# 34377

Anon. [after SAINSON, Louis Auguste de, 1800-1887]

An Aboriginal man of King George’s Sound, Western Australia. Circa 1835.

$3,300.00 AUD

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Watercolour on laid paper with watermark of a horse and rider and pair of scales, 200 x 148 mm (sheet); captioned in ink ‘Nouvelle Hollande’ at bottom left, and with a foliation number ‘184’ in the same hand at bottom right; the sheet is unmounted (verso blank), and the drawing has survived in fine condition – virtually in its original state; removal from a sketchbook at some point is confirmed by the slightly roughened top edge of the sheet, which also shows evidence of the original stitch holes.

This watercolour sketch was made by an anonymous French artist, probably around 1835. It appears to be a conflation of several images by the voyage artist Louis Auguste de Sainson (1800-1887), which depict Indigenous people at King George’s Sound (Albany), Western Australia. Sainson made his sketches in situ in 1826 during the Astrolabe‘s scientific round-the-world voyage under the command of Dumont d’Urville. His drawings were reproduced as engraved plates in Voyage de la Corvette l’Astrolabe (Paris: J. Tastu,1830-35), and elsewhere.

The male figure wears a short animal-skin cloak characteristic of the type worn by the men in Sainson’s King George’s Sound drawings. His arms are outstretched, with the wrists limp and hands downturned, a highly distinctive gesture that appears to have been copied directly from the identical body language of several of the subjects in Sainson’s famous drawing titled Port du Roi Georges. Nouvelle-Hollande. Un naturel montre à ses Compagnons les Cadeaux qu’il a reçus à bord de L’Astrolabe, which depicts an Indigenous man showing his companions the trinkets given to him by the Astrolabe‘s crew.

Furthermore, the way in which the man is shown in full profile, with knees slightly bent, his straggly beard and hair accentuated, is strikingly similar to the manner in which the left-hand figure in Sainson’s Nlle. Hollande. Naturels du port du Roi Georges is posed.

Finally, the native grass tree (Xanthorrhoea australis) is placed at the bottom right of the image, just as it is in Sainson’s Vue d’un Étang près la Baie du Roi Georges.