Meet our feline friends

 

Meee‑ow — we’ve tried to round up our affectionate and furry four-legged friends, these cute house cats are obviously valued for their companionship — from snuggling to being a source of entertainment, to even manipulating us with their unique language and their contented purrs. It’s an interesting fact that meowing is a vocalisation just for us, cats don’t actually meow at each other so they use this as a bond between humans and animals.

As we know, the cat shares the title with the dog as the world’s most popular companion animals, however as the saying goes… “dogs have owners, cats have staff”… so the perennial question is “do cats love us or just tolerate us”, either way, their owners loved them enough to capture them with their own unique personalities for us to enjoy today.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

Visit both the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art to see how many cats and their wild counterparts you can find… and keep an eye out for their lifelong partner, the dog. We also haven’t forgotten the horse.

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Breakfast, Alpha’ 1884

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850-1928 / Breakfast, Alpha (and detail) 1884 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 25.3 x 35.4cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Chinese Style ‘Mandarin pocket’ 1800-1900 

Chinese Style / Mandarin pocket c.1800-1900 / Silk embroidered with a cat and butterfly / 8.3 x 8.5cm / Bequest of Dr Ernest Singer 1975 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Norman Lindsay ‘Cats’ 1919 

Norman Lindsay, Australia 1879 1969 / Cats 1919 / Etching on cream wove paper / 20 x 16cm / Gift of Lady Cilento 1986 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Lin Bloomfield, Odana/Bloomfield

Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel ‘Sleeping cat’ 1920s 

Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Germany 1881-1965 / Sleeping cat c.1920s / Charcoal and watercolour wash on wove paper / 35.7 x 47.4 cm / Purchased 1976 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Tsugouharu Foujita ‘Self portrait with cat’ 1930

Tsugouharu Foujita, Japan 1886–1968 / Self portrait with cat 1930 / Colour woodblock print on cream wove paper / 35.3 x 26.8cm / Purchased 1952 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tsugouharu Foujita Estate

Kathleen Shillam ‘Cat’ 1950s-60s

Kathleen Shillam, Australia 1916-2002 / (Cat) 1950s-60s / Linocut on paper / 23.2 x 14.9cm / Gift of the artist 1980 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © On behalf of Shillam and Allen families of Len & Kathleen Shillam

Kathleen Shillam ‘Siamese cat’ 1960s

Kathleen Shillam, Australia 1916-2002 / Siamese cat c.1960s / Terracotta, slip-cast with dark brown over cream glazes / 10.5 x 16.5 x 8.5cm / Bequest of George Brown 1977 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © On behalf of Shillam and Allen families of Len & Kathleen Shillam

Robert Dickerson ‘Cat at the window’ 1976

Robert Dickerson, Australia 1924-2015 / Cat at the window 1976 / Colour photo-screenprint on wove paper mounted on composition board / 86.2 x 67.6 cm / Gift of the artist 1976 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Jennifer Dickerson/Copyright Agency

Inga Hunter ‘Wallhanging: Cat in a peach tree’ 1980

Inga Hunter, Australia b.1931 / Wallhanging: Cat in a peach tree 1980 / Appliqued and dyed Irish linen with wool and silk embroidery / 53.5 x 48.5cm / Purchased 1980 with the assistance of the Crafts Board of the Australia Council / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Inga Hunter

Elliott Murray is Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

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Wattles in flower

 

As we celebrate National Wattle Day on the first day of September each year, we delve into two works that include the wattle — with over 1,000 species of acacia Australia-wide, it’s the nation’s largest family of flowering plants. While the flowering times of wattle vary greatly depending on the region, Australia’s national flower — the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) — displays our national colours, green and gold, with flowers from the beginning of September signalling the start of Spring.

The wattle has become a popular symbol of Australia and Australians and can be depicted as a unifying symbol for land and people. The wattle flower is also synonymous — as is the poppy —to acknowledge those Australian service men and women that have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives.

Mavis Ngallametta ‘Mo’Yakal (White and yellow wattles in flower)’ 2008

Referring to the painting Mo’Yakal 2008 (illustrated), Mavis Ngallametta said ‘White and yellow wattle flowers are all around starting in the Easter month of April with white ones and then finishing with the yellow ones around June.

