Full Record

The Art Gallery What it contains Some of the new pictures Stauary ancient and archaic
Record no:
25 June 1908
Kept:Press clippings book 2, p. 60




(By “Observer.”)

The new Art Gallery to be opened by His Excellency the Governor this

evening holds sufficient of interest to justify the prediction that each
afternoon it will be thronged for many a day to come. For while it may be
that in the end—when the people shall have familiarised themselves with
its invaluable contents—it will attract chiefly art students and visitors,
and those who dearly love a good picture, still there are displayed within
the new building sufficient works of exceptional merit to warrant, and
even to demand, from all susceptible of refining influences a second or a
third visit.

In the Entrance Hall are a brobdingnagian statue of Mausolus and, probably by way of artistic contrast, several miniature casts. On the walls are a number of large photographs of local interest, etchings by world-known artists, and rare steel engravings. Having attained the landing at the head of the staircase, one finds many valuable works copied with striking fidelity from the Old Masters, including Raphael, Bellini, Frans Hals, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Murillo, and Titian. Here, too, is a coloured etching, and an oil, both illustrative of the French school, together with engravings of Raphael’s mural paintings at the Vatican.


Within the main gallery are some 70 original canvases, the greater number
of which, although under past conditions of no settled abiding place,
hidden away in obscure apartments and remote recesses seldom reached by
the general public, have for long been periodically visited and considered
by local art students, and others who knew where to find them in the
byways of the Museum building. But, among those for longer periods
possessed by the committee are some half a dozen so recently acquired that
they are now to be publicly exhibited for the first time in Australia.

The first of these to be encountered in a progress along the western wall
is a work by P. J. De Loutherbourg, R.A.  It is a study of wild banditti,
set in still wilder scenery. Almost bespattered by the spume from a
foaming mountain torrent which hurtles down from the rocky heights, three
men and a youth are conning over the spoils from some predatory raid,
while perfectly accustomed both to his masters and his surroundings, an
unkempt dog lies at their feet. Picturesquely attired in light armour, the
figures are cleverly grouped and excellently pourtrayed [sic]. The colour
scheme is in pleasing harmony, and the composition denotes in the artist
an agreeable faculty for bringing the majestic within the narrow compass
of a small canvas.

Next in order on the wall are two works by Wm. Etty, R.A.  The first of
these—presented by Sir Jas. D. Linton, R.I.—is a study in the nude. The
position of the figure is technical rather than graceful, and
notwithstanding the fame of the artist, the study as a whole is by no
means faultless. Just the same, many competent judges have declared to an
unbounded admiration for the texture and tinting of the flesh. More
imposing is the second canvas. Here the artist has conjured up the scone
from Milton’s “Comus”—“Circe with syrens three amidst the flowers [?]tled
Naiades”—and the result is [?] keeping with orthodox concep[?] [?] [?]e
canons of art. The [?] limbs, and, indeed, of [?]gures is at first glance
somewhat [curi]ous, but the [group]ing, the posturing and the
representation of the flesh go far to obscure this, and to account for the
enviable repute attained by Etty in the artistic world.

“On the Surrey Hills,” by B. W. Leader, R.A., depicts a delightful bit of
English landscape, enlivened by a rabbiter with a couple of dogs ferreting
about the bracken in the foreground. The composition is splendidly
balanced, some heavy trees in the forground [sic] affording a perfect
counterpoise to a magnificent perspective of rolling downs. Under a
typical English summer sky the scene is prettily lighted, and in this
respect the work affords a striking illustration of Leader’s power of
catching and reproducing atmospheric effects. It is a picture full of
painstaking detail, and is likely to become a favourite not only with
students but also with the general public.

“Metal More Attractive,” is an interior by J. Seymour Lucas. Carelessly
seated upon the edge of a table, a comely milkmaid gives undivided
attention to a scarlet-clad mousquetaire standing beside her, while
ensconced in a corner of the window seat a civilian furtively glances at
his brilliantly-arrayed rival. The picture is characterised by the quality
of its drawing and the felicity of its colour scheme. Moreover, in this
work the artist has attained the serenity of presenting a domestic scene
that needs no words to convey its meaning.

