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


View of Sydney Harbour



Conrad Martens

England, Australia

21 Mar 1801 – 21 Aug 1878

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    watercolour, scraping out, gum
    33.0 x 48.2 cm sheet; 47.0 x 61.3 cm sight edge; 52.6 x 66.9 x 2.7 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., brown watercolour "C Martens/ 1836".

    Gift of the Corry Family 1946
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Conrad Martens

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    One of the most significant nineteenth century Australian artists, Conrad Martens was Sydney's pre-eminent landscape painter from his arrival in 1835 until his death, some forty years later. Born in London, he studied with Copley Fielding (1787-1855) and in 1833 joined the scientific survey expedition of the 'Beagle' in Montevideo, South America, replacing its ailing official artist Augustus Earle (1793-1838). The naturalist on board was Charles Darwin (1809-82); he and Martens became friends and later corresponded. Martens left the ship in Valparaiso in 1834 and made his way to Sydney via New Zealand.

    Sydney Harbour and its environs became his favourite subject, obvious from his many drawings, watercolours and oils. Within a year of his arrival he also painted in the Illawarra and Blue Mountains, later travelling further afield to Brisbane and the Darling Downs, New England and Hunter regions of NSW. Martens attracted patrons from the colony's elite, undertaking commissions and taking students. In order to secure himself financially late in life, he became Deputy Parliamentary Librarian in 1862. This is one of 24 watercolours by him in the AGNSW's collection.

    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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Conrad Martens

See all 37 works