'From a distant land' is a work from David Davies' student years and reveals the academic teaching influence of George Folingsby, art master at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1882. This firmly organised painting makes use of the most prevalent compositional device that flourished under Folinsgby: from a darkened room a door opens out to the glaring sun of the Australian bush, allowing the interior narrative element to expand into the outside world.
Davies subsequently left Australia in 1897, spending time in France and England and encountering plein-air painting first-hand. He eventually settled at St Ives in Cornwall, where he died in 1939.
oil on canvas
80.9 x 115.6 cm stretcher; 125.0 x 157.0 x 8.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "Davies 89".
Shown in 4 exhibitions
European masters and Australian painting from Australian collections:
Interiors - from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1981, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Dec 1981–03 Jan 1982
David Davies (1984-1985):
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 11 Sep 1984–11 Nov 1984
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 04 Dec 1984–06 Jan 1985
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 01 Feb 1985–10 Mar 1985
Exiles and emigrants: Epic journeys to Australia in the Victorian era:
Referenced in 16 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 76 (colour illus.).
City bushmen: the Heidelberg school and the rural mythology, Melbourne, 1985, 41 (colour illus.). colour plate no. 7
Leigh Astbury., Studies in Australian art, 'George Follingsby and Australian subject painting', Melbourne, 1978, 53 (illus.), 54.
Masters of the Heidelberg School, Leichhardt, 1998, 82 (colour illus.). plate no. 82
Susan Bruce, A treasury of Australian bush painting, Adelaide, 1979, (colour illus.). colour plate no. 28
Kitty Hauser, The Weekend Australian, 'Envoy for our colonial past', pg. 2, Canberra, 28 Mar 2009-29 Mar 2009, 2 (colour illus.). Review section
Mervyn Horton (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 21, No. 3), Sydney, Autumn 1983, 348 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 110 (colour illus.).
Patricia Macdonald, Exiles and emigrants: epic journies to Australia in the Victorian era, Melbourne, 2005, 112, 113 (colour illus.), 137.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Apr 1969, 454, 457 (illus.).
Barry Pearce., Old master paintings from the USSR: A survey of four centuries of European art. Report, 'David Davies', Sydney, 1979. cat.no. 49; catalogue entry
Lynne Seear, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, ''Strapped to the Mangle': Art, Work and the 'Lady' Artist. Vida Lahey Monday morning', pg. 112-15, Brisbane, 1998, 114.
Cameron Sparks, David Davies 1864-1939, 'David Davies: 1864-1939', pg. 9-20, Ballarat, 1984, 10, 33 (illus.). cat.no. 10
Cameron Sparks., Art and Australia [vol. 16, no. 1], 'David Davies 1864-1939', Sydney, Sep 1978, 68.
100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 56 (colour illus.), 57. plate no. 25
Unknown, Australia: A Cultural History, Clayton, 2017, 33 (illus.).