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Australian art

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View of The Rocks, Old Sydney



Livingston Hopkins

United States of America, Australia

1846 - 1927


Livingston Hopkins was born at Bellefontaine, Ohio, USA. He studied drawing briefly under the German artist, August Will (1834-1910) in New York, where he successfully established himself as a cartoonist, engraver and illustrator using the nom de plume 'Hop' in a variety of journals, newspapers and books, including his own 'The comic history of the United States by Livingston Hopkins with seventy-five illustrations from sketches taken at a safe distance by the author' (1876). He took up an appointment as staff artist on the 'Bulletin', Sydney in 1883 at the request of W H Traill, its Managing Director.

Hopkins had learnt to etch before he came to Australia and owned an etching press. He knew the etchings of the influential French artist Maxime Lalanne and his book on etching 'Traité de l'gravure à l'eau-forte' (Paris, 1866) published in English in New York as 'A treatise on etching' in 1880. Hopkins introduced a number of artists in Sydney to etching including Julian Ashton, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and B E Minns, making his press available to them. Hopkins' interest in Sydney streets, especially around The Rocks, influenced Julian Ashton, Lionel Lindsay and Sydney Ure Smith in their choice of subjects, as did his unfussy, linear approach to etching and printing.

A study for this etching in pen and ink of almost the same size is also in the Gallery's collection. The etching is not in reverse to the drawing inferring that it was etched in reverse on the plate, a skill in which Hopkins was well practised as an illustrator whose drawings were translated into wood engravings. Differences between the drawing and etching are few. The drawing has the title hand-lettered beneath the borderlines.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1998


Other Titles

The Rocks

(Chinese carrying shoulder baskets, The Rocks, Sydney)

Old Sydney. Cumberland Street, Argyle Cut, Sydney



Media category


Materials used

etching, printed in brown ink with pale plate tone on ivory wove paper




30.0 x 19.8 cm platemark; 32.0 x 21.6 cm sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed and dated within plate to print l.r., brown ink "LHopkins 1886".


Purchased 1990


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Livingston Hopkins

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


Roger Arthur Butler, Printed images by Australian artists 1885-1955, Canberra, 2007, 12 (illus.). titled 'Old Sydney. Cumberland Street, Argyle Cut, Sydney'; Collection of the National Gallery of Australia

Anna Cossu, A place in The Rocks, Sydney, 2008, 71 (illus.). titled '(Chinese carrying shoulder baskets, The Rocks, Sydney)'; Collection of National Library of Australia

Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 15, 77 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 25 (illus.). 8

Hendrik Kolenberg, Everyday life: prints drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European art, Sydney, 1994. 45

Anne Ryan, Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 19 (colour illus.). 23