One of the most celebrated artists of his generation, Tom Roberts was responsible for a number of memorable masterpieces of Australian art of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Among his best known works in the Gallery's collection are 'Holiday sketch at Coogee' 1888, 'An autumn morning, Milson's Point, Sydney' 1888, his portrait of Arthur Streeton – 'Smike Streeton at 24' 1891, 'The golden fleece' 1894, and 'Bailed up' 1895/1927. There is an etching of Buvelot by Roberts in the collection, showing Buvelot in a similar pose to this drawing. Buvelot, who was greatly admired by Roberts and his friends, influenced a younger generation of Australian landscape painters through the example of his work. A number of them, including Frederick McCubbin, John Ford Paterson and John Mather, accompanied Buvelot on his sketching tours of Victoria, when they drew and painted en plein air. Buvelot reminded Julian Ashton of 'Jean-Françios Millet as I saw him walking along with a large sketchbook under his arm' (Julian Ashton, 'Now came still evening on', Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1941, pg. 98), thereby evoking the Barbizon school of painters, with whose work Buvelot has often been linked.
Helen Lempriere (1907-91), who gave this drawing to the Gallery, was a painter and great grand-daughter of the colonial artist T J Lempriere (1796-1852) and Dora née Mitchell, sister of the internationally famous Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
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
pen and black ink on paper
28.1 x 22.2 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. [diagonal], pencil "Tom Roberts/ 86".
Gift of Miss Helen Lempriere 1960
Not on display
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Exhibition of paintings by Tom Roberts (1920), Athenaeum Gallery, Melbourne, 30 Mar 1920–17 Apr 1920
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1961–23 Apr 1961
Some Australian drawings 1880-1980, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 May 1981–18 Jun 1981
The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Aug 1990–28 Oct 1990
International Works on Paper Fair Sydney 1995, Mitchell Library, 14 Jul 1995–16 Jul 1995
Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1997–15 Mar 1998
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Bodyline, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 03 Feb 2001–08 Apr 2001
Referenced in 20 publications
Félix Ansermoz-Dubois, Violette Ansermoz-Dubois and Jocelyn Gray, Louis Buvelot, 1814-1888: Morges, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, la Chaux-de-Fonds, Melbourne, Lausanne, 1985?.
Athenaeum Gallery, Exhibition of paintings by Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1920. cat.no. 68
Okko Boer, Masters of the Heidelberg School, Leichhardt, 1998, 8 (illus.). illus.no. 5
Tim Bonyhady, Images in opposition: Australian landscape painting 1801–1890, Melbourne, 1985, 15 (illus.).
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 14 (illus.).
Jennifer Hardy, Bodyline: 100 years of Australian drawing - Education kit, Gymea, 2001, (illus.). not paginated
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 182-197, Sydney, 1999, 186 (colour illus.).
Rodney James, Louis Buvelot on the Mornington Pennsula, 'Louis Buvelot: Bush track, Dromana 1875', pg. 3-19, Mornington, 2010, opposite pg. 1 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990, (illus.). cat.no. 65
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Apr 2005, 25 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 10, 74, 75 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, 12, 25 (illus.). cat.no. 9
Hendrik Kolenberg, Swiss artists in Australia 1777-1991, 'Louis Buvelot: 1814-1888', pg. 37-52, Sydney, 1991, 2 (illus.), 37 (illus.).
John McDonald, Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, ‘The upward rush of youthful emotion’, pg. 315-356, Sydney, 2008, 349 (colour illus.).
Hal Missingham, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Acquisitions for 1960', pg. 58-67, Sydney, Apr 1961, 64 (illus.).
William Moore, The story of Australian art from the earliest known art of the continent to the art of today (Vol. 1), 'The camps around Melbourne', pg. 70-84, Sydney, 1934, opposite pg. 82 (illus.).
Andrew Sayers, 100 years of Australian drawing, Sydney, 1985, 41 (illus.). cat.no. 18
Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 466, 467 (illus.).
Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 96. cat.no. 77; plate no. 29
Fifth international art fair: works on paper, Sydney, 1995, (illus.). AGNSW Stand no. 20