The shepherdundated

by Samuel Thomas Gill

English-born artist Samuel Thomas Gill arrived in Adelaide with his parents in 1839. His lively and observant watercolours and lithographs were well-regarded, but after being declared bankrupt in 1851, he left for the Victorian goldfields. His often satirical and irreverent watercolour and prints, provide one of the best and most engaging records of colonial life.

This little oil painting — a generic image of bush life — is typical of his light-hearted but often pointed subject matter. A shepherd sleeps beneath a tree, however the bottle at his side suggests that his slumber is not bucolic complacency. The gun, too, hints that colonial shepherds faced more dangers than their English counterparts.