Author Archives: Work of the week

The Sydney Bird Painter Boobook owl (c. 1790-1800)

This watercolour is the earliest Australian work in the NGV Collection. The boobook owl was drawn by an unidentified artist, possibly a member of the First Fleet, whose hand has also been identified in watercolours held in the Mitchell Library, …  More

Frederick McCubbin The pioneer 1904

McCubbin’s monumental painting The pioneer reflects the self-conscious nationalism of the years immediately following Federation. Each panel is ‘read’ to link the progress of toil on this land across time. The first panel shows a pioneering couple in their new …  More

Miss Geddes Sheet music, fancy dress 1906

This charming fancy-dress costume was acquired from a private collector. The following information was recorded at the time: ‘This dress was worn to a fancy-dress ball at Mena House, Cairo, in 1907 by a Miss Geddes. The dress is accompanied by …  More

Colima, West Mexico Mask

In very rare instances elite burials in West Mexico involved stone masks that have been stylistically linked to Colima. These special objects for burial, fashioned out of materials traded over long distances, stand out among the large numbers of ceramic …  More

UNKNOWN Noah’s Ark c. 1600

Mughal paintings combine Persian and Indian painting traditions and are characterised by a rich palette, fine modelling and intricate detail. This painting dates from the end of the reign of the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar (c.1556–1605), who employed Indian artists …  More

GREECE / ITALY Torso of an athlete 1st century BC-1st century AD

This marble torso is an outstandingly well-preserved representation of an athletic male body in its prime. It is thought to be a Roman copy of an original by the Greek sculptor Polykleitos. The general style is of the fifth century …  More

William Nicholson The black pansy 1910

William Nicholson was always torn between the need to paint society portraits to maintain his family and his love for humbler still lifes and landscape painting. Nicholson’s admiration of Édouard Manet and Edwardian interiors is evident in this still life …  More