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The Sailors Return Hotelc 1902

by Sydney Long

Born near Goulburn, New South Wales, in 1871, Sydney Long moved to Sydney to study at the Art Society of NSW School. Taught by Alfred Daplyn and Julian Ashton, Long later became a teacher at the Sydney Art School established by Ashton.

In 1902, works by 37 artists depicting the buildings and streetscapes of The Rocks and Millers Point area, were shown in the exhibition Old Sydney. Julian Ashton had rallied his fellow artists to capture the precinct in paint when it was threatened with wide-scale demolition.

This painting shows the Sailors Return Hotel, on the north-west corner of Harrington Street and Cribbs Lane. Homely details like the washing on the line, the hawker with his baskets and the colour of the local sandstone, provide warmth to this scene, avoiding the grim realism of the government-commissioned photography of the time.