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Old Colonist's Festival Dinner
Title : Old Colonist's Festival Dinner Old Colonist's Festival Dinner
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Creator : Gill, S. T. (Samuel Thomas), 1818-1880 artist
Source : B 21360
Place Of Creation : Cambridge, Cambridgeshire; Alexandria, VA
Publisher : Chadwyck-Healey
Date of creation : 1851
Format : Artwork
Dimensions : 300 x 420 mm (approx)
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Lithographic reproduction of an English satirical print, 1600-1832 by S. T. Gill of the Old Colonist's Festival Dinner held at the rear of the City-Bridge Hotel, Morphett Street Adelaide, Thursday 27th March 1851.

The work inclusdes names of the Old Colonists listed along the matting frame around the artwork. The State Library holds records of the Old Colonist's Association (1883-1916). See Records of the Old Colonist's Association (SRG 33).

Gill reached South Australia in December 1839 in the Caroline with his parents and a brother and sister. In March 1840 he established a studio in Gawler Place, Adelaide, which was open from 'eleven till dusk'; he offered to produce portraits of human beings, horses and dogs, and to sketch houses and transfer the sketches 'to paper suited for home conveyance'. In 1846 he went without pay as draftsman with an exploring party led by J. A. Horrocks which reached the country at the head of Spencer Gulf. Gill was with Horrocks when he had a gun accident from which he died just over three weeks later. Gill nursed Horrocks devotedly and Gill's poignant diary of the expedition was published in the South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, 10 October 1846. The explorer discovered and named Lake Gill (Lake Dutton). In Adelaide in 1846-47 Gill raffled drawings of the expedition and many of these survive; some remained in the possession of the Horrocks family until 1944 when they were bought by the National Gallery of South Australia. In 1847 South Australia Illustrated by George French Angas was published in London; in it was a series of hand-coloured lithographs of which at least two were after water-colour drawings by Gill: Plate 41 'Adelaide. Hindley Street, From the corner of King William St.' and Plate 54 'The Departure of Captain Sturt. August, 1844'. A third lithograph, Plate 7 'Port Adelaide', may be after Gill. These three works are typical of the many water-colours of urban scenes which Gill produced in Adelaide in the 1840s. In 1849 a series of twenty-two lithographed drawings of prominent South Australian citizens called 'Heads of the People' was published in Adelaide; Gill sketched these from life and drew them on the stone, and at the time the portraits were accepted as admirable likenesses. Other lithographs by him published in Adelaide in 1851 were of the 'Old Colonists Festival Dinner' and of a racehorse called 'Merry Monarch'; the latter indicated his lifelong interest in the turf.

Gill was one of the most prolific water-colour painters working in Australia in the nineteenth century. He was an artist who was often out in the field in the Adelaide Hills or the Flinders Ranges, and on the spot at mine sites, in city streets, at Port Adelaide, the races or at the Agricultural and Horticultural Society's annual show. He was part of Horrocks' expedition of 1846 to central Australia, where he offered a free service as official illustrator.

In 1840, Gill established a studio in Adelaide and advertised for those desirous of obtaining correct likenesses of themselves, familiesor friends, animals, local scenery and residences, to contact him. He captured detailed scenes of colonial life in the streets of Adelaide and Melbourne, in the South Australian countryside and on the Victorian gold fields. Gill created a charicature folio of captioned portraits of well known Adelaideans named 'Heads of the people' which was later published (1850).

Gill used techniques he acquired in England in his youth and developed during his years in Australia. The immediacy and freshness of the water-colour painting technique was ideally suited to the lively style of the artist. Although Gill mostly restricted himself to the water-colour sketch, perhaps due to its portable and convenient nature (apart from his 'Heads of the people' lithographic series), his work faithfully describes the vastness of the land and the energy of its people. Gill displayed qualities of imagination, delicacy, and poetic feeling but is often only known as the artist of the gold fields.

Related names :

Gill, S. T. (Samuel Thomas), 1818-1880

Old Colonist's Association

Coverage year : 1851
Period : 1836-1851
Place : Morphett Street, Adelaide
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Appleyard, Ron S.T. Gill, the South Australian years 1839-1852. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 1986

Auhl, I and Marfleet, D Australia's earliest mining era : South Australia, 1841-1851 Adelaide : Rigby, 1975

Bernard, S Place, taste and tradition : a study of Australian art since 1788 Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1979

Brock, Daniel George, To the desert with Sturt: a diary of the 1844 expedition Adelaide: Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, South Australian Branch, 1975

Bowden, Keith Macrae Samuel Thomas Gill: artist. [Collaroy, N.S.W.] : K.M. Bowden, [1971]

Cumpston, J. H. L. Charles Sturt: his life and journeys of exploration Melbourne: Georgian House, 1951

Dutton, Geoffrey S.T. Gill's Australia. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1981

Gill, S. T. Paintings of S.T. Gill Adelaide: Rigby, 1962

Drew, GJ. Discovering historic Burra, South Australia , Adelaide : Dept. of Mines and Energy and the National Trust of S.A. (Burra Branch), 1988

Gee, Lionel CE. Record of the mines of South Australia , [Adelaide, S. Aust. : South Australian Dept. of Mines, 1966]

Willington, CM. The mineral industry contribution to the development of South Australia , [Adelaide, 1961]

Bernard Smith, Place, Taste and Tradition (Syd, 1945)

A. W. Greig, 'Samuel Thomas Gill', Victorian Historical Magazine, 3 (1913-14)

E. McCaughan, 'Samuel Thomas Gill', Australasian, 15 Nov 1930

B. Burdett, 'Samuel Thomas Gill', Art in Australia, 3 (1933), no 49

W. H. Langham, 'Samuel Thomas Gill ... Landscape Painter', National Gallery of South Australia, Bulletin (1940)

H. Shaw, 'S. T. Gill of the Gold fields and then of the City', Radio Call, 25 June 1952

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