The Founding of Australia. By Capt Arthur Phillip RN Sydney Cove, Jan 26th 17881937

by Algernon Talmage RA

This preparatory oil sketch for a much larger historical recreation of the First Fleet’s first day in Sydney Cove was painted by minor British impressionist Algernon Talmage. It was commissioned by the founder of the Australasian Pioneers Club to celebrate the sesquicentenary of 1938. The finished painting was unveiled at the Royal Academy of the Arts exhibition in London in 1937.

The painting depicts the moment Governor Phillip (in the centre of the painting) proposed a toast to King George III, on the evening of 26 January 1788, the day that the Fleet moved from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove. The painting is a celebration of righteousness and importance of colonisation, and a statement of the power of the British Empire.