Vaucluse Bay. Port Jackson. New South Wales. WALLIS, William PRESTON.

Vaucluse Bay. Port Jackson. New South Wales.

London: Rudolph Ackermann, 1820.

Handcoloured engraving, 230 x 335 (plate size), mounted.

Very rare and attractive view of Vaucluse, from Wallis's Historical Account of the Colony,the first view book engraved in Australia. This work was an extraordinary collaboration between Major James Wallis, then commander of the convict settlement at Newcastle, and the convicts under his command, notably the artists Walter Preston and Joseph Lycett.

Very rare and attractive view of Vaucluse, from Wallis's Historical Account of the Colony,the first view book engraved in Australia. This work was an extraordinary collaboration between Major James Wallis, then commander of the convict settlement at Newcastle, and the convicts under his command, notably the artists Walter Preston and Joseph Lycett.

The illustrations for Wallis' celebrated view book show detailed topographical views in Sydney, Newcastle, and the Hawkesbury River, including a justly famous scene depicting an Aboriginal corroboree. In many ways the series represents a celebration of the progress of the colony under Governor Macquarie, and Macquarie himself was very taken with the work.

Two of the central figures in the creation of the book were Preston and Lycett; Preston had earlier worked with Absalom West on his famous views of Sydney, while the latter had only recently been sent to Newcastle after his involvement in the forging of bank drafts in Sydney. At the time, Newcastle enjoyed a fearsome reputation for brutal secondary punishment and was described by Lieutenant Purcell as "the Hell of New South Wales."

Wallis had arrived in the colony in 1814 and proved a successful commandant at Newcastle, transforming the rough convict outpost into an ordered town, mirroring on a smaller scale what Macquarie had achieved in Sydney. Wallis focused the considerable artistic skills of the forgers to produce this series of skilled and remarkable views, created with great difficulty on the only copper sheets available in the colony, the softer sheets intended for sheathing the hulls of ships.

Both Preston and Lycett were pardoned by Macquarie on Wallis' recommendation, in no small part because of their work on this book. When Wallis departed Australia in 1819 he took the plates with him to London where the book was published by Ackermann, complete with an introductory history of the colony and a map of Port Macquarie by the surveyor John Oxley. Roger Butler discusses the work and its context at length in "The Wallis Publication" in his Printed images in colonial Australia 1801-1901.

Price (AUD): $2,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4504616

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