This watercolour is credited as the first Australian work of art to enter the Gallery's collection. It was commissioned in 1874 by the trustees of the NSW Academy of Art at a cost of £50, and in March 1875 was awarded a gold medal for watercolour at the NSW Academy of Art exhibition. It is slightly larger than an earlier commission (made in 1873) for another Apsley Falls watercolour by the trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Both watercolours were made from drawings Martens produced in 1852, on a trip to northern NSW and Queensland. Martens referred to the watercolour in his Account Book (State Library of NSW) and again on 28 October 1874: 'On the Apsely River. Size 31 x 22 fort he Academy'. The Apsely Falls are on the Oxley River near Waterloo, between Walcha and Port Macquarie.
excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005
Apsley Falls, New South Wales
View on the Apsley Ranges, New England
The Apsley Falls
watercolour, opaque white, gum on paper
54.2 x 76.9 cm sight; 70.2 x 92.5 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown watercolour "C Martens/ 1874".
Commissioned by the Trustees and purchased 1874
Not on display
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Fourth annual exhibition of works of colonial art, NSW Academy of Art, Mar 1875 -
Loan exhibition of watercolour paintings by English artists, NSW Academy of Art, Aug 1875 -
(Sydney Picture Gallery), Sydney Picture Gallery, Sydney, Jan 1878 -
Loan collection of pictures from the National Gallery of New South Wales (1937):
Australian art in the 1870s:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 25 Jun 1976–02 Aug 1976
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 28 Oct 1976–21 Nov 1976
Two centuries of Australian painting, a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Orange Regional Gallery, Australia, 19 Apr 1986–15 Jun 1986
Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection (1991), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Apr 1991–07 Jul 1991
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005
Australian Collection Focus: Waterfall, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 May 2006–16 Jul 2006
Referenced in 17 publications
Helen Campbell, Look, 'Waterfall: an inspiration to travellers and artists', pg. 19, Sydney, Jun 2006, 19.
Susanna de Vries, Conrad Martens: on the Beagle and in Australia, Brisbane, 1993, 184 (colour illus.). plate no. 17 of limited edition
Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 19 (illus.). cat.no. 5
Shar Jones, Early painters of Australia, 1788-1880, Sydney, 1988, 176 (colour illus.). plate no. 134
Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 6, 7 (colour illus., detail), 34, 35 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1991. cat.no. 51
Hendrik Kolenberg., Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1989. This work was not in the exhibition.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Apr 2005, 24.
Henrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, 'Introduction: Painting in watercolour', pg. 8-16, Sydney, 1995, 13.
Hal Missingham (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Oct 1963, 165 (illus.).
NSW Academy of Art, Fourth Annual Report of the New South Wales Academy of Art 1874-75, Sydney, 1875, not paginated. listed in Appendix under 'Water-Colours', Society's Gold Medal, No. 87. - Conrad Martens, artist, NSW.
NSW Academy of Art, Fourth Annual Exhibition of Works of Colonial Art 1875, Sydney, 1875, 8. cat.no. 87; titled 'View on the Apsley Ranges, New England', painted by Conrad Martens, 'Painted for Trustees of proposed "Gallery of Art", Sydney'.
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 13.
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 10-16, Sydney, 2000, 12, 18, 27 (colour illus.), 301.
Barry Pearce., Hemisphere, 'Conrad Martens, the traveller who stayed', Sydney, May 1982-Jun 1982, 4 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas, Australian art in the 1870s, 'Introduction', pg.4-6, Sydney, 1976, 21. cat.no. 63; titled 'View on the Apsley Ranges, New England'
Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia, 'Australian collection', pg. 52-62, Sydney, Jul 1972, 53, 54 (colour illus.).