William Charles Piguenit was born in Hobart and has long been called the first Australian born professional painter. He was relatively self taught as an artist, beginning his working life in 1850 as an assistant draughtsman with the Tasmanian Lands and Survey Department. Highly successful in depicting the landscape, Piguenit was appointed the official artist to exploratory expeditions in Tasmania and in 1875 was invited to join Eccleston du Farr's artists camp in the Grose Valley, New South Wales. In 1880 Piguenit moved to Sydney where he enjoyed great success and renown.
In general, Piguenit succeeded in evoking the sense of the landscape and its majesty in his paintings. He was in awe of the pure landscape, relishing in its majesty, its imposing and mysterious nature and sought to explore its wildest and grandest aspects.
In 1898 Piguenit travelled to London to view the exhibition Australian Art, held at Grafton Gallery which included six of his paintings. Enjoying the success, with two works being sold to the publishing company Henry Graves and Co., he was encouraged to revisit in 1900. On his return, Piguenit travelled to Wales, to paint the hazy moors and severe cliff faces that may have reminded him of Mt Ida and Mt Olympus in Tasmania.
Mount Snowdon rises sharply above the coastline in the rugged and still inhospitable region of Snowdonia in the north west corner of Wales. What is most evident in this powerful and moody work is that the artist remained true to the idea of depicting not just a representation of the topography but the disposition of the landscape. Mount Snowdon, North Wales in some ways is an unusual but intriguing picture for Piguenit. Gone are his baby blue skies and waters along with the purple hazes that identify his Australian work. Here we see the influence of the British artist Benjamin Leader, whom he met on his first visit, through his use of strong abstract brush strokes and the lack of a direct focal point within the painting.