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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.