Government House Sydney NSW from the statue of Sir Richard Bourkec 1845

by George Edwards Peacock

Sir Richard Bourke was a popular governor of New South Wales, serving between 1831 and 1837. His statue, unveiled in April 1842, is generally considered to be the first work of public art in the colony. 

At the ceremony Governor Gipps remarked that the view from the site (at the top of the Botanic Garden) was equal in beauty and loveliness to any other in the world. Later relocated, Bourke’s statue now stands in front of the Mitchell Library.

Conrad Martens quickly saw the potential of the view — his first painting from this spot was completed 1842. George Peacock followed suit, painting it in a number of variations. This particular view concentrates as much on the recently completed Government House, as it does on the Harbour.