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An image of A waterfall (Strath Creek) by William Delafield Cook

William Delafield Cook

(Australia 1936 – 2015)

A waterfall (Strath Creek)
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint on canvas

198.2 x 156.2 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. corner verso on canvas, black fibre-tipped pen "W DELAFIELD COOK/ 1980-1". Signed top c. to c. verso on stretcher bar, sideways, red fibre-tipped pen "W DELAFIELD COOK". Signed top c. verso on stretcher, red fibre-tipped pen "W DELAFIELD COOK".
Purchased 1981
Accession number
© Wiliam Delafield Cook
Not on display
Further information

I found the spot where he had sat to do his drawing … The waterfall was almost exactly as it was in von Guérard’s picture. He was at Strath Creek on 14 January 1862; I was there 23 January 1980.

William Delafield Cook, 1998

William Delafield Cook’s excitement is palpable at the recollection above, of his visit to the site of the waterfall painted by Eugene von Guérard (Waterfall, Strath Creek 1862, in the Gallery's collection) more than a century earlier. He greatly admired the 19th century artist’s painting for its topographical accuracy and evocation of a metaphysical dimension. It accorded with his own long-held aim to transcend the familiar through a hyper-realist approach that melded photography with painting.

A meticulously crafted work of extraordinary beauty, Delafield Cook’s painting was worked up in the studio from photographs taken on the spot, with direct reference to Von Guérard’s earlier composition. It bears a ‘charged’ intensity characteristic of Delafield Cook’s approach. Homage to both von Guérard and to the unique atmosphere of this landscape feature, with its miracle of water amidst the dun colour of dry hillsides in the heat and stillness of summer, it was awarded the Wynne Prize for 1980.

This work was acquired by the Gallery in 1981.

Bibliography (16)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes for 1980, Sydney, 1980, 2.

Nancy Borlase, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Portraits in search of a prize', pg. 2, Sydney, 28 Feb 1981.

Helen Campbell, Look, 'Waterfall: an inspiration to travellers and artists', pg. 19, Newtown, Jun 2006, 19.

Helen Campbell, Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997.

Edmund Capon (Director), Barry Pearce (Curator) and Dinah Dysart (Curator), The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition, Sydney, 1986, 31 (illus.).

Vic Carroll (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Trustees withold Archibald Prize', Sydney, 28 Feb 1981.

Simon Gregg, William Delafield Cook: a survey, Sale, 2011, 6, 7 (colour illus.), 49. 5

Deborah Hart, William Delafield Cook, Sydney, 1998, 171-172, 173 (colour illus.).

Brian Hoad, Bulletin, 'Shock and distress at the gallery', pg. 77-78, Sydney, 10 Mar 1981, 78 (illus.).

Kate Legge and Jill Sykes, Age, 'Archibald trustees left in a quandary', pg. 1 & 3., Melbourne, 28 Feb 1981.

Sandra McGrath, The Weekend Australian, 'Archie: not so bald as tonsured', Surry Hills, 28 Feb 1981-01 Mar 1981.

Linda van Nunen, Studio collections, 'William Delafield Cook', pg. 148-151, Double Bay, Dec 1987-Jan 1988, 150 (colour illus.), 151.

Barry Pearce, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Australian Art', pg. 5-26, Sydney, 1981, 10. 10

Andrew Sayers, Australian art, 'Saying and seeing: contemporary art 1968-99', pg. 196-221, Oxford, 2001, 212 (illus.). plate no. 124

Viki Wright., The Weekend Australian, 'We just want the artifacts, ma'am'', Surry Hills, 01 Aug 1981-02 Aug 1981.

Author Unknown, Australian landscape series, 'William Delafield Cook, A Waterfall (Strath Creek)', Sydney, 1987, (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (5)

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 1980, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Feb 1981–22 Mar 1981

Three years on: acquisitions 1978-81, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1981–01 Dec 1981

The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition (1987):

Australian Collection Focus: Waterfall, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 May 2006–16 Jul 2006

William Delafield Cook: a survey: