City and Harbour of Sydney New South Wales from above Vauclusec 1855

by George Edwards Peacock

By the mid-1850s, George Peacock’s convict history appears to have been forgotten, and he was able to attract important commissions. This, the largest of all Peacock’s surviving oils, is captured from what is now Vaucluse Reservoir. 

Henrietta Villa, built by Captain John Piper on Point Piper in the late 1810s, can be seen to the left. St James’ spire is silhouetted against the skyline and Shark Island appears in the middle. The Aboriginal figures were probably included to identify the scene as Australian, rather than because they were observed by Peacock.

The painting was owned by wealthy pastoralist and politician Gideon Lang, who took it with him on his return to England in 1858.