State Library of NSW
Signatures / Inscriptions
Title (below image) translated: Savages from New South Wales, from real life in their camp close to Sydney, 20 December 1819
Inscription (upper left) translated: Tara / soft black hair (oily) / red-black colour / old black garment / tattoos on the chest and hump / dark shaped iris
Inscription (upper right) translated: Perva / red coat, dirty / yellow collar / soft black hair / red-black colour / round shaped iris
The drawing has partial inscriptions at lower section.
Pellion, a topographical artist and mid-shipman, was a member on the Louis de Freycinet French expedition which visited Sydney in November and December 1819. In late November 1819 Pellion, with two French companions, set out for the recently established town of Bathurst.
Pellion's drawing of Tara and Perva inscribed with aide memoirs and colour notes strongly implies that these were made from life. It appears the drawing originally had modesty flaps covering the genitalia. In the official account of the expedition, Tara is said to be from the Nepean district. See Plate 100 `Nlle. Hollande: Port-Jackson. Sauvages des environs de la riviere Nepean. 1. Jedat; 2. Tara; 3. Nemare' in: `Voyage autour du monde : fait par ordre du roi sur les corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les annes 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820 : Atlas historique / par Mrs. JS. Arago, A. Pellion &c'. Paris : Chez Pillet An, Imprimeur-Libraire, 1825.
`Tara [&] Perva / pen and ink portrait of two Aboriginal men by Alphonse Pellion' (PXD 923/1) in: `Drawings and etchings of Nepean and Springwood Aboriginal men by and after Alphonse Pellion, 1819' which seems to be a later version probably made in preparation for publication (although never published).
Also from the same collection: `Preparatory drawings and etchings at various states for the plate 'Nlle Hollande. Port-Jackson. Sauvages des environs de la riviere Nepean. 1. Jedat; 2. Tara; 3. Nemare' / Alphonse Pellion (PXD 923/3-5) which shows Tara, derived from Pellion's unpublished full-length portraits of Tara & Perva. -- Curator's acquisition notes, Feb 2005, ML 04/995
Another field drawing by Pellion with the same title and date is held at SV/119.