Sir James D. Linton, R.I., is represented among the new additions by a
canvas representing the arrival at Cunmor Hall of my Lord Leicester,
resplendent in full Court dress, decorated with his several orders.
Complacently he reposes, on a crimson settee, while with childish awe
unhappy Amy Robsart, herself richly attired, toys with the baubles that
denote his rank and quality. The unscrupulous Varney is taking from the
Earl his bonnet, while Janet and old Foster, her pitiless father, stand
silently by. The defect of an otherwise satisfying picture lies in the
feeble proportioning of the conspicuously placed limbs of the ambitious
Earl. As is typical of most of Sir James Linton’s works, the candelabra
and other embellishments of the richly-appointed apartment are strikingly
and truthfully depicted.

As well for the boldness of its treatment as for the marked departure it
presents from the orthodox gallery picture, a large canvas donated by Dr.
J. W. Hackett, M.L.C., approaches the unique. The work of Walter Donne, it
was exhibited as “Golden Dawn” in the Royal Academy in 1904. In the
following year it was shown in the Salon as “L’Aube,” and it was awarded a
gold medal. It is a view of cliff, sea, and nestling hamlet. The artist
has sat, perhaps three-parts of the way up an almost precipitous eminence
overlooking and well-nigh overhanging the town. In the immediate
foreground on the right of the picture is shown the top of a massive,
crennelated [sic] building, on which is a sundial borne by a kneeling
bronze figure. Around the foot of the flower-spangled wall winds a stone
stairway leading from the spot chosen by the artist down into the little
town. On a landing whence the steps take a new direction in their zigzag
descent a market woman, her baskets on the stone flags beside her, makes
her devout obeisance before a crucifix set in position on the stone
balustrading. On, beyond the sacred emblem, the stairs again come into
view as they empty into a narrow cobbled lane that, in turn, leads
directly into a dark archway below which a pale, flickering light still
burns. Among the early stirring figures in the narrow street are seen a
patient, panniered donkey and a man bearing the yoke and cans of a village
milkman. Far on below the compact, red-tiled town the blue waters of the
Mediterranean lave the deeply-indented rocky shore that on the right of
the canvas rises abruptly into formidable heights sparsely covered with
green verdure. Thus far the whole is one striking picture of a bold
coastline affording on a spreading plat immediately below the Sierra
resting-place for the comfortable little Italian town ; and in the
massive, battlemented structure giving evidence of disturbed times,
happily past. But with a cunning born of his art, the creator of the
canvas has chosen a time when the rising sun, peeping ever the beetling
crags behind him, strikes upon part only of the cliffs, and the sea
stretching away beyond the awakening hamlet, and leaves all the rest of
the picture in comparative gloom. Thus the canvas becomes two distinct
pictures, each calling for separate treatment. Travelling down the picture
amid the artistic indistinctness of the middle ground, the eye is suddenly
arrested by the minuteness of detail into which objects are again thrown
by the touch of the limpid gold of the sunshine. There is a complete
picture in grey morning light ; there is another picture, also complete,
of upland and lowland and reposeful sea, all bathed in the living, golden
glow of the first sun rays. Together they form the most striking canvas in
the gallery, and in drawing, modelling, perspective, and technique, but,
above all, in the inimitable representation of kindly sunlight, they
proclaim the master hand.

For the rest the pictures in this main gallery have all had places in the
Museum, where, in one apartment or another, they have been exhibited to
the public. At the northern end of the main gallery curtained arches give
entrance to the watercolour gallery. Here in addition to those specimens
with which frequenters of the Museum are already familiar is a numerous
collection of exercises worked by the studens [sic] of the art schools of
Great Britain in the national competition held last year under the
auspices of the Board of Education. These are all selected works sent out
by the Board, and most of them have gained either gold or silver medals.
They comprise specimens of chalk, pencil, crayon, pen and ink,
watercolour, oils, casts of models made in clay—in fact, each and every of
the 30 branches of drawing, designing, and modelling are represented in
this comprehensive collection.

Two bright additions to the watercolours are from the brush of His
Excellency Sir Fredk. Bedford. One is a representation of the Governor’s
residence at Rottnest Island, and the other of Serpentine Lake in the same
sunny locality. Each is characterised by excellent drawing and artistic
colouring, and both reveal in His Excellency no mean ability to faithfully
portray the rock-bound, sea-girt graces of Nature.

