Neville CAYLEY, not titled [Australian gamebirds] Enlarge 1 /1

Neville CAYLEY

Dover, England 1853 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1903

  • Australia from c.1882

not titled [Australian gamebirds] 1888 Place made: Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, watercolour Support: wove paper mounted on composition board

Primary Insc: signed and dated lower right in watercolour 'Neville Cayley/1888'. not titled.
Dimensions: sight 73.8 h x 128.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1973
Accession No: NGA 73.37
Provenance:
  • Purchased by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (C.A.A.B.), from Joseph Brown Gallery, Melbourne, February 1973.

Neville Cayley arrived in Australia from England in 1885 with a well-established reputation as a bird painter and is not to be confused with his son of the same name who wrote and illustrated What bird is that? Painted six years after his arrival in Australia Cayley’s large and beautifully rendered watercolour Australian gamebirds  was intended to demonstrate to an Australian audience his appreciation of native bird life, as well as his competence as a watercolourist. The exquisite detail of the rendering belies the fact that this carefully arranged pile of birds was slaughtered for the sake of art. Exotic specimens they are resplendent against an empty backdrop.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra