Conrad Martens (1801-1878)

Conrad Martens (1801-1878)

Bara Creek, near Wollongong, Illawara district, New South Wales

with signature and date lower left 'J.M.W. Turner 1810'; watercolour, unframed
9 3/8 x 13 3/8in. (238 x 339mm.)
(probably) either George Macleay (son of the Colonial Secretary in Sydney) or Samuel Elyard (see note below).

Lot Essay

There is a pencil field sketch of this composition drawn by Martens during his week-long visit to the area on 13 July 1835 in his Sketchbook of Views and botanical studies in the Illawarra district in the Mitchell Library, Sydney (ML ref. ZPXC 389, f. 14). As well as inscribing the title and date on the drawing, he noted in the upper right corner "Banksias grey green with silvery light". The Dixson Galleries collection of the State Library of New South Wales has a pencil and wash study (ZDG*D 19, f. 14) after the pencil drawing (reproduced in L. Lindsay, Conrad Martens: the Man and his Art, Sydney, 1920, plate XXII with the title incorrectly given as "Barco Creek".) Martens's first account book (ZDLMS 142, ff. 154-5) indicates that he sold two small works entitled Bara Creek in October 1877 to George Macleay (son of the Colonial Secretary in Sydney) and in March 1838 to Samuel Elyard (the painter and friend of the artist). One of these was probably the watercolour of the same size as the present lot offered at Sotheby's, Melbourne, 23 August 1992, lot 314 (incorrectly titled "Barco Creek") and the other the present picture.

We are grateful to Elizabeth Ellis, Curator of Pictures' at the State Library of New South Wales, for the above information

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