stockman, 1864–65, State Library Victoria


S.T. Gill is often referred to as the 'Artist of the Goldfields', thanks to a commission from the trustees of the Melbourne Public Library, when he created forty sketches of the Victorian goldfields during the 1850s. However, S.T. Gill's works capture more than the Victorian gold rush. Many of the drawings he created throughout the 1840s (after immigrating to Australia from England in 1839) captured iconic South Australian landscapes, such as Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges, as well a key buildings in Adelaide, including its port.

National Library Australia exhibitions, art exhibitions, Canberra art exhibitions, Australian artists, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, S.T. Gill, artist S.T. Gill
S.T. Gill's works are incredibly valuable for capturing urban landscapes. Melbourne showing the new bridge 1854, watercolour, nla.gov.au


Despite establishing a portrait studio in Adelaide during the 1840s, it is evident that his passion lay in capturing Australian landscapes. In 1846 he joined an exploring party to the head of Spencer Gulf. The expedition ended in tragedy when expedition leader, J. A. Horrocks had a gun accident. Gill nursed Horrocks until he passed away three weeks later. Despite this tragedy, Gill managed to keep a detailed diary of the expedition and create numerous drawings.

National Library Australia exhibitions, art exhibitions, Canberra art exhibitions, Australian artists, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, S.T. Gill, artist S.T. Gill
In this image, The Duff Children 1864, S.T. Gill has captured the moment when a father finds his three children who have been lost in the bush for 9 days.


Lithographs created during 1856-1861 also indicated Gill's visits to New South Wales during this period, where he captured unique scenes of colony life at this time.

National Library Australia exhibitions, art exhibitions, Canberra art exhibitions, Australian artists, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, S.T. Gill, artist S.T. Gill
Country NW of tableland 1846, watercolours, nla.gov.au


This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to view the work of a talented artist who had a special knack of capturing the authenticity of Australian history and culture during the 1800s.
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Why? Enjoy unique works of this iconic Australian artist
When: 10am-5pm
Phone: 02 6262 1111
Where: National Library Australia
Cost: FREE
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