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Sydney Harbour looking towards the Heads1848

by Jacob Janssen

Janssen, born in Prussia in 1779, travelled widely — in North and South America, India, Singapore and the Philippines — before arriving in Sydney in 1840, where he lived for the next sixteen years. The influence of his northern European training is evident in his work, which differed significantly from the more pastoral and romantic work of British trained colonial artists like Conrad Martens.

This painting is the work on the right of a two-canvas panorama of Sydney Harbour. This view looks down onto Vaucluse House, while embracing Watsons Bay, North Head, and Manly in the distance. Janssen has also included figures travelling along New South Head Road. These are much more than the usual artist’s embellishment. A working man walks in the direction of South Head, while a gentleman on a horse is returning to Sydney.