A further welcome addition to the watercolour gallery is a specimen of the
work of David Cox, one of the Old Masters. The subject is an ancient mill
in an appropriate setting of placid water and reposeful willows.
Impressionistic rather than exhaustive it may be accepted as a convincing
indication of the artist’s instinctive perception of the beautiful in
quiet streams and his no less sympathetic treatment of what he has seen.

Among the new pictures is one by J. Salmon entitled “Diana and her
Nymphs.” Turneresque in general appearance, it presents in delicate tints
a sunny coastline scene viewed from a pleasant eminence, on which are
grouped the figures giving the name to the canvas. Below the goddess and
her attendant maidens lies a sheltered estuary, while away on the right is
still another hill surmounted by a dedicatory temple. There is a wonderful
atmosphere in the picture, and the calm water of the estuary and the
florescence of the umbrageous grove are convincingly rendered.

A new piece of more than passing interest is a pastel by Cesare Formilli
donated by Mr. A. E. Morgans. Entitled “The Last Hour of Evening,” it is a
scene in the purple valley of the Lledr, Bettws-y-Coed, in Wales. The last
of the flaming chariots of the sup disappearing over the distant ridge
leaves the valley in a gloom, the intensity of which is accentuated by the
far-flung light in one’s eyes. Winding through the violet depths is the
brightly reflective stream, from the banks of which comes a hospitable
wreath of smoke betokening the secluded home of a shepherd. In its colour
scheme the canvas is unlike anything else in either gallery.

Arthur Wardle is represented among the newcomers by a small pastel
entitled “Destiny.” Yet it is large enough to make him remembered of all
fortunate enoug[h] [?] [?]t upon the picture. The subj[ect is] extremely
simple. There is [a] leopard and a bird on a bit of [?]ath at the edge of
a thicket. But the [t]reatment one regards with respectful awe, marvelling
that [th]ere should be combined in one man so intimate and sympathetic a
knowledge of the passions and physical characteristics of a beast of prey,
and the inspired skill to reproduce them in living, twitching form.
Probably few of us have seen a leopard with its helpless, harmless victim,
incapable of awaking in the animal a single touch either of apprehension
or of remorse. So convincing is Wardle’s picture that to see it is to feel
that there is nothing left to seek. There is the bird outspread beneath
the paws of the beautiful killer. What more would you have? The bird is
beyond suffering. Would you know the feelings of the beast? See the
magnificent extension of the perfectly-developed arms holding the prey at
full length from the lidded, gleaming eyes. With ears thrown back the head
is drawn down between the shoulders in an ecstasy of exultation. The
spring was sure, the victim is there, no further vigilance is requird
[sic] and there is nothing to debar a momentary indulgence in passive
gratification. The tail is still in sinuous movement, the crouched
haunches, ready for a second spring, are as yet unflexed ; but the excited
bristling of the fur on the shoulders is subsiding, and the sibilant snarl
merges into a gratified purring. As a study of animal life the picture
might be classed as superb, and the texture of the leopard’s coat and of
the damaged plumage of the stricken bird are in keeping with the artist’s
faultless treatment of the tragic incident in the solitary waste.


It has been well said that “Art”—meaning, in this instance,
sculpture—“should not be approached as something unusual or accidental,
something exclusively for the aristocratic few. It exercises a vast
influence in life, and its full effect in elevating and refining mankind
can only grow out of its filling a distinct place in education.” Now, for
the first time, the statuary ill the possession of the committee of the
Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery is so advantageously displayed
as to render it capable of exercising its true educational function.

The Sculpture Gallery on the ground floor of the new building contains
several hundred objects, mostly facsimiles of Classical Work, the greater part belonging to the Golden Age of Greece, when sculpture attained its highest perfection. The sculpture is arranged, as far as possible, in chronological order. After the ineffable calm of the Egyptian work and the brute strength of the Assyrian ideals is to be seen the serene power of Pheidias and his assistants in the Parthenaic sculpture, the grace of Praxiteles in the Olympian Hermes, the passion of Scopas in Amphitrite, the elegance of Lysippos in the Apoxyomenos, followed by the physical suffering and mental anguish figured in the schools of Rhodes and Pergamos, as shown in the Dying Gaul, till finally is reached the sensuous work of later times as seen in the Venus di Medici.

