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The Weatherboard, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming (1837-1924)


Price
SOLD

Signed
Signed, inscribed with title and 'Alfred P Maudsley', and dated 'August 18th 1875'

Medium
Watercolour with pencil and bodycolour

Dimensions
19 ¼ x 29 ½ inches

Exhibited
'Chris Beetles Summer Show', 2021, No 40

Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming gave an account of her ‘life in the Blue Mountains’ in a letter published in At Home in Fiji (1881). She headed that letter, ‘From a tiny Cottage at the Weatherboard in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Begun Aug 19, 1875’, which was the day after she produced the present watercolour. The account is as follows:

Mr [Alfred P] Maudslay [secretary to Arthur Hamilton-Gordon] and another gentleman escorted me to the Blue Mountains last week, where we put up at a very cosy inn and expeditioned. The gorges with great cliffs are very fine, and the valleys densely wooded. Sometimes we went down into deep gullies with tree-ferns far above our heads – very beautiful. When my two companions had to return to Sydney, I went to the tiny cottage where I began this letter. My host was a wood-cutter, with a clean, tidy wife, and a number of very neat children ... It does seem odd to think of my being so at home, alone in these wild mountains, sitting all day by myself, miles from any human habitation, only seeing a pair of great eagles soaring overhead – no other living thing. (pages 21-22)

The ‘cosy inn’ in which Gordon-Cumming and her companions stayed is undoubtedly the Weatherboard Inn. This was initially constructed in 1827, and took its name from a weatherboard hut, built by convicts in 1814 as a road building depot. Around this hut grew up a township that was officially called Jamison Valley but popularly known as the Weatherboard.
In 1879 – the year of Gordon-Cumming’s visit – it was renamed Wentworth Falls. Her watercolour shows an interesting viewpoint from above the waterfall looking in a southwesterly direction down Jamison Valley. A solitary figure with a drawing board, sitting by the side of the waterfall, may be intended as a self-portrait.


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