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Land auction, main road Ballarat - interval of ten minutes for harmony and refreshment



S T Gill

England, Australia

21 May 1818 - 27 Oct 1880


The son of a Baptist minister and schoolmaster, Samuel Thomas Gill was educated at his father's school in Devonshire, England, where his ability to draw was first noticed. He came to Australia with his parents in 1839 and soon after set himself up in a studio in Adelaide, advertising:

'He solicits the attendance of such individuals as are desirous of obtaining correct likenesses of themselves, families, or friends ... Correct resemblances of horses, dogs &c. with local scenery, &c. executed to order. Residences sketched and transfered to paper ...' ('South Australian Register' March 1840, see 'S T Gill, the South Australian years 1839-1852', Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1986, pg. 1).

Gill is best known for his drawings, watercolours and lithographs of early colonial life and landscapes in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. He took an interest in the exploits of explorers Edward John Eyre and Charles Sturt and accompanied John Horrocks on his ill-fated expedition north of the Flinders Ranges in 1846. His images of life on the Victorian goldfields are among his most memorable, resulting in several lithographic series between 1852 and 1855. There are also two series of Sydney lithographs, dated 1856. A keen sense of humour is a feature of his work and a capacity for revealing the essentials of a subject.

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


Other Title

Land auction, Main Road, Ballarat

Place where the work was made

Ballarat Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

pencil, grey wash on buff paper


26.8 x 37.8 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, pencil "S.T.G". Dated l.r. corner, pencil "... 1854/ ...".


Purchased 1985


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

S T Gill

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). 219

Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 46 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, 20 (illus.). 4

Hendrik Kolenberg, Everyday life: prints drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European art, Sydney, 1994. 32