View of Culborne Church and Bristol Channel, Somersetshire. Major James WALLIS.

View of Culborne Church…
View of Culborne Church and Bristol Channel, Somersetshire

Somerset: circa 1840.

Original sepia watercolour with manuscript title in Wallis's hand, 167 x 368 mm, mounted.

A rare original watercolour by one of Australia's celebrated artists

Inscribed lower right by James Wallis, "View of Culborne Church and Bristol Channel, Somersetshire". Wallis arrived in Sydney in February, 1814 in charge of the 46th Regiment which was to replace the 73rd. It was evident that he had a keen interest in art because after five years in Sydney and Newcastle he placed an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette, 9 January, 1819, for the sale of a "series of original views in New South Wales". This was a set of 13 printed views, engraved on copper by W. Preston. The imprints indicate that Wallis was responsible for the original drawings from which the engravings were taken. The Mitchell Library has the only extant examples of this Sydney printing.

Inscribed lower right by James Wallis, "View of Culborne Church and Bristol Channel, Somersetshire". Wallis arrived in Sydney in February, 1814 in charge of the 46th Regiment which was to replace the 73rd. It was evident that he had a keen interest in art because after five years in Sydney and Newcastle he placed an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette, 9 January, 1819, for the sale of a "series of original views in New South Wales". This was a set of 13 printed views, engraved on copper by W. Preston. The imprints indicate that Wallis was responsible for the original drawings from which the engravings were taken. The Mitchell Library has the only extant examples of this Sydney printing.
On his return to London in 1820, Wallis arranged a London edition of the views, in a bound volume, "Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales" published by the well known London firm, Rudolf Ackermann. This was the first book of views to have been engraved in Australia.
Until the appearance of this drawing and four others: Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains, View of Porto Santo, Dunster Castle, and View of Rostellan in 1987, no original drawings by Wallis were known to exist. Wallis' reputation as a significant early artist in the Colony was then further enhanced by the emergence of the Wallis album in Canada in 2012 containing rare original artworks, many documenting Wallis's encounter with the Awakabal people in the Newcastle region. This album is now a treasure in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales.
This watercolour here described is similar in size and character to a companion sepia view included in the Wallis album now in the Mitchell Library – Valley of Culborne. Although undated, this view dates from the time of Wallis' return to England, and his marriage to his second wife Mary Ann Breach in 1836. The importance of this charming watercolour is that it confirms Wallis' continued interest in art after leaving New South Wales and retirement from the army: no longer depicting life in the Colony, a world away, but a quintessentially idyllic English pastoral life.

Provenance: By family descent then Christie's 1987 lot 223.

Price (AUD): $12,000.00  other currencies     Ref: #4403321