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S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome


SUMMARY: The Gill pictures of (then) Captain E.C. Frome, Surveyor-General and Colonial Engineer. Frome himself was a decent artist. A significant collection of the works he owned passed through family to the (then) Royal Empire Society and such provenance is the main aspect connecting Frome with these works by Gill.

Article type: CATALOGUE


Edward Charles Frome (1802-1890)

Frome in South Australia, 1839 to 1849

Edward Charles Frome (1802-1890), captain in the Royal Engineers, was the Surveyor-General and Colonial Engineer of South Australia. He arrived in Adelaide in September 1839.

Notable among Frome's travels as Surveyor-General, were:

It was unfortunate that on Frome's 1843 expedition he lost "his sketch-book (which contained some sketches of very beautiful scenes) and his drawing materials, which were accidentally destroyed by fire."1 Fortunately the sketches of fellow expeditioner James Henderson survive.

As Colonial Engineer, Frome was responsible for bridge building.

THE FROME BRIDGE.
YESTERDAY, at two o'clock the interesting ceremony took place of opening the fine bridge which has been recently built over the Torrens, opposite to Pultney-street, under the direction of Capt. Frome, Surveyor General and Colonial Engineer, to whom both on account of its light elegant appearance, and substantial character, it does much credit. His Excellency and Mrs Grey, accompanied by A. M. Mundy, Esq., Private Secretary, together with Capt. Frome, Capt. Sturt, and a numerous company of highly interested spectators, were present. Mrs Grey performed the ceremony of naming the bridge by breaking the bottle in the usual way : she was pleased to call it "The Frome Bridge," in honor of our talented Colonial Engineer. His Excellency, Mrs Grey, and the Private Secretary, passed along the bridge on horseback, and Capt. Frome, Capt. Sturt, and others, in carriages. The bridge is now, we believe, open to the public.2

Frome Bridge was a repeated subject for Gill. Prominent in every one of these is a large tree trunk, roots intact, in the water. This seems to have been quite a notable tree trunk.

Many of our readers will doubtless remember to have seen near the north end of Frome Bridge, a massive portion of an enormous gum tree, which was removed to give place to the bridge in 1841. The tree, in its natural position, had once been fired by the natives, and its exterior was much charred; but the cross-cutting exhibited great solidity of texture, and a subsequent examination, unusual beauty of grain. A saw pit was therefore sank beneath the prostrate trunk of this giant of the forest; and several huge slices were taken off. His Excellency and Captain Frome each had portions of the wood wrought up into small articles of furniture, which were found susceptible of a very high polish, and have been much admired. Some specimens of the wood will be sent by his Excellency to the British Museum, and the remainder of the log has, we understand, been presented to Captain Bagot, at whose expense, and with the assistance of twelve bullocks, the ponderous mass has been removed to the building yard of Mr Jacob Pittman, Rundle-street, there to be sawed into four inch stuff ... where it is destined to undergo the process of elaborate carving in the first style of art. Appropriate drawings will accompany it to assist the artist in his durable representations of native scenery, implements of war, and the chase; and a semi-panoramic series of corroboree groups of natives in characteristic attitude and attire. Our readers will be pleased and delighted to learn that a distinguished locale is contemplated for the intended costly work of art, being no other than a place behind the throne, in the new House of Lords.3

When Frome left South Australia on 20 February 1849 he took with him Gill's watercolour of the bridge that bore his name, as well as several other pictures.

Six Sectional Sketches at the Kapunda Copper Mine

Frome's art collection included six wash drawings by Gill dated February 1849 of the Kapunda copper mine.

The mine began operations in 1844. In 1846 it was still limited to surface mining. "The underground workings are for the greater part suspended in consequence of the insufficiency of the principal whim machinery for keeping under the water, and the non-arrival of a steam engine ordered from England by the proprietors."4 The long awaited steam engine arrived in September 1847, but it was a year before it was operating. "The mine is now in excellent working trim, and as the steam-engine is in full work, discharging ninety gallons of water per minute, there will be no hindrance to the operations of the mine to almost any extent for many years to come."5

Soon after, Gill executed six wash drawings showing the general situation at Kapunda. Gill took particular note of the new steam engine and engine house, the other machinery and the many buildings. The pictures are dated 10 and 12 February 1849, a Saturday and a Monday, suggesting Gill took the Sunday off! At the time Frome was getting ready to return to England, so it seems unlikely that he would've accompanied Gill on this trip.

The purpose of the six sketches is unknown. However Gill's notes suggest an intention to subsequently develop these views in watercolour or print.

Frome's Art Collection

Frome was also a decent artist. His personal art collection was donated to the Royal Colonial Institute (later Royal Empire Society, then Royal Commonwealth Society). "In 1929 Frome's surviving daughter, Mrs Frank Wynne, presented some of the South Australian drawings to the Royal Empire Society through the good offices of Sir Harry Wilson, to whom she bequeathed the rest of the collection. He presented it to the society in 1931 ... In 1970, all of Frome's Australian artwork was sold to the Art Gallery of South Australia and Australian pieces by other artists he had acquired were sold at auction." (Source: Cambridge University Library – see References below.)