An elder of the Putch clan and a cultural leader of the Wik and Kugu people of Aurukun (Cape York Peninsula, Far North Queensland), Ngallametta was one of the most well-regarded senior community-based artists in Australia, depicting her community’s riotous scenes of post-wet season abundance, a climatic phenomenon well known to people who live their lives just feet above the swamp line. Many of Ngallametta’s works were bold and celebratory — with brightly coloured flowers.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore more works by Mavis Ngallametta in the QAGOMA Collection

Mavis Ngallametta, Kugu-Uwanh people, Putch clan, Australia 1944–2019 / Mo’Yakal (White and yellow wattles in flower) 2008 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / 84 x 96cm / Gift of the artist through the QAGOMA Foundation 2015. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Mavis Ngallametta

Watch | Delve into ‘Mo’Yakal (White and yellow wattles in flower)’

Explore the work of Mavis Ngallametta with Katina Davidson, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

Acknowledgment of Country
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples, and Elders past and present. In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the immense creative contribution First Australians, as the first visual artists and storytellers, make to the art and culture of this country. It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.

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Go back in time to a sultry Queensland afternoon

 

Throughout the 1920s and 30s Queensland artists painted outdoors, their subject matter ranged widely from the beach, the bush, to the city. Vida Lahey was no exception, however during the early 30s Lahey was absorbed by sites around Brisbane and in 1931 painted Sultry noon focusing on the architecture of Brisbane’s Central Railway Station and the buildings in the distance located at the corner of Ann and Edward Streets up to the Turbot Street intersection. Here we go back nearly 100 years to reconstruct the painting. 

Why paint a railway station? Vida Lahey (26 August 1882-1968) and fellow Brisbane artist Daphne Mayo (1895–1982) had a long friendship and working relationship. Mayo, an outstanding sculptor worked on the Brisbane City Hall Tympanum — the City Hall built between 1920-30 was opened 8 April that year, however Mayo’s sculpture wasn’t completed and unveiled until eight months after the building was officially opened — followed directly by the Queensland Women’s War Memorial commission at Anzac Square — unveiled 1932. Mayo was working at Anzac Square during the time Lahey painted the Central Railway Station — the Memorial was just opposite in Ann Street — so it is not inconceivable that this subject was chosen during one of her visits to Mayo.  

Sultry noon [Central Station] 1931 (illustrated) captures the effects of light and shadow, the formal curves and lines of the station platform are echoed by the shelter roof and rail lines. In the middle distance to the left, the station clock tower leads the eye over and up to the developing city skyline, emphasising the height of the City Hall clock tower — completed the year before and then the tallest structure in the city — while the cloud formations above continue the downward curve.

Lahey sometimes painted works in series as she did with the building of the Grey Street bridge. Sultry noon [Central Station] 1931 is paired with a later painting Central Station 7.00 am c.1935 [Museum of Brisbane] (illustrated), both are studies in tonal values — the earlier work using a range of low key colours from mid-tone hues to black, the latter a range of light value colours from white to mid-tone hues.

Vida Lahey ‘Sultry noon [Central Station, Brisbane]’ 1931

Vida Lahey, Australia 1882-1968 / Sultry noon [Central Station, Brisbane] 1931 / Oil on canvas on plywood / 44.7 x 49.2cm / Purchased 1983 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © QAGOMA

Vida Lahey ‘Central Station 7.00 am’ c.1935

Vida Lahey, Australia 1882-1968 / Central Station 7.00 a.m. c.1935 / Oil on panel / Bequest of the artist 1968 / City of Brisbane Collection, Museum of Brisbane / © QAGOMA / Photograph: Carl Warner

Contemporary views of Central Railway Station

View of the Central Railway Station platforms captured in Sultry noon [Central Station, Brisbane] c.1904 / Postcard produced by the Centre for the Government of Queensland / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
Siegfried Monz, Australia 1907-96 / Central Station railway viewed from above at Turbot Street 1935 / 99183993643302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Brisbane

Brisbane was a growing city when Lahey painted Sultry noon, recording the construction of the Grey Street Bridge (1928-32) numerous times the same year. The building activity saw the construction of capital works programs such as the Brisbane City Hall (1920-30), Shrine of Remembrance and Anzac Square (1928-30), Indooroopilly Toll Bridge (1930-36), Hornibrook Highway Toll Bridge (1932–1935), and later the Story Bridge (1935-40).

During the Depression in the 1930s, an integrated plan of public works and a system of tolls was conceived and undertaken to both meet some of the financial difficulties and to provide work for the unemployed throughout Queensland. This building boom helped shape the look of Brisbane, many of the building projects still standing continue to give the capital its identity. 

