MEDIA RELEASE- Newcastle Art Gallery
Newcastle locals will be among the first to connect with a priceless piece of Australia’s colonial history when a series of extraordinarily rare and beautiful paintings from the 1790s – acquired by the State Library of NSW – are unveiled at the Newcastle Art Gallery on 14 February, from 11am – 12pm.
The State Library’s Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, will give a free public talk where he’ll reveal the remarkable story of how six elaborately bound albums, holding over 700 richly detailed drawings and paintings of local plants, birds and fish, languished almost forgotten in an English Earl’s library for over 100 years.
“We hope that people viewing these stunning artworks up-close will get a sense of the excitement the Europeans felt over 200 years ago when they eagerly sought to discover, record and understand the uniqueness of Australia’s natural world,” says Richard Neville, who will share two of the six albums with Newcastle residents.
“The two albums on show are the most beautiful from the collection, and they tell an amazing story from our past,” says Mr Neville.
Richard Neville’s talk could almost be seen as the precursor to a major exhibition which similarly contains striking works that tell an important story of our past. Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie Era, a collection of the most historically important artefacts of colonial era Newcastle ever brought together, will open on March 2 and features works from both the Gallery and State Library’s collections. Treasures of Newcastle is the product of collaboration between two institutions eager to see key historic pieces return to public view in Newcastle.
The TAL & Dai-ichi- Life Collection was purchased with the significant financial support of life insurance specialists and its parent company Dai-ichi- Life, the State Government and the State Library of NSW Foundation. It is freely accessible on the State Library of NSW website with the works of art from all six albums on display in vivid high-resolution detail – http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/natural_world/derby/index.html
Two albums will also travel to Wollongong City Gallery (7 March), Hawkesbury Regional Gallery (8 May) and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (22 May) ahead of a major exhibition at the State Library of NSW in early 2014.
To book for the free talk by Richard Neville on Thursday 14 February, 11am to 12noon, please contact Newcastle Art Gallery on 4974 5100.
Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie Era is on in the Art Gallery2 March – 5 May 2013.
Lucy Costello- Gallery Assistant, Marketing and PR