G. W. Evans
'Blighton Farm' 1810
Proud of the progress achieved in the foundling colony of New South Wales, Governor William Bligh often commissioned artists to create a visual record of his accomplishments. G W Evans' delicate watercolour Blighton Farm depicts Bligh's model farm, an extremely successful agricultural and grazing property on the Hawkesbury River at Pitt Town. Evans arrived in Australia in 1802 and was appointed acting Surveyor General of Lands in 1803. He is mostly recognised for his topographically accurate views of Sydney and Hobart.
Blighton Farm is set in the quiet glow of afternoon light. The recently constructed farm buildings sit neatly against a backdrop of gum trees and bushland. In the foreground Evans gives precise attention to the beautifully manicured gardens and orderly fenced paddocks, which were a particular feature of the property. The gardens and paddocks roll down to the shimmering Hawkesbury River, an abundant source of water with its flood banks now controlled. Bligh had much to be proud of, and this small, jewel-like watercolour typifies the desire of early settlers to display proof of their triumph in civilising the environment. Blighton Farm is mounted on its original hand-drawn backing, a rarely seen fashion of the period.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008