Born in Barbados and educated in London, Eliezier Levi Montefiore arrived in Sydney in 1842 to take part in various family business interests in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. He exhibited drawings in Adelaide and owned watercolours by various artists, including S T Gill, whom he knew. He also exhibited in Melbourne, where he befriended Nicholas Chevalier and in 1870 was appointed a trustee of the Public Library, Museum and National Gallery of Victoria. He finally settled in Sydney in 1871 and took part in the establishment of the New South Wales Academy of Art. He was one of the inaugural trustees of the National Gallery of New South Wales and appointed Director in 1892. He wrote and lectured on art and encouraged the purchase of work by Australian artists such as W C Piguenit and Conrad Martens.
Judging by its size and the pencil border which has been drawn around the image, this drawing may have been intended as a study for an etching. Montefiore was one of the earliest artists in the colony to make etchings, a number of which are in the Gallery's collection. The drawing was originally mounted in an album, on the same sheet as an etching 'Blue Mountains waterfall' 1870s-80s, before it was acquired by the Gallery.
Govett's Leap in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney was named after Romaine Govett, Surveyor of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, 1827-34. A sculpture by Arthur Murch (1902-89) of an imaginary bushranger named Govett, who reputedly leapt into the Grose Valley on horseback to escape capture by police, is situated alongside the main road in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.
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, pencil borderlines on blue-grey laid paper mounted on a leaf from an album
10.5 x 23.1 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pen and brown ink "E L Montefiore". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Arthur Boyd Acquisition Fund 1998
Not on display
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Australian miscellany (Collector's list no. 55), Josef Lebovic Gallery, Kensington, 15 Jan 1996–28 Feb 1996
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005
The artist in a director: the art of directors of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Feb 2008–07 Mar 2008
Referenced in 2 publications
19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 72, 73 (colour illus.).
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, 27.