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Benjamin Duterrau (1767-1851)
'On Tuesday evening Mr. Duterrau the eminent portrait and landscape painter, who has lately arrived in this colony, delivered his lecture on painting, sculpture, and engraving, to a very full meeting of the members of the Mechanics' Institution. It was heard with mingled profit and delight by a most attentive audience. The lecturer in commencing his subject enlarged with considerable pathos and effect on the advantages of institutions similar to the present that encouraged the dissemination of science and the arts. "It has been remarked", said Mr. Duterrau, "that art and science have but little chance of being promoted in Van Diemen's Land, owing to the infancy of the colony -- an infancy that some may wish would last for ever, rather than have the trouble of any higher degree of thinking than that which is necessary for the producing swaddling clothes; such dull guardians of infancy, would see the infant grow to manhood and still talk of infancy -- and well they may, for under their auspices the manhood of the colony would only resemble an over grown babe, arrived at the great bulk of man with the little intellect of a new born child. How different are the true friends of infancy, who watch the growing strength and are ready to help with ardent zeal in every laudable pursuit that may lead to dignified character. Those who countenance art and science are setting an example to the rising generation, who no doubt, will be grateful for putting in their way as they arrive at maturity, the means to become a truly civilized people." The Hobart Town Courier, Friday 19 July 1833
Benjamin Duterrau (1767-1851)

An infant of Van Diemen's Land

Details
Benjamin Duterrau (1767-1851)
An infant of Van Diemen's Land
signed with initials and dated 'BD. 1840[or 9?]' (lower right)
oil on canvas
27½ x 22¾in. (69.8 x 57.8cm.)
with Robin Vaughan Hood, Huon House, Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land, trade label on the stretcher.
Provenance
By direct descent through six generations of the artist's family.

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Lot Essay

Similar to and of the same size as the portrait of Matilda Stanfield (also shown seated outside, playing with a cup and ball toy) sold Sotheby's Australia, 22 August 1994, lot 62 (A$101,500). Duterrau had painted portraits of children in similar outdoor settings in England, his Children in the Wood was exhibited at Suffolk Street in 1824, no.54 (for which see Christie's Melbourne, 22 March 2005, lot 35).
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