'Patterdale landscape with cattle' c. 1833
Rex Nan Kivell collection: National Library of Australia and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
John Glover was undoubtedly Australia's most important colonial artist before 1850. Indeed, he is ranked as one of the most significant landscape artists of his generation working outside Europe.
After a successful career in England, Glover arrived in Tasmania on 18 February 1831, the day of his 64th birthday. The Glovers lived in Melville Street, Hobart, before moving in March 1832 to take up a land grant at Patterdale on the Nile River at Deddington, at the foot of the mountain Ben Lomond. Reinvigorated by the colony's landscape, light and colour, Glover found a new creative impetus in Australia. He painted vital images of the Australian landscape suffused with light.
Patterdale landscape with cattle is one of the first paintings Glover completed after settling on his Nile River property. The preliminary drawing for it features mature, spreading gum trees as its central motif, with the fertile river flats of Mills Plains in the middle distance and wooded hills beyond. It is a pastoral scene, presenting Australia as a place of plenty—a land of cattle and sheep. The hardships that Glover and other settlers experienced in developing their land are not evident in this painting.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008