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Vaucluse House / Conrad Martens
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Vaucluse House / Conrad Martens
1 painting : watercolour on card ; 19.3 x 33 cm.
Not signed; undated.
This watercolour relates to a pencil sketch, titled 'Vaucluse / W. Wentworth Esq', dated 29 October 1840, in the collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW [ZDLPX24, f.54]. Martens' "Account of pictures painted at Sydney, N.S. Wales" records that he received 12 guineas for a picture of 'Vaucluse' from Wentworth on 16th June 1841. [Mitchell Library ZDL MS142]. The account book records another sale to Wentworth on 30 June of "[Vaucluse] from the hill' for 12 guineas. This second picture is now in the Dixson Collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW [ZDG 15].

William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872) acquired the Vaucluse estate in 1827 and the stables block to the left of the picture was among the first improvements carried out for him by the architect George Cookney in 1829. The siting of the stables on an elevated platform at the head of a secluded bay added significantly to their Picturesqueness, particularly when viewed against the exaggeratedly steep ridge behind the house. Martens' watercolour may also record another phase of building - the completion of the western end of the main facade, seen just right of centre in the picture. Martens captures the house's fashionable Gothic Revival style (emphasized by his over-scaled rendering of the western corner turret) and Romantic siting and isolation at the head of Vaucluse Bay.
By descent from Norton/Stephens family to Mrs Judith Willis (nee Stephens) and Mrs Edith Glennie (nee Stephens).
Published in:
Suzanne Bravery "A colonial view" in Insites issue 18 Autumn 1999, p.1; Robert Griffin, Joy Hughes, editors Vaucluse House: a history & guide Historic Houses Trust of NSW, 2007, title page; Andrew Tink William Charles Wentworth: Australia's greatest native son Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2009, following p.166; Ian Hoskins Sydney Harbour: a history Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2009, following p.40; Grace Carroll "Hidden in plain sight" in Portrait Spring 2015 p.60.
Vaucluse House ; V98/8; Gift of Mrs Judith Willis and Mrs Edith Glennie, 1998.
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