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An image of Evening train to Hawthorn by Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts

(England, Australia 08 Mar 1856 – 14 Sep 1931)

Evening train to Hawthorn
Other titles:
Spencer Street Station
Evening, Princes Bridge
The last train to Hawthorn
Place of origin
(circa 1889)
Media category
Materials used
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
Accession number
19th c Australian art
Further information

"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.

Bibliography (11)

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.). 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.). 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'; 50

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). plate no. 57

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 108. 127

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. 38; not paginated

Author Unknown, 9 x 5: Exhibition of Impressions, Melbourne, 1889, 6. 77; priced 1 guinea

Exhibition history (9)

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:

Tom Roberts (1996-1997):

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