Tasmania UNKNOWN MAKER, Sideboard Enlarge 1 /4
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Sideboard c.1810 Place made: Tasmania, Australia
Materials & Technique: furniture, blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) pine (unidentified)

Dimensions: 91.0 h x 131.4 w x 52.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased from Gallery admission charges 1986
Accession No: NGA 86.997

This sideboard was made in Tasmania in about 1810 and is one of the earliest known to have been made on the island, which was first settled as a penal colony in 1803. While its maker has not been identified, its design reflects the refined neoclassical style of English furniture of the late 18th century that remained popular through the early decades of colonial life in Australia. The restraint and simplicity characteristic of furniture design of this period made it possible for colonial furniture makers to interpret English designs with their limited resources and tools and unfamiliarity with local timbers.

Tasmania’s isolation encouraged the development of locally-produced furniture which, as a result, became closely integrated with the simple and elegant design of the island’s domestic architecture. This sideboard with its reeded, square tapered legs and arched lunette front was made from native blackwood (acacia melanoxylon), with the decorative geometric double stringing on the drawer fronts made from unidentified pine.

Robert Bell

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002