Central Railway Station

The Central Railway Station was the second inner-city station after Roma Street which had served as Brisbane’s main terminus from 1875. The new centrally-located station on the corner of Ann and Edward Streets opened in 1889 with a timber and galvanised iron building (illustrated) as part of the connection from Roma Street Railway Station through to Central and on to the North Coast line connecting regional Queensland with Brisbane.

Central Railway Station under construction

Central Railway Station under construction c.1900 / Item ID436318 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Central Railway Station vaulted roof platform construction

Central Railway Station vaulted roof platform construction 1901 / 150532 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

The building that Lahey painted was completed in 1901, the Ann Street facade remains intact today (illustrated) while the vaulted roof over the platforms highlighted in Sultry noon was added not long after.

The final section of the North Coast line was completed in 1924 finally linking Brisbane with Cairns. At the time it was a 52-hour journey and even though the golden age of trains ended in the 1920s, the Queensland railway network hugging the east coast over 1,681-kilometres was the main link to the vast state’s coastal towns and ports that led inland to mining and pastoral centres. 

In 1931 when Lahey painted Sultry noon, Central Station was renovated with the expansion of the subway from Ann Street to the recently opened Shrine of Remembrance and Anzac Square opposite (illustrated). The vaulted roof over the station was removed and replaced with awnings over each platform in 1963 (illustrated) and between 1968 and 1984 the station was redeveloped with office towers and hotel over the platforms (illustrated). Today the station is still a major transport hub.

Anzac Square under construction looking toward Central Railway Station 1930

Anzac Square in late construction phase c.1930. The Square contains the Shrine of Remembrance and the ‘Eternal Flame of Remembrance’ held in a continuously lit bronze urn, dedicated on Tuesday, 11 November 1930 / DID26765 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Daphne Mayo working on the Queensland Women’s War Memorial panel

Daphne Mayo working on the Queensland Women’s War Memorial panel, Anzac Square, Brisbane, c.1932 / Daphne Mayo Collection, UQFL119 / Courtesy: The University of Queensland, Brisbane

Anzac Square c.1930-31

Anzac Square c.1930-31 / DID27035 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Central Railway Station 1930

Central Railway Station 1930 / Item ID ITM3579790 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives
Central Railway Station 1930 / Item ID ITM3579735 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Central Railway Station’s vaulted roof

Alfred Elliott, Australia 1870-1954 / Central Railway Station 1922 / Image courtesy: City of Brisbane Collection, Museum of Brisbane

Central Railway Station’s vaulted roof replaced with platform awnings

Central Railway Station 1969 / BCC-B54-30052 / Image courtesy: Brisbane City Council

Central Railway Station redeveloped with office towers and hotel

Central Railway Station 1985 / Series ID S189 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

The buildings in ‘Sultry noon [Central Station]’

Both versions of the Central Railway Station reference the city skyline of Brisbane in the early 1930s — highlighted in degrees of detail can be seen from left to right — the Central Railway Station Clock Tower, the Brisbane Fire Brigade Station Bell Tower, the People’s Palace Tower, the recently opened City Hall featuring its Clock Tower, and The Canberra Hotel.

View overlooking Central Station Railway 1931

View the city skyline of Brisbane looking toward Central Station Railway, with the Canberra Hotel, Peoples Palace, and Brisbane Fire Brigade Station in the foreground c.1931 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Brisbane Fire Brigade Station

The Brisbane Fire Brigade (established in 1882) relocated to the purpose-built station (1890) situated on the north-east corner of Ann and Edward Streets — from the opposite corner — until 1908 before the Brigade moved to new headquarters further north to the corner of Ann and Wharf Streets. The building was demolished in 1950 for the construction of the new Government Offices adjoining to Anzac Square.

Brisbane Fire Brigade Station c.1899 / 99183513704502061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
View along Edward Street with the Brisbane Fire Brigade Station (left) and The Peoples Palace (right) at the intersection of Ann Street c.1927 / 99183512275602061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

The People’s Palace

The People’s Palace (1910–11) with its distinctive tower was situated on the south-east corner of Ann and Edward Streets, opposite The Canberra Hotel. It became popular with travellers to Brisbane due to its convenient location, diagonally opposite to the Central Railway Station, and in 1913 extensions were undertaken which involved adding an extra two storeys. The hotel provided inexpensive accommodation with 130 rooms for the working class and was situated across the road from the Temperance Hall before The Canberra Hotel was built.

