The Painters

These views by a popular London-based landscape artist of the great goldfields cities, Ballarat and Bendigo, commissioned by the Victorian colonial authorities for display in the Victorian Court of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held in South Kensington in 1886.

The theme of the exhibition was ‘progress’, with a clear sub text of ‘British-led progress’ and these images were obviously meant to convey the prosperity of the newest cities in the furthest flung parts of the Empire, and it was close to miraculous to consider that the view in this painting was of a city merely 35 years old.

Meadows never visited Australia – to create the view, he would have used photographs of the main buildings as well as maps and plans of the city. He would have used standard architectural principles to create an isometric image based on a notional vantage point perhaps a kilometre above the south side of the city. His lack of local knowledge becomes clear when one perceives his failure to depict the steep escarpment to the east of Lydiard Street.