"An effect is only momentary ... two half hours are never alike ... So, in these works, it has been the object of the artists to render faithfully, and thus obtain first records of effects widely differing, and often of very fleeting character."
- The 9 by 5 Exhibition of Impressions catalogue 1889
'The national game' and Tom Roberts' 'Evening train to Hawthorn' are two of the 182 'Impressions' that were exhibited in the influential '9 by 5 Exhibition of Impressions' held at Buxton's Gallery in Swanston Street, Melbourne, in August 1889. All works in the exhibition were similar in size. They were painted on small panels, mostly cigar box lids roughly nine by five inches, and similarly framed, in wide, flat, wooden frames with highlights of metallic colour.
The 9 by 5 exhibition was intended to provoke a response because such paintings would normally have been considered preliminary sketches for larger works and consequently unsuitable for public exhibition. The exhibition proved to be central to the development and subsequent reputation of the Heidelberg School and was a turning point in the history of Australian landscape painting.
Spencer Street Station
Evening, Princes Bridge
The last train to Hawthorn
oil on cedar panel
14.0 x 22.6 cm board; 34.6 x 50.2 x 4.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Edward Stinson Bequest Fund 1991
Where the work was made
Shown in 9 exhibitions
The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, Buxton's, Melbourne, 17 Aug 1889 -
Tom Roberts - Retrospective Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 1947–Jan 1948
Fine Australian paintings and certain European paintings including the property of the late Sylvia Bertha Purves (niece of Tom Roberts) (1976), William S. Ellenden Pty Ltd, Sydney, 10 May 1976–12 May 1976
Australian paintings: colonial/impressionist/ early modern, Deutscher Fine Art (Melbourne), Malvern, 30 Oct 1984–16 Nov 1984
Golden Summers - Heidelberg and beyond:
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 30 Oct 1985–27 Jan 1986
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 21 Feb 1986–20 Apr 1986
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 09 May 1986–29 Jun 1986
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 30 Jul 1986–14 Sep 1986
Tom Roberts (1996-1997):
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 05 Oct 1996–17 Nov 1996
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 30 Nov 1996–27 Jan 1997
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 12 Feb 1997–06 Apr 1997
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 19 Apr 1997–01 Jun 1997
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 11 Jun 1997–27 Jul 1997
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Australian Impressionism, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 31 Mar 2007–08 Jul 2007
Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 21 Sep 2013–08 Dec 2013
Referenced in 11 publications
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 121 (colour illus.).
Mary Eagle, Tom Roberts, 'A Painter Making Himself', pg. 38, Adelaide, 1996, 56, 201 (illus.).
Anne Gray, Australia, 'Art nation: Australian landscape 1880-1920', pg. 146-183, London, 2013, 166 (colour illus.). cat.no. 105
Terence Lane, Australian Impressionism, 'The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition - The Challenge of the Sketch', pg. 157-163, Melbourne, 2007, 337, 171 (colour illus.). cat.no. 9.27
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Tom Roberts exhibition, National Art Gallery of NSW: souvenir catalogue, Sydney, 1947, 16. titled 'Evening, Princes Bridge'; cat.no. 50
Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 108. cat.no. 127
Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). plate no. 57
Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 56 (colour illus.), 302.
William S. Ellenden Pty Ltd, Catalogue of fine Australian paintings and certain European paintings including the property of the late Sylvia Bertha Purves (niece of Tom Roberts), Sydney, 1976, 12 (colour illus.). titled 'Spencer Street Station'; lot no. 118
Editor Unknown (Editor), Deutscher Fine Art: Australian paintings: colonial/impressionist/early modern, Carlton, Oct 1984. cat.no. 38; not paginated
Author Unknown, 9 x 5: Exhibition of Impressions, Melbourne, 1889, 6. cat.no. 77; priced 1 guinea