The People’s Palace with the Canberra Hotel opposite 1932 / 99183505803202061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

The Canberra Hotel

The Canberra Hotel (1927-29) was a seven-storey temperance hotel on the south-west corner of Ann and Edward Streets, located directly opposite the People’s Palace. The hotel opened on the site of the old Temperance Hall and became a popular destination for people travelling from regional Queensland to Brisbane, often referred to as the ‘city hotel for country people’. In 1934, it was decided to add three more storeys to the building. The hotel was advertised as ‘Australia’s largest, most modern, best equipped and most successful hotel with over 400 bedrooms, larger than any licensed hotel in Australia. Beside reading lamps, private telephones, and radio in the bedrooms, every bedroom had an outer room with hot and cold running water’. The Hotel was demolished in 1987 after welcoming more than eight million guests to Brisbane.

The Canberra Hotel c.1930 / 47475 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
William Bustard, England/Australia 1894-1973 / Sketch of The Canberra Hotel 1934 / Watercolour on paper / 196954 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane / The Canberra Hotel open in 1929 and was demolished in 1987 after welcoming more than eight million guests to Brisbane.

Brisbane City Hall

The construction of the Brisbane City Hall was the second most expensive activity in Australia after the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Built between 1920 and 1930, the three-storey building’s clock tower, standing at 87.47 metres houses five bells — four bells weighing over three tonnes that chime every 15 minutes and a 4.3 tonne striking bell that marks the hour. Once the tallest building in Brisbane, its four clock faces on each side of the tower were at the time the largest in Australia at 4.8 metres in diameter. A major feature of the building’s entrance, the tympanum’s relief ‘The progress of civilisation in the State of Queensland’ — the sculptured pediment above the portico and entrance — was carved by Brisbane sculptor Daphne Mayo (illustrated). Covering two acres, the Brisbane City Hall remains the largest city hall in Australia.

Brisbane City Hall c.1930 / 99183507343402061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Other landmarks in ‘Sultry noon’ 

Overlooking the Central Railway Station c.1926 / Series ID S57 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives
The Trades Hall building (left) and Brisbane Gymnasium (opposite) 1933 / ID PR1009387 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Among the buildings at the intersection of Upper Edward and Turbot Streets the original Trades Hall building (1891) in Turbot Street can be identified (illustrated). By the 1920s the trade union required larger premises and a new site was chosen not far north on the same street at the intersection of Upper Edward Street. The building recorded in Sultry noon was demolished in 1967.

Opposite the old Trades Hall building in Turbot Street was the Brisbane Gymnasium (illustrated), above the high rock cutting to the west of King Edward Park and Jacob’s Ladder — the steep set of steps that provided a pathway from Upper Edward Street to Wickham Terrace. The Gymnasium was housed in the building from the late 1880s until the late 1920s when it closed, then demolished in 1938 when a government proposal in the 1930s involved the redevelopment of Wickham Park fronting Turbot Street with an ambitious project of three new public buildings: a Dental Hospital, new premises for the National Art Gallery and Public Library. The Dental Hospital (1941) was built but not the Art Gallery and Library (illustrated).

The buildings to the right (illustrated) on the rise closest to Central Station in 1931 were occupied by the Queensland Railways Auditor and Accountant Offices, and the Drawing and Survey offices, including the Telegraph Engineers offices, and from 1936 the buildings tenant was the Queensland Railways Institute, the railway social club and history group.

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

Proposal for Wickham Park Dental Hospital, Art Gallery and Public Library 1938

Proposal for Wickham Park Dental Hospital, Art Gallery and Public Library, Turbot Street 1938 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Brisbane Dental Hospital 1940

Building the Brisbane Dental Hospital, 1940 / Negative number: 54384 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

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Meet our canine friends

 

In an array of breeds, shapes and sizes, from wild dogs, to the valuable working dog, and the unconditional love of the house dog, QAGOMA has it all — so we’ve selected just a few artworks on display — we’ll let you find even more when you next visit us, plus we’ve added some of our Collection favourites currently in storage as we just couldn’t leave them out, as they say… life’s better with a dog in your life. We also haven’t forgotten their four-legged friends, check out our blog on cats and horses.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

The Master of Frankfurt ‘Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peterc.1496

The Master of Frankfurt, The Netherlands 1460 d.c.1520-c.33 / Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter (and detail) c.1496 / Oil on oak panel / 69 x 55.2cm / Purchased 1980 with funds from Utah Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Anthonie Waterloo ‘Two travellers resting in a wood’ 1640-90

