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View of Sydney

View of Sydney

Artist: Brambila, Fernando

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1793

Shelfmark: KTOP124.43

Item number: 43

Genre: Topographical Drawing

Fernando Brambila was court painter to the Spanish monarch, and was sent as principal artist on a Spanish oceanic expedition led by navigator Alessandro Malaspina. Malaspina had been secretly instructed to report on the new British convict colony at Port Jackson. Before leaving Sydney in April 1793, and as a means of calming British suspicions, Brambila was ordered to prepare this drawing for presentation to the acting governor.

It shows the Spanish rowing ashore opposite what is today the Sydney Opera House. Brambila copied the grouping of aborigines on the right, without acknowledgement, from a drawing by the convict artist Thomas Watling. He must have seen the original painting in the house of Watling's master, the colony surgeon, who had been befriended by the Spaniards.

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