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Australian art

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(circa 1865)


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

The overlanders


(circa 1865)

Media category


Materials used

pencil, watercolour, white gouache


33.5 x 58.5 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, brown watercolour "STG". Not dated.


Purchased 1946


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

S T Gill

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 67 (colour illus.).

Jane de Teliga, Australian images: Prints, drawings and watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1979, 5.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 182-197, Sydney, 1999, 186 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg., Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1991. 26; not paginated

Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 47 (colour illus.).

Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 13. watercolours 3; titled 'The overlanders'; note: by 'Thomas Gill'

Bernard William Smith, Australian Painting 1788-1960, South Melbourne, 1962, 36 (illus.).