The marriage at Cana of Galilee
17 Nov 1831 - 15 Apr 1867
The first Australian-born artist to study in Europe, Adelaide Ironside aspired to history painting, the highest category of art in her day. 'The marriage at Cana of Galilee' 1861/1863 – the most important painting of her career – portrays Christ's first public miracle, the transformation of water into wine during the marriage feast at Cana in Galilee.
Painted in Rome, 'The marriage' was exhibited at the Colonial Court of the 1862 International Exhibition in London. It was returned to Sydney after the artist's premature death, and was owned for many years by the all-male St Paul's College, University of Sydney.
The marriage of Cana at Galilee
oil on canvas on hardboard
106.1 x 147.7 board; 117.0 x 158.6 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Warden and Fellows of St Paul's College, University of Sydney 1992
Where the work was made
Shown in 7 exhibitions
International Exhibition 1862, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 01 May 1862–01 Nov 1862
(Miss Ironside's paintings):
Agricultural Society of New South Wales' Metropolitan Intercolonial Exhibition 1872, Exhibition Building, Surry Hills, 30 Apr 1872–08 May 1872
(Sydney Picture Gallery), Sydney Picture Gallery, Sydney, Jan 1878 -
Opening exhibition of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Sep 1880–22 Sep 1880
Renaissance References in Australian Art, University Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 13 Aug 1985–20 Sep 1985
Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Mar 1995–04 Jun 1995
Referenced in 39 publications
Pamela Bell, The University of Sydney exhibition: pictures from the collections, Sydney, 1988, 80, 82 (colour illus.), 95. cat.no. 159
Australian women artists 1840-1940, 'A banner of her own design: Adelaide Ironside', pg. 18-23, Collingwood, 1980, 21, 124 (colour illus.), 169, 170. plate 47; Collection of St Paul's College, University of Sydney.
"Old Chum", Truth, 'Old Sydney', pg. 12, Sydney, 26 Feb 1911, 12.
D.H.R., Age, 'Early Australian artist: career of Adelaide Ironside', pg. 9, Melbourne, 25 Feb 1950, 9.
Alciphron Jones, Sydney mail and New South Wales advertiser, 'Adelaide Ironside, artist', pg. 488, Sydney, 26 Mar 1881, 488.
Heritage: The national women's art book, Sydney, 1995, 212 (colour illus.). cat.no. 359. Entry by Pamela Bell. Biography by Ruth Teale pg. 378-379.
Joan Kerr, Australian art collector, 'Colonial Phoenix: the market for Colonial art needs to be revised and renovated', pg. 72-74, Sydney, Oct 2001-Dec 2001, 73 (colour illus.).
A singular voice: essays on Australian art and architecture, 'Views, visages, invisibility: Themes in the art of colonial New South Wales', pg. 22-35, Sydney, 2009, 23 (illus.), 24, 44.
Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, ‘Shelter of freedom and boast of the world’, pg. 225-270, Sydney, 2008, 246-247 (colour illus.), 248, 250.
William Moore, Brisbane courier, 'Art and artists', pg. 18, Brisbane, 10 Dec 1925, 18.
Reviewer, Queenslander, 'Powis' "Autumn leaves" ', pg. 1176, Brisbane, 29 Dec 1888, 1176.
Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'Art and gold', pg. 73-87, South Melbourne, 1979, 84-85, 86 (illus.). plate no. 31
Woloma, The World's news, 'Adelaide Eliza Ironside, painter and litterateur. Dr Lang's protege', pg. 4, Sydney, 07 Apr 1923, 4.
Australian Town and Country Journal, 'The late Miss Ironside: the eminent Australian artist', pg. 9-10, Sydney, 14 Jan 1871, 9-10.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Miss Ironside', pg. 4, Sydney, 16 May 1863, 4.
Empire, 'Telegraphic intelligence: Melbourne', pg. 4, Sydney, 05 Jan 1863, 4.
North Australian and Queensland general advertiser, 'New South Wales', pg. 4, Ipswich, 02 Dec 1862, 4.
The courier, 'The Courier. Save me from my friends', pg. 2, Brisbane, 01 Dec 1862, 2.
Empire, 'Miss Ironside and her famous painting at the Great Exhibition', pg. 5, Sydney, 19 Nov 1862, 5.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Miss Ironside', pg. 4, Sydney, 17 Nov 1862, 4. Letter written by Mr William Stirling and sent by Sir Daniel Cooper to the Sydney Morning Herald for publication. Mr Stirling 'is considered almost equal to Ruskin as a critic'.
Bathurst free press and mining journal, 'The Great Exhibition. New South Wales Court', pg. 2, Bathurst, 13 Aug 1862, 2.
Launceston Examiner, 'The Great Exhibition', pg. 3, Launceston, 15 Jul 1862, 3.
Sydney Mail, 'The New South Wales contributions to the International Exhibition', pg. 3, Sydney, 24 May 1862, 3. Contribution of Adelaide Ironside in the NSW Court.
Catalogue of the natural and industrial products of New South Wales; with a map and introductory account of its population, commerce, and general resources, London, 1862. Oil Paintings, cat.no. 317, "The Marriage in Cana of Galilee. By Adelaide E. Ironside; painted at Rome in 1861; exhibited by herself".
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'The Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 3, Sydney, 23 Sep 1880, 3. "... 3 oil paintings, by the late Miss Ironside, lent by W. Redman, Esq.".
Gough Whitlam, My Italian notebook, Sydney, 2002, front dust jacket (colour illus.).
Adelaide Ironside: the pilgrim of art, Sydney, 1987, 91-96, 111, 113, 132. cat.no. 80, 'The Marriage at Cana of Galilee'
Catholic press, 'The fairest daughter of Sydney: Adelaide Ironside', pg. 4-5, Sydney, 03 Feb 1900, 4-5.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'List of pictures in the "Art Gallery of New South Wales"', pg. 3, Sydney, 19 Apr 1879, 3. "Loan Pictures. Oil paintings (14 in number) ... The Marriage at Cana ...by Adelaide E Ironside, lent by her executors".
Australian Town and Country Journal, 'Sydney picture gallery', pg. 28, Sydney, 26 Jan 1878, 28. Exhibition of work at the room of the 'New South Wales National Gallery', in Elizabeth Street.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Agricultural Society of New South Wales. Annual Show of 1872', pg. 6, Sydney, 18 May 1872, 6.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Non-agricultural. Section 1 - Fine Arts', pg. 2-3, Sydney, 06 May 1872, 2.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Non-agricultural. The Fine Arts', pg. 5, Sydney, 01 May 1872, 5.
Sydney Mail, 'The late Miss Ironside', pg. 5, Sydney, 04 Feb 1871, 5.
Sydney mail and New South Wales advertiser, 'Fine arts. Miss A.E. Ironside', pg. 57, Sydney, 04 Feb 1871, 57.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'The late Miss Ironside', pg. 6, Sydney, 27 Jan 1871, 6.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Miss Ironside's paintings', pg. 7, Sydney, 21 Jan 1871, 7.
Evening news, 'The late Miss Ironside, the eminent Australian artist', pg. 4, Sydney, 18 Jan 1871, 4.