Anthonie Waterloo, The Netherlands c.1610-90 / Two travellers resting in a wood (from ‘Six large upright landscapes’ series) 1640-90 / Etching on paper / 31.1 x 25.7cm / Purchased 1996 with a special allocation from the Queensland Government. Celebrating the Queensland Art Gallery’s Centenary 1895-1995 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Unknown ‘Netsuke: (dog with ball)’ 19th century

Unknown, Japan / Netsuke: (dog with ball) 19th century / Carved ivory / 3.8 x 2.8 x 2cm / Bequest of Karl and Gertrude Langer 1985 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Teniers the Younger ‘An archery match’ mid-late 19th century

Teniers the Younger, after David, Flanders 1610-90 / An archery match mid-late 19th century / Oil on oak panel / 36.1 x 53.2cm / Bequest of The Hon. Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior MLC 1892 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Richard Daintree ‘(Gold miners’ bark hut)’ c.1870

Richard Daintree, England/Australia 1832-78 / (Gold miners’ bark hut) (no. 17 from ‘Images of Queensland’ series) c.1870 / Autotype on paper / 9.8 x 16.5cm (comp.) / Purchased 2009 with funds raised through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 30th Anniversary Appeal / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Utagawa Hiroshige III ‘View of trading companies at Yokohama’ 1871

Utagawa Hiroshige III 1843-94 / View of trading companies at Yokohama (and detail) 1871 / Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper / Triptych: 37 x 24.8cm (each panel, approx.), 111 x 74..4cm (overall, approx.) / Purchased 2022 with funds from the Henry and Amanda Bartlett Trust through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Saw-pit, Lanark’ 1884

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850 – 1928 / Saw-pit, Lanark (and detail) 1884 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 25.5 x 17.8cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Hugh Ramsay ‘Jessie with the dog’ 1904

Hugh Ramsay, Australia 1877-1906 / Jessie with the dog 1904 / Oil on canvas / 174.5 x 95.6cm / Gift of Mrs M.T. Tompson through Colonel W.H.J.G. Tompson 1943 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Hilda Rix Nicholas ‘The fair musterer’ 1935

Hilda Rix Nicholas, Australia 1884-1961 / The fair musterer (and detail) 1935 / Oil on canvas / 102.3 x 160.4cm / Purchased 1971 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Estate of the artist

Russell Drysdale ‘Man feeding his dogs’ 1941

Russell Drysdale, Australia 1912-81 / Man feeding his dogs (and detail) 1941 / Oil on canvas / 51.2 x 61.4cm / Gift of C.F. Viner-Hall 1961 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © QAGOMA

Jarinyanu David Downs ‘Kurungaiya with streaming coolamon and dogs’ 1989

Jarinyanu David Downs, Wangkajunga/Walmajarri people, Australia c.1925-95 / Kurungaiya with streaming coolamon and dogs 1989 / Natural pigments and synthetic polymer paint on canvas / 183 x 122cm / Purchased 1996 with funds from National Australia Bank Limited through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Jarinyanu David Downs/Copyright Agency

Various artists ‘Two worlds’ 1995-97 

Joanne Currie Nalingu, Gunggari people, Australia b.1964 / Kumantje Jagamara, Warlpiri/Luritja people, Australia c.1946-2020 / Michael Eather, Australia b.1963 / Lin Onus, Yorta Yorta people, Australia 1948-1996 / Christopher Hodges, Australia b.1954 / Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Anmatyerre people, Australia c.1932-2002 / Karen Casey, Palawa people, Australia 1956-2021 / Rick Roser, Jinbara people, Australia b.1955 / Simon Turner, Australia b.1972 / Ruby Abbott Napangardi, Luritja people, Australia b.c.1953 / Barbara Weir, Anmatyerre/Alyawarr peoples, Australia b.c.1945 / Laurie Nilsen, Mandandanji people, Australia 1953-2020 / Stephen Gawulku, Kunibidji people, Australia b.unknown / Bianca Beetson, Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) people, Australia b.1973 / Two worlds (and detail) 1995-97 / Synthetic polymer paint, natural pigments, shellac, photocopied images on 75 boards with velvet curtains and rods / 15 panels: 305 x 60cm (each); 300 x 956cm (installed); 2 curtains: 325 x 335cm, 325 x 340cm; 4 curtain rods: 3 x 75cm (each) / Purchased 1997 with funds from an anonymous donor through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and from a special allocation from the Queensland Government. Celebrating the Queensland Art Gallery’s Centenary 1895-1995 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © The artists

eX de Medici ‘The theory of everything’ 2005

eX de Medici, Australia b.1959 / The theory of everything (and detail) 2005 / Watercolour and metallic pigment on paper / 114.3 x 176.3cm / Purchased 2005 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © eX de Medici

