C1845

Twelve views in Adelaide and its vicinity, South Australia.

Frederick Robert Nixon’s very rare set of twelve views of Adelaide published in 1845. Only ninety three Adelaide residents subscribed to the views at a price of of one Guinea. Nixon’s Views, is the earliest South Australian plate book and … Read Full Description

$A 9,500

S/N: TVIA-001-NIXON–359298
(BC03)
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Details

Full Title:

Twelve views in Adelaide and its vicinity, South Australia.

Date:

C1845

Condition:

Original paper wrapper cover with paper loss which has been reinstated. Heavy spotting to one plate, the other plates in good condition.

Technique:

Etchings

Paper Size: 

280mm 
x 215mm
AUTHENTICITY
Twelve views in Adelaide and its vicinity, South Australia. - Antique Book from 1845

Genuine antique
dated:

1845

Description:

Frederick Robert Nixon’s very rare set of twelve views of Adelaide published in 1845. Only ninety three Adelaide residents subscribed to the views at a price of of one Guinea. Nixon’s Views, is the earliest South Australian plate book and of considerable historical significance.

Small oblong quarto, brown paper Contained in a maroon portfolio with the bookplate of the famous Australian book collector, Rodney Davidson. Nixon’s views are  a topographical important record of Adelaide before the Gold Rushes.

As the author of Australian Rare Books 1788-1900, Jonathon Wantrup states on p.308 of his standard reference on Australian book collecting states; ‘Nixon’s work is so rare that it cannot be considered essential to a collection. What can be said is that a collector should consider it essential not to let any copy pass him by without a hard fight.’ 

 

 

References:
Ferguson, J. A. Bibliography of Australia Volumes 1-8, Canberra 1976: 4124.
Carroll, A. Graven Images in the Promised Land / A History of Printmaking in South Australia 1836-1981. Adelaide 1981: p.17, ill. item 20 & 21.
Wantrup, J. Australian Rare Books. Sydney 1987: #233, p.307-308.
Butler, Printed Images in Colonial Australia 1801-1901: p.89, ill. p.90.


Collections:
National Gallery Australia: 2006.51.1-12
National Library Australia: Bib ID 1611394
State Library New South Wales: Call number DSM/Q983.1/5A3
State Library South Australia: no. 5187, Incomplete? Two copies containing only 8 illustrations and lacking title page are linked to this record.
State Library Victoria: RARELT 919.42 N65

Frederick Robert Nixon (1817 - 1860)

Nixon was a cartoonist, sketcher, etcher, journalist and surveyor, born in England. Appointed an assistant surveyor for South Australia in 1837, he arrived at Port Adelaide on 15th May 1838 and took up his duties in the Surveyor-General’s Office the following month. The appointment was brief. In a disagreement with Deputy-Surveyor George Kingston separate from that which saw most of the surveying staff resign, Nixon relinquished his post on 18 July 1838. Subsequently reinstated on 17 October 1838, he was appointed surveyor with the assurance of fieldwork, the issue over which he had resigned. On 16 March 1841 he became superintendent of emigrant working parties. Nixon remained with the government for the rest of his time in Adelaide, applying to join the local police force in November 1845. He purchased land in 1841-45 on which in 1843 he constructed the second windmill in South Australia. Then, on 10 May 1846, Nixon and a 'female friend’ slipped quietly out of Adelaide in the Roseanna, bound for Mauritius. He published Sketches in Mauritius in 1848 and for about ten years (1850-60) worked there as a surveyor. In March 1853, when was said to be aged thirty-six, he was appointed guardian of woods and forest. According to records in Mauritius, he died in 1860 while absent on leave. While in South Australia he contributed articles to local newspapers and magazines and was a friend of the influential citizen and art patron Thomas Wilson. A staunch opponent of convictism. Nixon was known as a draughtsman in Adelaide, but he had had to teach himself etching techniques and skills. When the South Australian of 21 February 1845 noted the publication of his Views on Adelaide and its Vicinity (Adelaide 1845), it commented: 'As Mr Nixon is self-taught in his art and had to manufacture all his machinery for preparing and pressing his etchings, he deserves the greatest credit for his industry, perseverance and skill’. The twelve views, which cost one guinea and included plates such as The South Australia Company’s Mill on the Torrens and Port Adelaide in 1845, Mount Lofty in the Distance , were initially favourably received. The South Australian felt the etchings to be superior works of art which 'accurately as well as pleasingly depict the scenes which they represent’. The South Australian Register of 28 January 1845 noted, however, that 'although not equal to what might be brought out in London, they are very creditable colonial productions’. However, he was injudicious in his comments on George French Angas ' exhibition, held in Adelaide on 17 June 1845, writing that Angas’ watercolours were 'essentially limited’. He thought it a pity that 'another artist of less celebrity but real talent’, S.T. Gill , had not undertaken the landscapes for the publication South Australia Illustrated . The next day the South Australian Register strongly rebuked him: 'Mr N.F.R. is known to be Mr F.R. Nixon who some time ago practised a gross imposition on the colonists by the publication of twelve views around Adelaide at a guinea, which were not intrinsically worth a farthing’.

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