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Collection

An image of A billabong of the Goulburn, Victoria by Henry James Johnstone

Henry James Johnstone

(England, Australia 1835 – 1907)

Title
A billabong of the Goulburn, Victoria
Year
1884
Media category
Painting
Materials used
oil on canvas
Dimensions

127.0 x 183.0 cm

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., oil "H. J. Johnstone 1884".
Credit
Purchased 1885
Accession number
5771
Location
19th c Australian art
Further information

The discovery of gold drew HJ Johnstone to Melbourne in 1853, but after prospecting unsuccessfully he established Melbourne’s leading photographic studio in 1864. Having studied art as a young man in England, in 1867 Johnstone joined Louis Buvelot’s painting school, and in 1871 was one of the first members of the newly formed Victorian Academy of the Arts.

After his return to London in 1880, Johnstone produced a number of Australian landscapes from his black-and-white photographs, including 'A billabong of the Goulburn, Victoria'. This painting’s tranquil and timeless landscape evokes a sense of nostalgia and melancholy. The unearthly stillness of the scene reflects the camera’s ability to freeze time, and the artist’s precision and attention to detail.

Bibliography (11)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 74 (colour illus.).

Anne Gray, Sydney Long: the spirit of the land, 'The mysterious Mr Long', pg. 15-41, Canberra, 2012, 16 (colour illus.).

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1884, Sydney, 1884. cat.no. 99, Oil Paintings, titled 'A Billabong of the Goulburn - Victoria'

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1891, Sydney, 1891, 7 (illus.). cat.no. 13, Oil Paintings

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1888, Sydney, 1888, 19 (illus.). cat.no. 28, Oil Paintings

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1886, Sydney, 1886. cat.no. 26, Oil Paintings

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1899, Sydney, 1899. cat.no. 271, Oil Paintings-Australian, titled 'A Billabong on the Goulburn River, Victoria'

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1893, Sydney, 1893. cat.no. 13, Oil Paintings

Diedrith Newkomer., Illustrated Sydney news, 'Sydney Art Gallery', Sydney, 20 May 1887, page unknown.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 16.

Bernard William Smith, A catalogue of Australian oil paintings in the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1875-1952, Sydney, 1953, 101.