Skip to content


An image of Rat's castle, Hobart by Blamire Young

Blamire Young

(Australia 1862 – 1935)

Rat's castle, Hobart
Other titles:
Rat's Castle, Hobart
circa 1919
Media category
Materials used

46.7 x 59.2 cm sight; 67.0 x 78.0 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1923
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

'Rat's castle' is one of the best-known watercolours in the Gallery's collection. The building stood on the corner of Elizabeth and Brisbane Streets, Hobart between 1820 and 1880 before it was demolished, well before Blamire Young's first visit to Tasmania in 1911-12, so it's probable inspiration was a photograph. It had served variously as a police office, place of worship and a school for young ladies, before eventually becoming a refuge for derelicts, when it earned the moniker 'Rat's castle'. The building's colourful history obviously appealed to Young's romantic imagination, and the watercolour is a portrait of a building as individual as any human portrait.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000

Bibliography (15)

Jean Campbell, Australian watercolour painters: 1780 to the present day, 'The twentieth century to 1914', pg. 92-109, Roseville, 1989, 95 (colour illus.).

Elly Fink, The art of Blamire Young, Sydney, 1983, 49 (colour illus.). plate no. 28

Gavin Fry, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'J.J. Hilder / Blamire Young / Norman Lindsay', pg. 72-87, Sydney, 2002, 75, 79 (colour illus.), 146, 147.

Colin Holden (Curator), In search of the picturesque– the achitectural ruin in art, Geelong, 2012, n.pag.. 71

Hendrik Kolenberg., Look, 'The art of Australian watercolour', Heidelberg, Apr 1989, 20 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1989, cover (colour illus.). 83

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, 'Introduction: Painting in watercolour', pg. 8-16, Sydney, 1995, 12, 37 (colour illus.), 117. 25

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 362 [Gallery No. 4]

Lionel Lindsay., Art in Australia [series 3, no. 70], 'Exhibition of 150 years of Australian Art', Sydney, Mar 1938, 45 (illus.).

Elwyn Lynn, The Australian landscape and its artists, Rushcutters Bay, 1977, 55 (colour illus.).

Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 28, 29 (colour illus.).

William Moore, The story of Australian art from the earliest known art of the continent to the art of today (Vol. 1), 'Galleries', pg. 179-214, Sydney, 1934, illus..

Ursula Prunster and Edmund Capon, J.J. Hilder and contemporaries, Sydney, 1981, illus.. 39

Trustees of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australian watercolours from the National Art Gallery collection 1836 to 1946, Sydney, 1946, 10. 25

Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 33, (illus.). 40

Exhibition history (14)

Watercolours by Blamire Young, Fine Art Society PLC, London, Oct 1920 -

Exhibition of watercolour drawings, Joshua Yeldham, Bayview, 18 Jun 1923–30 Jun 1923

150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938

Art of Australia 1788-1941:

Australian watercolours from the National Art Gallery collection 1836-1946, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 May 1946–Jun 1946

An historical survey of Australian watercolour painting:

Australian Watercolour Institute 50th Annual Exhibition (1973), Farmer's Blaxland Gallery, Sydney, 14 Sep 1973–28 Sep 1973

The Australian Landscape 1802-1975:

J.J. Hilder and Contemporaries:

The art of Blamire Young:

Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Apr 1989–25 Jun 1989

Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s:

Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003

In search of the picturesque - the architectural ruin in art, Geelong Art Gallery, 21 Apr 2011–24 Jun 2011