John Eyre (print after)
Walter Preston (engraver)
'Port Jackson Harbour, in New South Wales: with a distant view of the Blue Mountains. Taken from South Head' 1812
Purchased 2005

In 1813 the emancipist Absalom West began publishing a series of engravings of the infant colony. Views in New South Wales included panoramic views of the settlement at Port Jackson, in addition to those established at Newcastle for the incarceration of secondary offenders and at Richmond on the Hawkesbury River.

West employed local convict artists and engravers to produce twenty-four views over two years, with many of the detailed scenes drawn by John Eyre and skilfully engraved on copper plates by Walter Preston and Philip Slager. This set of views was published in Sydney for a local clientele, including naval and army officers, and the captains and crew of trading ships. West dedicated the series to Governor Macquarie, hoping to ensure his patronage to make the series more desirable to the public.

The set of twelve engravings follows a definite plan, with the first two views introducing European settlement. Port Jackson Harbour, in New South Wales: with a distant view of the Blue Mountains. Taken from South Head, the second print in the series, shows the indigenous inhabitants separated from the rapidly encroaching colony by a stretch of water.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

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