We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Rainy day



Charles Conder

England, Australia

24 Oct 1868 – 09 Feb 1909

Artist profile

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Rainy day, Randwick
    Chinaman's Garden
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on cedar cigar box lid
    12.6 x 19.5 cm board; 34.0 x 40.5 x 4.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.l., black oil "C. Conder". Not dated.
    Signed and dated, l.r. black oil "... 14 Feb. 1888. .../ C. E. Conder".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2017
    South Building, ground level, Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Charles Conder

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Charles Conder established his reputation as a young artist of note in Sydney by the late 1880s through this exceptional ability to capture in his work the poetic expanse of the city's atmosphere - from the dazzling light of Sydney's sun-filled beaches, as well as the colours and melancholic mood of its wet weather days. On a wet Saint Valentine's day in 1888, the lush colours of the Chinese market gardens in Randwick caught Conder's attention. He beautifully conveyed both the palette and mood of the rainy day on the back of cedar cigar box, creating one of the most distinct works of his Sydney experimental oeuvre.

    'Rainy day' is composed with a palette of evocative greens which are grounded by the dark brown reds of shrubbery, highlighted by the bright blue garments of workers in the gardens, and set against a pink-infused cloudy grey sky. An intensely rich and poetic orchestration of colour, this small experimental work has a wonderful sense of immediacy, perhaps more than any other of Conder's panel paintings produced at this time.

    The subject of 'Rainy day' is unusual in late 19th century Australian art. The depiction of Chinese immigrants workers, certainly within the poetic terms of Conder's depiction, is possibly unprecedented. Rather than inscribing the usual sense of 'exoticism of the Orient', or the blatant racism that recur in paintings of Chinese Australians at this time, 'Rainy day' is instead a elegiac evocation of place, a mood that is furthered by the presence of the figures who are shown as being at one with the landscape. The Chinese growers gardens in Conder's painting were in Randwick on a site that now forms part of the campus of the Prince of Wales Hospital.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 6 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

Other works by Charles Conder

See all 36 works