(Bush landscape with waterfall, New South Wales)
John Skinner Prout
19 Dec 1805 - 29 Sep 1876
This rare oil painting by John Skinner Prout most likely depicts Willoughby Falls near Sydney. The luxuriantly forested landscape is filled with native plants and animals, appealing to an English Romantic taste for exotica. An idealised, Arcadian view, it is removed from the reality of European settlement at this time and its detrimental effects on the Indigenous population.
This painting was incorrectly recorded on several occasions as depicting a scene in Tasmania, where Prout worked between 1844 and 1848. A close study of the flora and fauna in the painting, however, substantiates that it is a NSW setting.
(Cascade Falls, Hobart)
Cascade Falls, Tasmania
(Bush landscape with waterfall and an aborigine stalking native animals, New South Wales)
oil on canvas
70.5 x 91.4 cm stretcher; 89.8 x 110.8 x 6.8 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 1976
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Art and art treasures, National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne, Mar 1869–May 1869
Samuel Elyard (1817-1910): Landscape painter and photographer, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 01 Jul 1982–08 Aug 1982
John Skinner Prout in Australia (1986), Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 09 Nov 1986–01 Feb 1987
Skinner Prout in Australia 1840-48:
Two hundred years of Australian painting : Nature, people and art in the southern continent:
Referenced in 9 publications
Robyn Donohue, Look, 'Arcadia: Nineteenth Century Australian Photography', pg. 22-23, Heidelberg, Oct 1998, 23.
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 15.
Ursula Prunster., Art Gallery of New South Wales collection series 2, 'John Skinner Prout: Cascade Falls, Hobart', Sydney, 1982, cover (colour illus.).
Anne Ryan, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Colonial eyes', pg. 17-18, Sydney, 2000, 18, 24 (colour illus.), 301.
Unknown, Christie's Australia. Australian and International Painting. Melbourne 22 August 2000, South Yarra, 2000, 102. lot no. 121 is a related work, 'Willoughby Falls, New South Wales', oil on canvas, 89.0 x 70.5cm, circa 1842.
Sotheby's Australia, Sotheby's Melbourne: The Foster's collection of Australian art, 23 May 2005, Armadale, 2005, 12. lot no. 3 is a related work, 'Aborigine stalking - Willoughby Falls, New South Wales', watercolour and gouache on paper, 66.5 x 90.5cm, circa 1945, reproduced on page 13.
Barry Pearce and Haruo Arikawa, Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 47 (colour illus.). cat.no. 9
Tim Bonyhady, Images in opposition: Australian landscape painting 1801–1890, 'An Aboriginal Arcadia', pg. 23-39, Melbourne, 1985, 34, 173. titled 'Cascade Falls, Hobart'; plate no. 3 (colour) between pg. 34 and pg. 35
Unknown, Australia's Animals: who discovered them?, Sydney, 1978, cover (colour illus.).