Frederick McCUBBIN, Ships, Williamstown Enlarge 1 /1

Frederick McCUBBIN

Australia 1855 – 1917

Ships, Williamstown [[Battleship in the Harbour)] c.1909 Place made: Williamstown, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas-textured paper board Support: Windsor and Newton Oil sketching tablet

Primary Insc: signed lower right in oil, 'F McCubbin'. not dated
Tertiary Insc: inscribed on a paper label, affixed to verso, by an unknown hand, 'Williamstown, Victoria / by F McCubbin purchased about 1910 / price 15 guineas'
Dimensions: 25.6 h x 35.8 w cm framed (overall) 487 h x 588 w x 70 d mm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Philip Bacon AM 2010
Accession No: NGA 2010.127

In 1907 Frederick McCubbin spent six months abroad in Europe. He saw firsthand for the first time major works of European art, and was most inspired by the Romantic landscapes of British artists J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. Seeing these works encouraged McCubbin to become more adventurous in his approach to colour and the handling of paint, with an increasingly gestural approach.

He wrote to Tom Roberts that ‘in our past work we have been too timid’. In this same letter he also likened painting in Williamstown, the waterside suburb of Melbourne, to Venice, with its ‘lovely colour – water and sky’.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013
From: Miriam kelly, Capital & Country: The Federation Years 1900 – 1913, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013