Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sketches In Australia By George Whitelaw, 1857-1864

I was sort of watching an old episode of Antiques Roadshow ("watching" = noise in the background while I researched Oz history) when I heard the above title mentioned.
Now, poor George was a consumptive bloke ( he was quickly fading away from TB) so he had a little time to fill in.
The sketches in his book aren't fabulously long-lost works of art BUT they are observations of people and Aboriginal people in and around the small settlement of Melbourne; rudimentary ink drawings show mia-mias (huts) and Aboriginal figures with notes on the back of the sketch detailing how they lived.
He also sketched figures waltzing off to the goldfields, showing the various classes by their dress, with the usual accoutrements of digging in their hot little hands.
In short,  rare wonderful glimpses of history.
After the value was given by the Antiques Roadshow expert, with comments that it would garner high interest in the Aussie market, the owner stated he wouldn't be selling.
Now, doing my sums that episode was from 2009 (I told you it was an oldie) so I had a quick Gurgle to see if the sketchbook ever made its way to The Fair Isle of Oz - and, yes, it did!
Mossgreen Auctions in Armadale, Vic, auctioned it last May; how much or who bought it I have not the foggiest, I can only hope it or a facsimile eventually finds its way into the National Library or into print for schools or some such.

You can read a lengthy description by the auction house of George's sketch book  HERE


You can read the transcript of the AR ep HERE.

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice to be so calm at the end of my days.
    And yes, with luck the National Library has their mitts on this treasure.

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