A direct north general view of Sydney Cove…1794

by unknown artist

This 1794 view of Sydney Cove is from George Street, where the current Museum of Contemporary Art is now located. On the back of the painting, in brown paint, is an inscription — ‘Painted immediately from nature by T. Watling’.

However, while the inscription on the reverse clearly links it to convict artist Thomas Watling, he is not known to have painted in oils. As it is painted on professionally prepared canvas, using commercial pigments that were unlikely to be available in the colony, it is likely that it was painted in England, based on a drawing made by Watling in Sydney.