View of the seat of Ultimo, near Sydney, New South Wales


Ultimo House, built in 1804 for the surgeon, John Harris, on the lines of an English country seat, was one of the grandest houses in Sydney. Harris, an important figure in the colony, had been granted the estate by Governor King in recognition of his support for the governor’s attempts to control the trade of alcohol in New South Wales.

Harris attempted to transform the scrubby bush into English parkland, setting out lawns and paths, raising cattle and importing a herd of deer from India. Though he was in London when West’s Views were published in Sydney, the flattering depiction of Ultimo as a gentleman’s picturesque country house replete with a carriage on the drive (clearly influenced by illustrations of grand houses in publications such as the Polite Repository, with added kangaroos) suggests that the plate was perhaps produced with an eye to attracting the business of his friends and allies in the colony.

Forming a pair with the view of Woolloomooloo House and dedicated to the Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, this was the 14th plate in the series of 24 views of New South Wales published by Absalom West, and is part of the King’s Topographical Collection.

Full title:
View of the SEAT of ULTIMO, near SYDNEY, in New South Wales. ; Dedicated to his Excellency Lachlan Macquarie, Esq.r: Governor of New South Wales, &c. &c. &c. / Drawn by J. Eyre. ; Engraved by W. Preston.
1 February 1813, Sydney
Absalom West
Etching / Engraving / View
Walter Preston, John Eyre
© British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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