Scottish born James Howe (JH) Carse arrived in Australia in the 1860s, during Victoria's gold rush. He quickly established himself as a painter of landscapes, and exhibited views of Victoria and New Zealand in 1869 at the Melbourne Public Library Exhibition. He travelled widely in the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales and became a foundation member of the Victorian Academy of Arts in 1870 and the New South Wales Academy of Art in 1872.
The Tilba Tilba district lies 360km south of Sydney, on the edge of Gulaga National Park and close to the spectacular Wallaga Lake. Mount Dromedary, recently renamed Gulaga Mountain, is the sacred mountain of the traditional landowners, the Yuin people, and became the site of extensive mining in the 1870s. The first resident selector, Henry Jefferson Bate, arrived in 1869, and acquired extensive holdings for his wife and nine children. One of the Bate's children, Matilda, wrote to an English cousin in 1872: 'At the foot of the hill at the back runs the creek which with the brush it runs through is the most beautiful object in Tilba … Nothing is talked of now but minerals' [HJ Gibbney and NC Hoyer, 'Taken at Tilba', National Library of Australia, 1983, pg. xi.]. It is likely Carse stayed with the Bate Family at their homestead 'Mountain View' during his visit to the region around 1874.
A striking example of JH Carse's landscape work from the period, 'Creek scene, Tilba Tilba' has the refinement of detail and subtlety of colouration for which his finest works are known. It reveals an intimate knowledge of the Australian landscape and a melancholy romanticism which was keenly felt.
Creek at Tilba Tilba, NSW
Scene at Tilba Tilba, N.S.W.
Creek scene "Tilba Tilba" "Tilba Tilba"
Scene at Tilba Tilba
oil on canvas
61.5 x 107.3 x 2.2 cm stretcher; 85.4 x 131.0 x 9.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., brown oil "J.H. Carse/ 1875".
Purchased with funds provided by the Australian Collection Benefactors' Program 2015
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition 1875, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 02 Sep 1875–16 Nov 1875
Metropolitan Intercolonial Exhibition, Exhibition Building, Surry Hills, 25 Apr 1876–08 May 1876
Messrs JH Carse anhd G Podmore's Art Union, Studio of JH Carse and George Podmore, Sydney, Jul 1876–Jul 1876
An exquisite collection of oil paintings and water colours representing a variety of charming views of various localities in the different Colonies from the brush of JH Carse, Bradley, Newton and Lamb, Sydney, 02 Apr 1878
First exhibition of the Art Society of New South Wales (1880), The Garden Palace, 06 Dec 1880–early Jan 1881
World's Columbian Exposition, 1893, Jackson Park, Chicago, 01 May 1893–30 Oct 1893
Referenced in 11 publications
Commissioners, Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition, Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition. 1875. Official catalogue of exhibits, Melbourne, 1875, 216. possibly 'Creek Scene, Tilba Tilba'; cat.no. 3089
Stephen Sheding', The dictionary of Australian artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, 'Carse, James Howe', pg. 137-138, Melbourne, 1992, 137.
The Art Gallery Society of New South Wales, The first exhibition of the Art Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 1880. possibly 'Tripstitch - Wallaga Lake, Scene at Wogonga, Scene at Tilba Tilba'; cat.no. 80; priced 30-0-0 guineas
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art Society of New South Wales', Sydney, 08 Dec 1880, 3. possibly 'Tripstitch - Wallaga Lake, Scene at Wogonga, Scene at Tilba Tilba'
Editor Unknown (Editor), Evening News, 'Art Union', pg. 2, Sydney, 03 Jul 1876, 2. possibly 'Creek scene "Tilba Tilba"'
Editor Unknown (Editor), Australian Town and Country Journal, 'Fine Arts', pg. 7, Sydney, 29 Apr 1876, 7. possibly 'Tilba Tilba'
Editor Unknown (Editor), Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 'Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition of 1875', pg. 583, Sydney, 06 Nov 1875, 583. possibly 'Creek Scene'
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition of 1875', pg. 7, Sydney, 03 Nov 1875, 7. possibly 'Creek Scene'
Editor Unknown (Editor), Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 'Exhibits', pg. 155-158, Melbourne, 06 Oct 1875, 158. reference to 'A Creek in New South Wales, and the Walaga Falls, in the same colony, by Mr. Carse'.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Evening News, 'At the Art Society of New South Wales', Sydney, 11 Dec 1880, 7. possibly 'Tripstitch - Wallaga Lake, Scene at Wogonga, Scene at Tilba Tilba'
World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893: Catalogue of the exhibits in the New South Wales Courts, 'Group CXL.-paintings in oil.', pg. 432-441, Sydney, 1893, 435. possibly 'Scene at Tilba Tilba, N.S.W.'; cat.no. 3; section 1179