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P3356 Aquatint, 'Panorama Du Port Jackson Et De Ville De Sydney Pris D'une Colline Pres La Riviere De Paramatta' [Panorama of Port Jackson and of the town of Sydney taken from a hill near the Parramatta River], paper / ink, painted by Major James Taylor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1820, eng. Click to enlarge.

Aquatint of Port Jackson and Sydney

Made
In 1820 Major James Taylor created a series of watercolours on paper which, when joined together, formed a panorama of Sydney. When he returned to England in 1822 Taylor arranged for the engraving and printing of a three sheet panorama based on his watercolours. He engaged the foremost London engravers and print publishers, Tobert Havell and Colnaghi's. (The copperplates for these three engravings are in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales.) The panorama was published in London in 1823 as a set of hand-coloured prints. It must have been popular because it was copied and reduced in size in a French edition produced around 1824. It is this French version, an exquisitely hand-coloured aquatint, which is in the museum's collection.

Known as 'Major Taylor's Panorama', this is one of the most informative depictions of Sydney in its early years. Taylor, a topographical draughtsman attached to the 48th Regiment, arrived in 1817 when Sydney was thriving and Governor Macquarie was trying to turn an 'infantile' penal colony into a 'civilised' society. Taylor's pictures were intended to be a record of that change. The view, taken from Observatory Hill, encompasses Sydney Harbour from the Heads to Lavender Bay, showing many of the major buildings of the day.

Convicts can be seen cutting the sandstone which provided building material for Sydney's expansion. The many fences indicate gardens and a respect for private property. The harbour is filled with trade and military ships. Government House and its stables can be seen set in Governor Macquarie's private park called the Demesne. Much of this park still survives as the Botanic Gardens and the Domain. This area contrasts markedly with the small cottages in the middle ground which were typical of many in The Rocks. They were often occupied by convicts and their families who were encouraged to develop 'respectable' habits like gardening in their spare time.

A prominent building is the Military Hospital, built in 1815, where patients can be seen dressed in long coats. On the horizon are the impressive buildings of Macquarie St, including St James Church, the Hyde Park Barracks and the General Hospital. To the right of the Military Windmill is Cockle Bay, later called Darling Harbour. The land beyond is the Ultimo estate owned by the surgeon John Harris. To the far right are the windmills that gave rise to the name Millers Point.

Topographical artists often included indigenous people in their work. These images were intended to educate European viewers about the appearance and customs of the 'natives', but such depictions were informed by symbolism and ideology rather than a representation of reality. In Taylor's panorama Aborigines stand amid uncultivated bush, in contrast to Europeans who are clearing and grazing the land. When the British took possession of New South Wales they argued that, as the Aborigines did not 'work' the land, they did not own it. This supported the notion of 'terra nullius' or nobody's land. Taylor's representation is a graphic rendering of that argument.

Summary

Object No.

P3356

Object Statement

Aquatint, 'Panorama Du Port Jackson Et De Ville De Sydney Pris D'une Colline Pres La Riviere De Paramatta' [Panorama of Port Jackson and of the town of Sydney taken from a hill near the Parramatta River], paper / ink, painted by Major James Taylor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1820, engraved by Rittner et Goulpil, Sydney / Paris, [1824]

Physical Description

Aquatint, 'Panorama Du Port Jackson Et De Ville De Sydney Pris D'une Colline Pres La Riviere De Paramatta' [Panorama of Port Jackson and of the town of Sydney taken from a hill near the Parramatta River], paper / ink, painted by Major James Taylor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1820, engraved by Rittner et Goulpil, Sydney / Paris, [1824]

The hand-coloured aquatint was published in Paris after a watercolour painted by Major James Taylor. The aquatint displays a panoramic view of Sydney taken from Observatory Hill. The view encompasses Sydney Harbour from the Heads to Lavender Bay and illustrates many of Sydney's major buildings of the day. The aquatint also depicts boats sailing on Parramatta River, European settlers working in the towns and indigenous people on the hillsides. The aquatint is framed within a stained and varnished wooden frame.

Dimensions

Height

390 mm

Width

1160 mm

Production

Notes

The engraving is based on watercolours by Major James Taylor (c. 1785-1829). Taylor was a topographical draughtsman attached to the 48th Regiment. He arrived in Sydney on the convict transport Matilda on 9 August 1817. He accompanied the Macquaries on their tour of Tasmania in May and June 1821 and some of the Tasmanian views in Joseph Lycett's Views are probably based on Taylor's drawings. Taylor received some training in draughtsmanship as part of his military studies and like other military and naval officers, was interested in his surroundings and recorded them in watercolours. Little of Taylor's work survives, notably the originals of this view of Sydney Harbour. On his return from Sydney, Major James Taylor organised the engraving of his watercolours to form a three sheet panorama by London's foremost engravers and print publishers, Robert Havell and Colnaghi's. In 1823 Colnaghi issued a prospectus announcing its publication which followed in August that year. The panorama was also exhibited at Barker & Burford's Panorama Building in Leicester Square, London. The panorama must have met with some success since it was republished in a revised, and smaller, version by French publishers, Rittner et Goulpil, in about 1824. In 1822, Taylor was granted two years sick leave and left for England with his son on 15 February 1822 as members of the vice-regal party. He rejoined his regiment in 1825, sailing to India where he later died.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Associated Midland Group Limited, 1983

Acquisition Date

29 November 1983

Cite this Object

Harvard

Aquatint of Port Jackson and Sydney 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 January 2021, <https://ma.as/326892>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/326892 |title=Aquatint of Port Jackson and Sydney |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=16 January 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}