Full Record

The Western Australian Art Gallery Munificent donations
Record no:
Kept:Press clippings book 1, p. 84


This State possesses a small but notable art collection, owing to the
policy followed by the trustees, and it is hoped that the Government will,
without delay, provide a gallery worthy of the paintings. It is nearly two

years since H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, then Duke of Cornwall and York,
laid the foundation-stone, and three years since Parliament voted money
for the building, of which the plans were approved by the trustees and the
director. Since 1896 the plan adopted, on the recommendation of the
director, has been to request distinguished English painters and
connoisseurs to select works, and, accordingly, 1897, “A Summer Morning,”
by H. H. La Thangue, “The End of a Long Day,” by George Clausen, A.R.A.,
and five other paintings were acquired upon the advice of the last-named
painter. In 1898 “The Great Southern Ocean,” by J. Ford Paterson, the most
distinguished of the Australian school, was purchased on the advice of the
director. In 1899 and 1900 “The Tambour Frame,” by S. Melton Fisher, and
“Bunny,” by Ralph Peacock, and the “Green Punt,” by Alfred Parsons, were
chosen by Sir Edward Poynter, P.R.A. In 1901 and 1902 Messrs. Wallis and
Son recommended the purchase of paintings by Karl Heffner Scherrewitz, and
Tos. Creswick, R.A., and a masterpiece, entitled “A View in Kent,” by John
Linnell, and, lastly, a magnificent painting of “The High Altar, Milan
Cathedral,” dated 1838, by David Roberts, R.A.

This year the director advised the acceptance of a kind offer made to him
by Sir James D. Linton, for many years the president of the Royal
Institute of Painters, to assist in the selection of paintings. This was
gladly accepted, for Sir James is one of the men—and in the whole world
they do not number a score—whose word is accepted as final on the merits
of any paintings, ancient or modern.

Mr. Woodward, a couple of days ago, received seven paintings, and will get
the eighth next week, which will complete the number Sir James Linton has
been able to obtain for the amount placed at his disposal. They are all
works of such merit and high educational value as would entitle them to a
place in any national gallery in the world, and they will be invaluable to
the students of our Technical School. They have been already viewed by the
Inspector-General of Schools (Mr. Andrews), the headmaster of the Art
Schools (Mr. J. W. R. Linton) and the principal of the High School for
Girls (Miss Best), who were all extremely pleased.

The largest canvas—not that size is any criterion of the merit or value of
a work of art—is a full-sized “Portrait of a Lady”—Elizabeth Cabeljau,
vrouw (wife) of Jan Van der Hoeven—which is signed “1 W.B., Ae 1670.” It
presents the portrait of a lady belonging to one of the most distinguished
Dutch families of the seventeenth century. As a painting it is in the
manner of Van der Helst, and quite as fine as a work of art, beautifully
modelled and drawn, showing great breadth of treatment without loss of
detail, and the colour is in the silvery key of which many of the Dutch
school were so fond. From an educational point of view it is everything
that a student could desire.

“The Nativity,” by Carlo Maratti (1625-1713), who was for nearly half a
century the most eminent painter in Rome, is evidently a study for a
larger picture. The brush work is extremely vigorous and dexterous, and
the whole is spontaneous in its execution and beautiful in colour. The
National Gallery of Great Britain only possesses one example of Miratti’s

“At the Death,” a small hunting subject by … [missing original text] …
about 1806, is charming for its simplicity and purity of colour.

“A Landscape with Figures,” by F. J. F. Van Bloemen (called Orizonti), who
was born at Antwerp in 1662, but went to Italy when very young, and
remained there until his death at Rome, in 1740. The landscape has the
conventional treatment of the old school ; it is warm in colour, solidly
and well painted, without any of the trickiness of some modern schools.

“The Coming Storm,” by Thomas Barker (called Barker of Bath), 1769-1847,
is a distinctive work of the old school, somewhat conventional, low in
tone, but rich in colour.

