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Northern entrance to Burrangalong Cavern (Abercrombie Caves), near Bathurst, New South Wales1843-49

by Conrad Martens

In 1843, Conrad Martens travelled through rough country south of Bathurst to paint the Abercrombie Caves. Depicting sombre, romantic aspects of nature, they were not popular with Martens’ Sydney clients when first shown at the 1849 exhibition of the Society for the Promotion of Fine Arts in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald on 2 June 1849 contained this review: ‘It is to be lamented that this clever artist does not keep his eccentricities under proper control. The drawing in each is harsh and rude beyond necessity, and the shadows are mere darkness’.