Godfrey RIVERS

Plymouth, England 1859 – London, England 1925

  • Australia from 1889

New South Head Road 1889 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas on board

Primary Insc: Signed and dated lower right: "R. Godfrey Rivers 1889"
Secondary Insc: Inscribed in pencil verso: Old South Head Road, Sydney in 1889, R. Godfrey Rivers (the old hotel is Bay Hotel) In pink chalk: E. Schmidt, Bundaberg Consignment Air Freight sticker: Mr Jo.....ooper 29/5/41 (fragment) Savill Galleires label verso "Brisbane" sticker verso (fragment)
Dimensions: 60.0 h x 49.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Hon Ashley Dawson-Damer AM Fund in honour of her mother Judith Drake-Brockman, 2013 100 Works for 100 Years
Accession No: NGA 2013.4133
  • This is a historic Sydney cityscape, viewed from a low perspective (an image of New South Head Road where it meets Glemore Road). It shows a horse and cart travelling up the street and a horsedrawn carriage passing down it. All is otherwise quiet. The street is lined with shops, but there are no people crossing the road, or entering into the shops, and none of the traffic congestion that one would experience today.

    Godfrey Rivers painted this work in 1889, the year he arrived in Australia. He was born in 1859 in Plymouth, England and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art London before coming to Australia. First settling in New South Wales, in 1891 he moved to Queensland and soon became the leader of Brisbane’s emerging art community. In addition to being a prominent artist and regular exhibitor, Rivers was president of the Queensland Art Society for many years, one of the key figures responsible for the establishment of the Queensland Art Gallery and also an influential art teacher.

    The acquisition of this work has been made possible through a generous donation from Ashley Dawson-Damer through the National Gallery of Australia Foundation.

    Anne Gray Head of Australian Art

    in artonview, issue 78, Winter 2014