John Glover is renowned for his faithful depiction of the Tasmania landscape. After emigrating from England to Australia in 1831, at the age of 64, the artist revelled in the excitement of discovering the topography of his new home. On arrival in Tasmania, he wrote to his sister that "the general view of the distant coast was very interesting and much of the Ullwater character... and very like the management of Gaspar Poussins landscapes; a good school for the chairo-scuro..." (J McPhee, The Art of John Glover, Melbourne, 1980, p. 26). It is clear, though, that this spirit of enquiry and close observation shaped Glover's work long before his move to Tasmania.
The artist's reference to the work of the seventeenth century Italian artist Gaspard Dughet, known as Poussin, illustrates one of the strongest influences on Glover's artistic development, along with landscapes by Salvator Rosa and Claude Lorrain.
In Landscape with Buildings on Hill, Glover's finely painted figures, horses, cart and goats are relativelt insignificant against the majestic trees, sky and palazzo; a structure reminiscent of the work of Poussin, while drawing upon the landscapes of claude for his sublimely romantic scenes, infised with golden light from the setting sun. Probably included int he 1830 sale of Glover's paintings in London Landscape with Buildings on Hill meets that catalogue's description of one of the artist's "Claude like Italian views...highly interesting for their classical character, their sweetness and amenity" (ibid, p. 17).
Nevertheless, despite the scene's inherent romanticism, much of the content of Landscape with Building on Hill was drawn from sketches made en plain air by Glover during his 1817 trip to Italy. Alongside his sketches, Glover also enthusiastically recorded the colours and atmosphere of the scene under observation: "The lights of the fog rosy - in some places became rolling clouds - the thin shadowy part fastest, shadows not blue but nutral - the highest lights in clouds the whitest - the sun immediately behind me - general tone of distance greenish grey, purple at tops of mountains the sun light on mountains very tender and cool" (Ibid, pp. 5-6).
Glover did not intend to precisely replicate the scene observed, in fact, he frequently manipulated perspective to present an image with coherence and harmony. But through combining his skill in observation with the lyrical aspects of the work of Poussin, Rosa and Claude, Glover poetically revealed the newly-discovered landscape in a way that established him as one of Australia's most important painters.