A Western view of Sydney Cove.

Early engraving of ‘Sydney Cove‘, (present day Circular Quay) taken from the junction of Macquarie Street and Albert Street, looking west across to The Rocks. The original drawings for this series of engraving are now lost, and were most likely … Read Full Description


S/N: TECI-NS-003–298268
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Full Title:

A Western view of Sydney Cove.




In good condition.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 179mm

Paper Size: 

x 227mm
A Western view of Sydney Cove. - Antique View from 1798

Genuine antique



Early engraving of ‘Sydney Cove‘, (present day Circular Quay) taken from the junction of Macquarie Street and Albert Street, looking west across to The Rocks.

The original drawings for this series of engraving are now lost, and were most likely produced in the colony by the convict artist Thomas Watling sometime between 1794 and 1796 and later redrawn by Edward Dayes for the London engraver Francis Jukes. Watling worked for the Surgeon-General John White and later for David Collins, Judge-Advocate and Secretary to the Governor. Collins had a close relationship with Governor Phillip and his role of keeping official records and drafting dispatches made him very well-informed to document the state of the colony. His account of the first eight years of the colony is arguably the most comprehensive of all early publications on the subject. From Collins’s An account of the English colony in New South Wales. View of Sydney Cove (modern-day Circular Quay) from near Dawes Point looking South along George Street. The first Government House, originally built for Arthur Philip from canvas and timber brought from England, can be seen on the left. The residence was used by the first eight governors of the colony before being demolished in 1845-6.

From David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales.

Ferguson, J. A. Bibliography of Australia Volumes 1-8, Canberra 1976 263 -350.
Crittenden, V. A Bibliography Of The First Fleet. ACT 1982 69 & 70.
Hill, J. The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages. San Diego 1974 335.
McCormick, T. Sydney views 1788-1888,  item 5 ill pg 32

National Library Australia: Bib ID 2284639
State Library New South Wales: Q79/60 v. 1
State Library Victoria: RARELTF 919.44 C69A

Thomas Watling (1762 - 1806)

Watling was a convict and artist, born in Dumfries, his parents died during his infancy and he was brought up by a maiden aunt. His education, which was well above average, obviously included a thorough grounding in art and eventually he formed his own 'academy'. In 1788 he was charged with forging guinea notes on the Bank of Scotland. He denied his guilt, but rather than risk conviction and execution he asked to be transported and was sentenced to fourteen years.  In July 1791 Watling was one of 410 convicts who sailed in the convict transport the Pitt for New South Wales. He escaped at Cape Town, but was soon arrested by the Dutch, imprisoned and taken aboard the Royal Admiral, in which he reached Sydney on 7 October 1792. He appears to have been assigned almost immediately to the surgeon-general, John White, an ardent naturalist, who made extensive use of his artistic skill. When White left the colony in December 1794 it is thought that Watling may have been assigned to the judge-advocate, David Collins.   Watling's prospects improved with the arrival of Governor John Hunter, himself an enthusiastic and able artist. Within a year, in September 1796 Watling was given a conditional pardon and on 5 April 1797 it was made absolute. While in the colony Watling had a son, presumably by a convict woman, and when he left Sydney he took the child with him. From 1801 to 1803 he lived in Calcutta, earning a precarious living as a miniature painter. He returned to Scotland and on 10 January 1806 was tried at Edinburgh for a series of forgeries allegedly committed at Dumfries between November 1804 and March 1805. He was discharged on a verdict of 'not proven'. Later he moved with his son to London where, in indigent circumstances and suffering from cancer of the left breast, he applied to Hunter, now an admiral, for help and received some assistance from members of the Royal Academy. Neither the date nor place of his death are known. Ref: Source ADB

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