Tom Roberts’s Shearing the rams is a response to the nationalistic sentiment that developed in Australia during the late nineteenth century. It reflects the emergence of a national identity defined through heroic rural activity and the economic importance of the wool industry. The iconic painting is based on a number of preliminary sketches Roberts completed on the spot at Brocklesby Station, Corowa, New South Wales, in the late spring of 1888. He returned during the following two spring periods (shearing season) to work on the painting. Once completed, Shearing the rams was exhibited in the artist’s studio in Collins Street, Melbourne.
This work is currently on display on Level 2 at NGV Australia.