State Library of NSW
Corroboree at Newcastlec.1818
This painting is attributed to Joseph Lycett, although it has often said to have been by Major James Wallis, on the grounds of its comparative closeness to a plate in Wallis's "Australian Views" "Corrobborree of dance of the Natives of New South Wales New Holland".
Stylistically it accords with Lycett's watercolour album in the National Library "Drawings of the natives & scenery of Van Diemens Land, 1830" : see plates such as "Aborigines resting by camp fire, near the mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle, N.S.W". It also resembles plates in his publication "Views in Australia", London, 1824
The frame on this work appears to have been put on it by Sir William Dixson after he purchased it from A.H. Spencer in September 1937: see Spencer to Dixson 26 August 1937 DL Mss Add 889. The frame, however, probably dates from the mid-nineteenth century.
Spencer possibly purchased this painting from the Museum Book Store 19 August 1937 for 22 pounds, where it was described as "Painting of a Corrobborree on a panel" : see State Library of Victoria A.H. Spencer papers MSS 12361 Box 3167/3 invoices 1929-1937 (Mitchell Library microfilm copy at MAV/FM4/10778-10779)