Percy LINDSAY, Fossicking Enlarge 1 /1


Creswick, Victoria, Australia 1870 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1952


Fossicking [(Miners and cradle, Creswick c.1893)] 1895 Title Notes: Title changed by the Director, Ron Radford, in 2008 [exhibited: VAS September 1895 (82)]
Place made: Creswick, Victoria, Australia
Creation Notes: date changed from c.1893 by the Director, Ron Radford in 2008 [exhibited: VAS Sept 1895 (82)]
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 40.5 h x 30.5 w cm framed (overall) 59.4 h x 49.4 w x 10.3 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2006
Accession No: NGA 2006.862

The discovery of gold in the regions north-west of Melbourne in 1851 triggered a huge influx of miners to the district. With many men seeking fortune from mining, the populations of small towns grew rapidly and, during the height of the gold rush, Creswick, some 18 kilometres north of Ballarat, had a population of more than 25000 people.

In Miners and cradle, Creswick Percy Lindsay presents the physical labour of cradle mining: the backbreaking trawling and sifting of the earth in search of gold. The industrious miners wheel their barrows of earth up and over the heavily worked land. Lindsay painted this picture outdoors, seeking to capture the momentary conditions of light and atmosphere.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, as a young artist Lindsay did not settle in Melbourne to study or pursue painting as a profession. In 1895 he attended the National Gallery School in Melbourne for less than a term, returning shortly after to his hometown of Creswick. The works Lindsay produced in Creswick between 1890 and 1900 are his best pictures. These rural scenes are important images by an Australian artist – who was born and trained locally – depicting his region.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra