Vaucluse1851

by George Edwards Peacock

This view, looking down from New South Head Road, depicts William Charles Wentworth’s Vaucluse House. The square barracks, built in the late 1820s to house the convict servants, are at the centre of the painting. A fete, seen in progress on the lawns, was held by Mr and Mrs George Hill and attended by Governor FitzRoy. It was described in a newspaper account as ‘a most brilliant affair’ with nearly 1000 visitors.

George Peacock has framed this picture with a mess of shrubs and vegetation. But this artistic device also mirrored nature. According to John Rae’s 1843 description in Sydney Illustrated of this same view: ‘The foreground … is composed of some of the wild and tangled shrubbery that abounds on every side along [the road]’.

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, ‘Sydney News’, page 4, 5 March 1851.