Conrad Martens arrived on the Black Warrior through Sydney Heads on 7 April 1835 and immediately fell into life in Sydney, becoming one of the first professional painters to make this growing city his home.
This watercolour View from Craigend, Darlinghurst dated 1836 was a favourite subject for Martens during his first years in Sydney. It is known that by 1841, he had painted eleven versions of this view, which included one oil painting. The majestic building Craigend, was the home of Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General of New South Wales. The house was situated at the top of William Street in Darlinghurst and had sweeping views of the harbour from Sydney Heads right through to the inner bays. Sadly, Craigend was demolished in the early 1920s, but is remembered by the naming of the street where it once stood.
In View from Craigend, Darlinghurst, the viewer is looking down onto the beaches of Rushcutters Bay, before the reclaiming of land as we know it today. The white building prominent to the left of the painting is Roslyn Hall, designed by the architect Ambrose Hallen for Darlinghurst mill-owner Thomas Barker. Down the point closer to the bay is possibly a gatehouse for Elizabeth Bay House and the well-defined shores of Potts Point and Darling Point. Across the harbour is Bradley's Head and faintly in the distance to the right of the entrance into Sydney Heads, is the landmark South Head Lighthouse.