“Ruins at Tivoli,” by Richard Wilson, R.A., 1714-1782, who was the first
English landscape painter of note, one of the teachers of Turner, and one
of the original members of the Royal Academy (founded in 1768). He was
much neglected by his contemporaries, and suffered severely from poverty.
Peter Pindar prophesied that a century would bring him to fame, in the
following words :—

“Till then old red-nosed Wilson’s art
Will hold its empire o’er my heart,
By Britain left in poverty to pine.
But honest Wilson, never mind ;
Immortal praises thou shalt find,
And for a dinner have no cause to fear.
Thou start’st at my prophetic rhymes ;
Don’t be impatient for those times ;
Wait till thou hast been dead a hundred years.”

This painting, executed for Mr. Charles Price, M.P. for Radnorshire,
depicts the ruins of Maecena’s Villa at Tivoli, near Rome. It is a typical
work. The colour is really beautiful, with its pearly sky and warm
foreground, the composition of which is perfect. It is a picture which any
gallery should be proud to possess.

“The Armenian,” a full-length figure of a man, by W. Muller, 1812-1845,
vigorously drawn and painted. It was formerly in the possession of W. E.

The remaining purchase is the “Head of J. Ogier,” by Thomas Gainsborough,
R.A., 1727-1788. The public have to thank Sir James Linton for having
secured an example of this great painter’s work, and also to thank Messrs.
Colnagie and Co. for parting with it for a price within the limited means
of the trustees. It is worthy of remark that painters are always, and
dealers usually, willing to abate their prices very considerably for the
benefit of national collections. Gainsborough was one of the most
distinguished painters England has ever produced. He was the rival of
Reynolds in portraiture, and of Wilson in landscape. It is believed that
when this work arrives in the R.M.S. Rome, it will be the first
Gainsborough to arrive in Australia.

It is now a pleasant task to refer to one of the most gratifying events in
the history of the National Gallery of this State, namely, the generous
gift that has been made by Mr. James Orrock of two paintings. Mr. Orrock's
gift is, indeed, more than generous ; it is munificent, the united value
of the two pictures being over a thousand guineas. Mr. Orrock appears to
have been moved to this generous act out of regard for his friend and
former pupil Mr. James W. R. Linton, now the head of our Art Schools. The
hope has been expressed that some of those who have made fortunes on the
West Australian goldfields may eventually be induced to follow such a good
example. The only previous donations of high intrinsic and art value was
that of the Right Rev. Bishop Gibney, who presented the engravings after

One of paintings is a water-colour, entitled “In Lincolnshire—Showery
Weather,” painted by James Orrock himself, in 1888. Students will note the
great purity of its colour, the transparency of its shadows, the entire
absence of black, the feeling of movement in wind and rain.

The other “The abdication of Mary Queen of Scots,” by Sir James D. Linton,
P.R.I., painted in 1889, and purchased by Mr. Orrock at that time, is an
historical painting in both senses of the term, owing to its merit and its
subject. Like the previous painting, it shows the strength of water
colours. There are seven figures, of which the armour and dress, as,
indeed, do all accessories, show thorough knowledge of the details of the
time and period. The figure and pose of the unfortunate Queen are
marvellous in their drawing and colouring. Some of the other figures, at
first glance, appear rather broad and short, but that is due to the effect
of the armour. The colouring is pure water-colour, remarkably strong and
effective, proving that there is no need to use any meretricious body
colour, as is done by less skilled men, whose work will naturally
disappear with time, while honest painting like Sir James Linton’s will
prove permanent.

Those interested in the Art Gallery will be glad to hear that this
valuable donation has already had the effect of inducing the Minister fro
Education to promise he will bring forward the question of building the
long-promised Art Gallery. It is claimed that in this the Minister ought
to receive the support of the Labour members of Parliament, as it is the
workers who throng the Museum, especially on Sunday afternoons, when the
capacity of the present overcrowded rooms is tested to the utmost. The
safety of the contents is endangered when the number of the visitors
exceeds 450 at one time, and it often approaches 700.

Before leaving the Gallery, the attention of our representative was called
to two proof etchings by Joseph Pennell, entitled the “Devil of Notre
Dame” and “The Most Picturesque Place in the World,” an original design by
Walter Crane, two etchings by Bauer, and a most wonderful “black and
white” drawing of London by W. Minehead Bone.

Amongst the photographic collections in the Gallery are a number of views
of the recently-discovered Yanchep caves, which are well worthy [of]
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