While the great majority of the pieces in the gallery have been previously
exhibited in spare corners of the Museum, many delightful specimens of
Grecian art have been recently purchased by the committee, and in point of
educational value the collection has materially benefited by the donation
by Dr. J. W. Hackett, M.L.C., of eight classic works, namely, “Hermes of
Olympia,”  “The Farnese Hermes,” “The Borghese Warrior,” “The Dying Gaul”
(or “The Dying Gladiator”), “Theseus,” “Apollo (?),” “The Sleeping Eros,”
and the “Centaur Nessus and Deianeira.” At this juncture a glance at
these, and at the recent purchases of the committee, is of interest.

“Hermes with the infant Dionysos” (Bacchus).—This is a cast of an original
work in marble by Praxiteles, in the Museum at Olympia. This marvellous
work was brought to light by the German excavators at Olympia in 1877, in
the Temple of Hera, and was immediately identified as the work of
Praxiteles, it being found in the very spot in which it was seen by
Pausanias, who describes it in his “Itinerary of Greece,” written A.D.
150. The main figure is in a wonderful state of preservation, and the
uninjured face gives extraordinary value to this unique work. The loss of
the lower part of the legs, and especially that of the right forearm, is a
great misfortune, as they are so important to a full understanding of the
artist’s meaning. Hermes probably held a sceptre in his right hand, though
some authorities suppose he held a bunch of grapes before the infant god.
He leans with his right arm upon the stump of a tree, which gives his form
an undulating flow. This is the only original work by Praxiteles which has
survived, and, in fact, it is the only important Greek statue of which it
can be said that it is the actual work of the artist to whom it is

“The Farnese Hermes” is cast from the marble from the Farnese Palace,
Rome. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is represented in the springtide
of youth and beauty, as he is described by Homer. He bears the winged
sandals and the staff entwined by two serpents. This is a Graeco-Roman
copy (considerably modified) of the Hermes of Praxiteles. The left leg,
left hand and right foot have been restored.

“The Borghese Warrior” is a cast of the marble statue by Agasius of
Ephesus, first century B.C. It was found at Capo d’Auzio (Antium) early in
the 17th century. It is commonly but incorrectly called the “Fighting
Gladiator.” The whole attitude implies an opponent on horseback or on
higher ground. The features are plebian and without expression beyond
eager watchfulnesss ; but the boldness and novelty of the design and the
marvellous skill displayed in the treatment of the muscles in their
extreme tension are a source of delight to the man of science as well as
to the artist. Some authorities consider that the original was a bronze
statue by Lysippos which Agasius copied in marble.

“The Dying Gaul” is a cast from the marble in the Capitoline, Rome. This
is frequently but erroneously called the “Dying Gladiator,” but the torque
encircling his neck, his shield and his trumpet, as well as his physical
type, are clew evidences of his Gallic nationality. It is evidently a copy
of an Hellenistic work to commemorate the victory of Attalus, King of
Pergamos (B.C. 240) over the Gauls, who had invaded Asia Minor.

“Theseus” is regarded as the noblest existing representation of the nude
male form. There has been a great deal of discussion with regard to this
figure, some authorities holding that it typifies the hero Theseus, while
other,, are of the opinion that it is an idealisation of Mt. Olympia, the
abode of the gods. Originally it occupied a prominent position on the
eastern pediment of the Parthenon.

“The Sleeping Eros” is a cast from the marble found at Tarsus. The subject
is a winged infant asleep with a knotted wreath in his right hand. His
head rests on an amphora, in the mouth of which a pipe has been fixed,
showing that it was used as a fountain.