Garry Namponan ‘Yellow-patched camp dog 2006 

Garry Namponan, Wik-Alkan/Wik-Ngatharr people, Australia b.1960 / Yellow-patched camp dog 2006 / Carved milkwood with natural pigments and synthetic polymer paint / 86 x 50 x 30cm / Purchased 2007. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Garry Namponan

David Marpoondin ‘Sitting ku’ (camp dog)’ 2009

David Marpoondin, Wik-Ngathan/Wik-Me’an people, Australia b.1968 / Sitting ku’ (camp dog) 2009 / Carved milkwood (Alstonia muellerana) with natural pigments, charcoal and acrylic binder / 37 x 63 x 41cm / Purchased 2010 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © David Marpoondin

Gimhongsok ’Canine Construction’ 2009

Gimhongsok, South Korea b.1964 / Canine Construction 2009 / Resin / 162 x 235 x 88cm / Purchased 2012. Queensland Art Gallery / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Gimhongsok

Teho Ropeyarn ‘Athumu paypa adthinhuunamu (my birth certificate)’ 2022

Teho Ropeyarn, Angkamuthi/Yadhaykana peoples, Australia b.1988 / Athumu paypa adthinhuunamu (my birth certificate) 2022 / Vinyl-cut print on velin cuve 350gsm / 284.5 x 489cm / Proposed for the QAGOMA Collection / © Teho Ropeyarn/Copyright Agency / Image courtesy: Onespace Gallery

Elliott Murray is Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

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Gold and pearl bracelet: A glimpse of Queensland’s history

 
Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey 1892–1949, Retailer / Bracelet c.1910 / Australian gold with nine linked shells each set with a pearl, with similar detachable pendant / Original fitted case marked ‘Flavelle Roberts & Sankey Ltd. Brisbane, Rockhampton & London’ / Purchased 2011 with funds from the Estate of Kathleen Elizabeth Mowle through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

This charming gold and pearl bracelet on display at the Queensland Art Gallery, is a lovely example of work by the Brisbane firm Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey, and represents the local jeweller’s skill as well as providing a glimpse of Queensland’s history.

The gold bracelet is the most significant piece of Queensland jewellery to come to the Gallery’s notice. The delicacy and refinement of the bracelet suggests that it may have been a special commission, consisting of nine shells fashioned from Australian gold, each set with a small natural pearl, linked together with a larger detachable shell and pearl at the centre.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection artwork highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

A newspaper advertisement in 1902 stated that Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey cut and polished gemstones and dealt in Queensland sapphires, opals and pearls; the pearls in this bracelet were probably harvested in north Queensland. Pearling was the largest industry in far north Queensland in the 1890s — in 1896, for instance, Thursday Island was home to 300 Japanese pearlers, a Japanese consul was based in Townsville, and pearling was the only industry ever exempted from the White Australia policy.

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey ‘Bracelet’ c.1910

The cast shell forms in this bracelet have a connection with Queensland: according to Dr John Healy, Curator Mollusca at the Queensland Museum, the shells are most likely from a Turbo snail (either Turbo brunneus or Turbo intercoastalis), as both have spirally grooved shells and a wide distribution, which takes in Queensland coastal waters.

Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey Ltd

Queensland Country Life (Qld.: 1900 – 1954), 22 September 1900, page 29 / Image courtesy: Trove, National Library Australia

Flavelle Bros. & Co was originally established in Brisbane in 1863. James Nash, the discoverer of the Gympie goldfields in 1868, brought the first consignment of 621 ounces of gold to Brisbane for Mr Flavelle to test and weigh. The resultant financial stimulus to the colonial economy put Queensland on the map. The firm later became Flavelle Bros. and Roberts before establishing itself as Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey in 1892, and opening a Rockhampton branch in December 1894. It moved to larger premises in the main street, East Street, within two years, and was still operating there more than 30 years later. Although largely a retail business, their silversmithing, watchmaking and optical work suggests that they were more than able to make jewellery as well as sell it, in Brisbane if not Rockhampton.

