George Peacock was convicted of forgery at London's Old Bailey in 1836. From a respectable family, Peacock was forced to leave his comfortable and promising life as an aspiring young solicitor when he was transported to Australia the following year. Eight years later in 1846, he received a conditional pardon. As he was obliged to remain in the colony, he found employment as a meteorologist at South Head weather station. In his spare time Peacock painted rather accomplished views of the harbour and its environs. His works are important colonial topographical paintings, being among the few records of Sydney's early period of white settlement.
View of the Head of Port Jackson, NSW, from above Vaucluse Bay is painted in the fashionable picturesque style of the time. It depicts the harbour bathed in afternoon light, with neatly drawn figures in the foreground enjoying the view. The presence of the picnicking family gives the work a leisurely Sunday feeling.