“The Centaur and Deiantira” is a cast from the marble, formerly in the
Verospi Palace, Rome. The Centaur is carrying a female figure. He wears a
panther’s skin knotted round his neck ; she is clad in a long chiton. The
lines of the drapery indicate the rapid movement of the Centaur. The
frieze probably represents the Centaur Nessus carrying Deianira across the
river Evenus, Hercules having preceded them with his infant son Hyllus.
Nessus having offered Deianira some indignity, Hercules shot him with a
poisoned arrow just as he reached the shore. Deianira exhibits in her
attitude her alarm, and Nessus shows in his countenance the agony he is

“Apollo” (?) is a cast of Parian marble. Having the hair dressed in the
fashion known as Krobylos this statue must have been the work of an Attic
sculptor of the first half of the fifth century B.C. It is, however,
thought by some authorities to he a copy of the portrait of Euthymos of
Locri by Pythagoras of Region, for it has more of the character of the
athlete than of the Sun God.


Pieces Recently Purchased by the committee and now to be exhibited for the first time in Perth are “Artemis,” “Aphrodite of Ostia,” “Paniskos,” “Aristokles,” “Mausolos,” “Visit of Dionysos to the House of a Mortal,” “Herakles,” “Eros Stringing his Bow,” “Zeus,” “Torso of Aphrodite,” vases, friezes, cornices, sepulchral reliefs, and the like.

“Artemis,” better known as “Diana Robing,” is from the marble in the
Louvre, which is considered to be a copy of a work by Praxiteles. Artemis,
daughter of Zeus and Leto, a twin-sister of Apollo, is usually represented
armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows. Sudden deaths were attributed to
her invisible arrows.

“Aphrodite of Ostia” is a cast from the Parian marble, and is supposed to
be of the second century B.C. It was found by Hamilton in 1775 in the
ruins of some sea baths at Ostia.

“Paniskos,” or “Youthful Pan,” is cast from the Parian Marble. The Greek
inscription gives the name of the artist as Marcus Cossutius Cerdo, a
freeman of Marcus. It is of the first century A.D.

“Aristokles” is cast from the Pantelic marble. The Greek inscription reads
: “After many pleasant sports with my comrades I, who sprang from the
dust, am dust once more. I am Aristokles of the Piraeis, son of Menon,

“Mausolos,” a satrap of Caria, Asia Minor, B.C. 377 to 353, was
commemorated by the erection, by his wife and sister Artemesia, of the
Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. The building remained intact until A.D. 1402,
when the knights of St. John built the Castle of St. Peter, using the
Mausoleum as a stone quarry.

“Visit of Dionysos.” On the left of the relief a male figure reclines on a
couch. In the centre is Dionysos ivy-crowned, supported by a boy satyr,
while another boy stoops to draw off his sandal. Behind are Silenus and
other satyrs. In the background is a house of considerable interest on
account of the rarity of representations of Greek domestic architecture.
The wooden roof is covered with tiles. In the gable is a head of Medusa
supported by Tritons. This relief was in the Casa Maffei, Rome, and,
later, in the possession of Sixtus V.

“Herakles.”—This colossal head of Hercules is executed in bolder and
stronger style than that of the Farnese Hercules at Naples. The ears are
presented in the swollen and lacerated condition characteristic of
pugilists. It was found under the lava at the foot of Vesuvius.

“Eros Stringing his Bow.”—The original marble was found by Hamilton in
1776 at Castello di Guido on the road to Civita Vecchia, about eight miles
from Rome. The god’s left leg rests against his quiver, over which is
thrown the lion’s skin of Hercules.

“Torso of Aphrodite” is said to have been found at Antium in 1770 and sold
for £800 to the Duke of Richmond in 1790. In 1820 at a lumber sale a
Richmond House it only realised a guinea. In the following vow it was
bought by the British Museum.


The opening ceremony will be performed by His Excellency the Governor (Sir
Fredk. Bedford) this evening. In the Sculpture Gallery at half-past 8
o’clock the invited guests will he received by the President of the Museum
and Art Gallery committee (Dr. J. W. Hackett, M.L.C.) and Mrs. Hackett. At
9 o’clock His Excellency will arrive, and will be received by the Director
of the Museum and Art Gallery (Mr. Bernard Woodward), who will present to
him the President. His Excellency will then be conducted to a platform on
the first floor landing above the grand staircase, where the President
will request him to formally open the new gallery. In this the President
will be supported by the Premier (Mr. N. J. Moore, M.L.A.), and other
prominent citizens. In accordance with the ceremonial order His Excellency
will reply, after which he will he furnished with a golden key with which
to unlock the door. Imme- [end of clipping].
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