Franco-British Exhibition, London

Queen Alexandra visiting the Flavelle Roberts & Shankey’s exhibit at the Franco-British Exhibition / Extract from The Daily Chronicle, 27 May 1908 / Photograph courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/VintageQueensland
Brisbane Courier (Qld.: 1864 – 1933), 8 October 1908, page 2 / Image courtesy: Trove, National Library Australia

Indeed, by 1908, they described themselves as ‘manufacturing jewellers’. That year, for the Queensland Court of the Franco–British Exhibition in London, a promotional adjunct to their display of Queensland gemstones, titled ‘From Outer Darkness’, included reports of their exhibit at the ‘Melbourne Exhibition of Women’s Work’ in the previous year. This attracted the attention of Queen Alexandra. As a further mark of esteem, in 1909 the firm was appointed as gem merchant to Australia’s Governor General, the Earl of Dudley.

From the very beginning of the business, they had imported the finest English porcelains, and in later years, established a local reputation for Royal Worcester porcelain decorated with floral studies, after designs by Marian Ellis Rowan. Over the decades, Flavelle, Roberts & Sankey was a worthy competitor to rival businesses like Hardy Bros. and Wallace Bishop, but eventually closed in 1949.

The Antipodean No. 3 (1897) page 28 / Image courtesy: Trove, National Library Australia

The bracelet is on display in the Queensland Art Gallery’s Australian Art Collection, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries (10-13).

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

#QAGOMA

Go back in time to 1885 when Brisbane was a young township

 

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe’s watercolour Houses of Parliament, Brisbane 1885 (illustrated and currently on display at the Queensland Art Gallery) was painted just before the artist left Australia to return to England. We can clearly see Queensland’s Parliament House and other recognisable Brisbane landmarks from across the river in a depiction of the daily life of a port city named after the river that runs through it.

In the spring of 1883, the young British artist sailed to Australia from her family home in Norfolk to join her siblings on a cattle station 396 km west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland, and 769 km north-west of Brisbane — to give an idea of how remote, if you were driving non-stop from Brisbane today it would take over 11 hours. Alpha Station was therefore extremely remote in the 1880s, however it dominated the area and grew to more than 1600 square kilometres by the 1890s. Over two years, Neville-Rolfe recorded life on Alpha in vivid washes of watercolour and sent many of these drawings back to her family in England before she returned.

Neville-Rolfe’s Breakfast, Alpha 1884 (illustrated and currently on display at the Queensland Art Gallery) captures her family at the breakfast table. Floor-length white table linen, fresh wild flowers and silver tableware suggest that Neville-Rolfe’s former English lifestyle and social standing had been successfully transported to the colonies. The artist has captured the rustic nature of the interior of the room, illustrating the corrugated iron roof, exposed rough-sawn beams and slab walls, bullock horns and guns hanging on the wall in a somewhat English view of the harsh Australian outback.

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Breakfast, Alpha’

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850-1928 / Breakfast, Alpha 1884 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 25.3 x 35.4cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe (center front)

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe was the fourth of nine children (clockwise from top left) Marie, Alfred, Charles, Herbert, Harriet Jane (center front), and Margaret / Image courtesy: Norfolk Record Office

Brisbane in 1885

Brisbane was a young township when Neville-Rolfe visited, only becoming a municipality 24 years earlier on 6 June 1859 when Queen Victoria approved the creation of the new colony called Queensland. By the 1880s Brisbane became the main site for commerce in the state, and a capital in waiting until 1901. The mid-1880s also brought a period of economic prosperity through trade, and the major construction boom in Brisbane produced an impressive number of notable public and commercial buildings. As the infrastructure of the Colony of Queensland improved, Brisbane began to acquire facilities that laid the groundwork to become the country’s third largest city.

Looking along the Brisbane River 1885 / ID 436317/ Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

A. Lomer & Co / Panorama of Brisbane River from the Observatory (and detail) c.1885 / 99183857305602061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Parliament House (illustrated) located on a prominent point of the Brisbane River overlooks the city’s Botanic Gardens bounded on three sides by the curving river. The impressive architectural symbol was started in 1864, first occupied in 1868, and finally completed 25 years later. Designed by Charles Tiffin (1833–73), the English architect spent most of his career in Queensland contributing to significant architecture in Brisbane as Government Architect with the Public Works Department. Apart from designing Parliament House he also designed (Old) Government House (1860-62) (illustrated) which accompanies Parliament House at Gardens Point.

Parliament House

Front view of Parliament House, Brisbane from the Botanical Gardens c.1870 / Photograph: Richard Daintree / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

View to Government House from Parliament House

GP Wright, Australia c.1815–91 / Government House and domain from the top of the parliamentary buildings (from ‘Brisbane illustrated’ portfolio) c.1874-79 / Albumen photograph on paper mounted on card / 20 x 24cm (comp.) / Purchased 2005 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

The three-storey Queensland Club (illustrated) on the corner of Alice and George Streets diagonally opposite Parliament House opened in 1884. Designed to provide a recreational venue and accommodation for the private Club established in 1859 when Queensland became a separate colony. Members were mainly politicians due to its proximity to the seat of government, pastoralists, and business owners.

