The Australian Sketchbook by S.T.G.
GILL, Samuel Thomas
Price: 8,500.00 AUD
Melbourne: Printed in Colours and Published by Hamel & Ferguson, 1865. Oblong folio, with 25 fine chromolithograph plates including the title; a large copy with generous margins in old half red morocco. A very good copy of this famous book, from the library of the celebrated collector of books and ethnographica, James Edge-Partington. Gill's most famous volume and his last, this is his wonderful series of images of rural scenes -- bushranging, kangaroo stalking, the bush mailman, cattle droving etc. - with a poignant comparison throughout between the life of the Aborigines and that of the settlers. 'Bush Funeral' for example shows a weeping funeral procession behind a coffin pulled by two bullocks, and is followed by 'Native Sepulchre', an Aboriginal corpse on a platform with howling dingoes below. The colour printing of the lithographs is of notably high quality for this date. The album was printed in 1865, later in the same year that chromolithography was first put to serious use in Chevalier's 'Album'. The colouring here (occasionally highlighted with a little hand-applied colour) is a delicate and successful use of the medium. "The title-page shows a likeness of the artist carrying his boots and equipment and crossing a shallow stream barefoot. His head is turned suspiciously towards two Aborigines shown half concealed by rocks, while unseen by him a snake menaces an unprotected foot. The sketch indicates something of Gill's attitude towards himself at this time. He evidently viewed his own situation with wry humour, adopted a generally fatalistic attitude, and held his own achievements and future in scant regard" (McCulloch). As Sasha Grishin has pointed out in the recent superb exhibition of Gill's work at the State Library of Victoria, and in the accompanying book, Gill was Australia's first painter of modern life. Provenance: James Edge-Partington, with his bookplate. Light marginal spotting to a few plates but generally in excellent condition.
- By This Author: GILL, Samuel Thomas
- By This Publisher: Printed in Colours and Published by Hamel & Ferguson