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Australian art

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Evening train to Hawthorn

(circa 1889)


Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


"An effect is only momentary ... two half hours are never alike ... So, in these works, it has been the object of the artists to render faithfully, and thus obtain first records of effects widely differing, and often of very fleeting character."
- The 9 by 5 Exhibition of Impressions catalogue 1889

'The national game' and Tom Roberts' 'Evening train to Hawthorn' are two of the 182 'Impressions' that were exhibited in the influential '9 by 5 Exhibition of Impressions' held at Buxton's Gallery in Swanston Street, Melbourne, in August 1889. All works in the exhibition were similar in size. They were painted on small panels, mostly cigar box lids roughly nine by five inches, and similarly framed, in wide, flat, wooden frames with highlights of metallic colour.

The 9 by 5 exhibition was intended to provoke a response because such paintings would normally have been considered preliminary sketches for larger works and consequently unsuitable for public exhibition. The exhibition proved to be central to the development and subsequent reputation of the Heidelberg School and was a turning point in the history of Australian landscape painting.


Other Titles

Spencer Street Station

Evening, Princes Bridge

The last train to Hawthorn

Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia


(circa 1889)

Media category


Materials used

oil on cedar panel


14.0 x 22.6 cm board; 34.6 x 50.2 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Edward Stinson Bequest Fund 1991

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 10 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 121 (colour illus.).

Mary Eagle, Tom Roberts, 'A Painter Making Himself', pg. 38, Adelaide, 1996, 56, 201 (illus.).

Anne Gray, Australia, 'Art nation: Australian landscape 1880-1920', pg. 146-183, London, 2013, 166 (colour illus.). 105

Anne Gray, Tom Roberts, 'Catalogue of works', pg. 93-329, Canberra, 2015, 168, 169, 349. 40

Terence Lane, Australian Impressionism, 'The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition - The Challenge of the Sketch', pg. 157-163, Melbourne, 2007, 337, 171 (colour illus.). 9.27

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Tom Roberts exhibition, National Art Gallery of NSW: souvenir catalogue, Sydney, 1947, 16. titled 'Evening, Princes Bridge'; 50

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 108. 127

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). plate no. 57

Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 56 (colour illus.), 302.

William S. Ellenden Pty Ltd, Catalogue of fine Australian paintings and certain European paintings including the property of the late Sylvia Bertha Purves (niece of Tom Roberts), Sydney, 1976, 12 (colour illus.). titled 'Spencer Street Station'; lot no. 118

Editor Unknown (Editor), Deutscher Fine Art: Australian paintings: colonial/impressionist/early modern, Carlton, Oct 1984. 38; not paginated

Author Unknown, 9 x 5: Exhibition of Impressions, Melbourne, 1889, 6. 77; priced 1 guinea