Queensland Club

Queensland Club on the corner of George and Alice Streets, Brisbane 1912 / Photograph courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
Queensland Club tennis court in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in front of Parliament House 1885 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Contemporary depictions of Brisbane

Surviving early depictions of Brisbane such as Neville-Rolfe’s Houses of Parliament, Brisbane 1885 are rare. Of the works dating from the late 19th century that show the same reach of the river, the Panorama of Brisbane 1880 (illustrated and currently on display at the Queensland Art Gallery) by J A (Joseph Augustine) Clarke (1840–90) — Queensland‘s first professional artist and art teacher — and Isaac Walter Jenner’s painting Brisbane from Bowen Terrace, New Farm 1888 (illustrated and currently on display at the Queensland Art Gallery) record the busy life of the colony.

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Houses of Parliament, Brisbane’

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850-1928 / Houses of Parliament, Brisbane 1885 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 17.6 x 25.3cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Joseph Augustine Clarke ‘Panorama of Brisbane’

DELVE DEEPER: JA Clarke’s ‘grand picture’ of Brisbane

Joseph Augustine Clarke, Australia 1840–1890 / Panorama of Brisbane 1880 / Oil on canvas / 137 x 366cm / Collection: Queensland Museum

Isaac Walter Jenner ‘Brisbane from Bowen Terrace, New Farm’

DELVE DEEPER: Go back in time to a busy corner of the Brisbane River

Isaac Walter Jenner, England/Australia 1836-1902 / Brisbane from Bowen Terrace, New Farm 1888 / Oil on board / 14.5 x 21.8cm / Acc. 1995.076 / Purchased 1995. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Landmarks recorded by Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe

The importance of shipping to Brisbane’s commercial life is evident with the heritage buildings still standing at the intersection of Edward and Alice Streets — the reach portrayed by Neville-Rolfe — however most of these buildings we see today were constructed just after the artist departed Brisbane. Here, we delve into the activities that Neville-Rolfe would have witnessed and the buildings recognisable in Houses of Parliament, Brisbane.

Floating Municipal Swimming Baths

With few houses having access to running water, the building of public baths on the Brisbane River provided both safety and modesty. The Metropolitan Baths referenced here were originally moored at Petrie Bight, a sharp curve upstream at the northern end of the Town Reach. Before the construction of new city wharves, the baths were moved downstream to the end of Edward and Alice Streets, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens from 1875 until 1893. The baths can clearly be recognised in both Houses of Parliament, Brisbane and Panorama of Brisbane.

Metropolitan Baths, Brisbane River 1875 / 99183506762902061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
Brisbane River at Petrie Bight at the northern end of the Town Reach overlooking the Metropolitan Baths (lower right) 1875 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Edward Street Ferry Terminal

From 1860 the Edward Street Ferry adjacent to Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and busy wharves ferried passengers from the city’s trading district to Kangaroo Point at Thornton Street. Originally serviced by row boats, by 1887 they were replaced by ferries. Another ferry operated from the Customs House upstream.

Edward Street Ferry service c.1887 / 99183507295202061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
Edward Street Ferry terminal c.1888 / 99183506853802061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Harbours and Marine Building

Still standing today, the two-storey Harbours and Marine Building (1879-80) was erected on the riverbank near slipways, wharves and the Edward Street Ferry Terminal at the corner of Edward and Alice Street which has long been associated with the regulation of shipping. The building provided offices for the harbourmaster, pilots and staff of the Marine Board and Shipping Office and is commonly referred to today as the Port Office. The building can clearly be recognised in both Houses of Parliament, Brisbane and Panorama of Brisbane.

Harbours and Marine Building c.1879 / 99183859234002061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Shamrock Hotel

Situated opposite the Harbours and Marine Building on the corner of Edward and Margaret Streets, the originally named Shamrock Hotel opened in 1864. In 1876 the two-storey timber structure underwent substantial renovations and was rebuilt in masonry with wrap-around verandahs. The name was changed to the Port Office Hotel in 1909 with a new licensee, and references its proximity to the Port Office building.

Shamrock Hotel c.1873 / 99183507198302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
Shamrock Hotel renamed Port Office Hotel after renovations c.1929 / 99183512857002061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

#QAGOMA