Edward Thomson (1822-1873) Woods and Kellys Claim, Iron Bark Quarts Reef, c.1860

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Lot 7
Edward Thomson
(1822-1873)
Woods and Kellys Claim, Iron Bark Quarts Reef, c.1860

Sold for AU$ 12,300 (US$ 8,588) inc. premium

Important Australian Art

17 Nov 2021, 18:00 EST

Sydney

Edward Thomson (1822-1873)
Woods and Kellys Claim, Iron Bark Quarts Reef, c.1860
inscribed verso: 'Woods & Kellys claim, Iron Bark Quartz Reef / Dr T Thomson / Leamington'
watercolour on paper
23.0 x 37.0cm (9 1/16 x 14 9/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Mr Edward Thomson
    Dr Thomas Thomson, Warwickshire c.1870
    Thence by descent,
    Mrs Fanny Thomson, United Kingdom
    Thence by descent,
    Private collection, United Kingdom
    Thence by descent,
    Private collection, United Kingdom
    Thence by descent,
    Private collection, Perth

    Little is known about colonial landscape artist, Edward Thomson. Undoubtedly, he spent some time in the New England and northern rivers districts of New South Wales from the late 1840s as his works of this subject (including the work at lot 10) are numerous. References to landscapes by a certain Thomson can be found amongst various art prizes and exhibitions including an 1848 Landscape Australia (New England) in the Sydney Art Union Prize and two views of New England in an 1849 exhibition by the Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Australia reviewed at the time by the Sydney Morning Herald.1

    It is possible that in the early 1850s Thomson went to Queensland in search of gold as a certain Edward Thomson 'An Artist, Warwick, Darling Downs' signed off on a letter dated 2 September 1852 responding to accusations of an infamous incident involving a gold nugget hoax.2 The subject of lots 7 and 8 indicate that, following the discovery of gold in north eastern New South Wales in the late 1850s, Thomson was to try his luck at Woodsreef and Ironbark near Barraba. Thomson's presence there is recorded in a report from Woodsreef dated 7 May 1862, published in the Maitland Mercury on 20 May, 1862: 'IRONOBARK - Things in general on these diggings are at present looking more favourable than they have done of late and I am happy to state that the Old Reef is likely to turn on the buoyant expectations of a great many. Two claims have been taken up by two different parties, and I am glad to say they both promise well. A small crushing taken by Messrs Thompson and part from the claim known as Thomas Miles's...have averaged over 4 ozs to the ton'.

    Thomson's landscapes are an important historical record of the regions he painted and the activities which took place during the period including agriculture and fossicking. They 'show an ability to capture the distinctive tones of the Australian landscape...There is an atmospheric, impressionistic look to Edward Thomson's panoramas, which are tantalisingly glimpsed through the trees that often frame his images. Rather than paint park-like Europeanised views, Thomson uncompromisingly shows the Australian bush as it really is: wild, untamed, drably coloured, but beautiful in its structure and in the way that it is touched by the luminous, clear light of the Australian sky'.3

    Francesca Cavazzini

    1. Stephanie Ownen Reeder, The Vision Splendid, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2011, p. 74
    2. Ibid
    3. Ibid, p. 75
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