Three NLA watercolours (R34, R35 and R241) were bought for Australia by Sir Harry Wilson around the same time. Library records show they were all purchased by Sir Henry Francis Wilson K.C.M.G (1859-1937) for the Commonwealth of Australia (date unknown). Wilson was Secretary of the Royal Colonial Institute (1915-21). He was made a K.C.M.G. on 3 June 1919. Although the date of his donation is unknown, it would appear likely to have been around 1931 when he gave other Frome pictures to the Royal Empire Society. Perhaps he purchased these three from the estate of Frome's daughter after her death in 1930. This provenance suggests it's likely the three were painted originally for Frome. The picture dates (1844~/1845~) and subjects are consistent with that conclusion.


References

Watercolours and drawings of Edward Frome, GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 40. Cambridge University Library. https://archivesearch.lib.cam.ac.uk/repositories/2/resources/141 Accessed September 14, 2021.

Auhl, Ian. & Frome, Edward Charles. & Marfleet, Denis. & Henderson, James. & Hawker, George Charles. (1977). Journey to Lake Frome 1843 : paintings and sketches by Edward Charles Frome and James Henderson. Blackwood, S.A : Lynton Publications


Notes

1. Southern Australian, 25 August 1843: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71617756>
2. Southern Australian, 19 August 1842: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71621870>
3. Adelaide Observer, 29 June 1844: 5. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158918756>
4. South Australian Register, 28 November 1846: 4. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27454346>
5. South Australian, 19 September 1848: 2. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71612458>


List of Works

You can scroll down to see all pictures along with detailed notes or click a link to jump to a specific work from the list.

Detailed notes each include a link to the map location for the view (where available).

Dates in the descriptive text are generally in yyyy-mm-dd format and more specifically in Extended Date/Time Format (EDTF) .

1844 – 1845


Six Sectional Sketches at the Kapunda Copper Mine


1844 – 1845

[Mounted bushrangers fleeing police near Myponga Plains] | NLA R34

Thumbnail image for NLA R34(Two Riders) | National Library of Australia R34 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1844~/1845~ | Appleyard cat. 17
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1844-1845)

Two men ride furiously atop a hill or ridge heading in the direction of a plain. One man holds a gun as he rides. They are not stockmen; it seems more likely they're bushrangers fleeing from the mounted police.

This image is similar to the human and equine characters of "Bushmen, So. [i.e. South] Australia" NLA NK7063/8 (1849) but here a gun is at the ready.

In subject matter and approximate date this picture seems related to "Mounted Police chasing Bushrangers who've come overland from Port Phillip to Lake Albert, South Australia" (NLA NK2043). That picture may correspond to a group of four prisoners who escaped from Melbourne Gaol, together with their guard from the 80th Regiment, in March 1843. They were reportedly making their way to Adelaide. One was captured at the Murray crossing near Wellington.

This picture was titled "Scene near the Missunga Plains" when it was reproduced in a 1920 article of the journal of the Royal Colonial Institute (later Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), London, (Moore 1920) next to an RCS Gill picture, "Native Sepulchre, Missunga Plains", which likely belonged to E.J. Eyre. Missunga is a London mistranscription of Myponga, suggesting the scene is intended to be the Myponga Plains (Fleurieu Peninsula).

Provenance: Sir Henry Francis Wilson K.C.M.G (1859-1937) for the Commonwealth of Australia (date unknown but c.1931) likely from E.C. Frome.

Gill uses this signature style around late 1844 / early 1845.

The reverse is not accessible.

34


[Tanunda Creek, South Australia] | NLA R241

Thumbnail image for NLA R241[Tanunda Creek, South Australia] | National Library of Australia R241 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1844~/1847~ | Appleyard cat. n/a
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1844-1845)

A waterfall on Tanunda Creek in the Barossa. It's possible Gill may have sketched this while out for J.H. Angas in October 1844.

Gill exhibited a painting of this title at both the 1847 and 1848 art exhibitions.

Provenance: Sir Henry Francis Wilson K.C.M.G (1859-1937) for the Commonwealth of Australia (date unknown but c.1931) likely from E.C. Frome.

Map | S. T. Gill - South eastern South Australia

110


Frome Bridge | NLA R35

Thumbnail image for NLA R35Frome Bridge | National Library of Australia R35 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1844~/1845~ | Appleyard cat. n/a
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1844-1845)

Frome Bridge on the Torrens River opened on 18 August 1842. It was located on a bend opposite Pulteney Street. In the foreground is the rocky ford below the bridge, near which is a distinctive log from flood debris.

This was Adelaide's main watering place. At left a water cart departs and a colonist is at the edge of the river with a jug and cooling his feet at the fording place.

Provenance: Sir Henry Francis Wilson K.C.M.G (1859-1937) for the Commonwealth of Australia (date unknown but c.1931) likely from E.C. Frome.

Gill uses this signature style around late 1844 / early 1845.

Map | S. T. Gill - Adelaide

109


Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibition, Adelaide 1845 | AGSA 20044P19

Thumbnail image for AGSA 20044P19(Agricultural and Horticultural Show, Adelaide 1845) | Art Gallery of South Australia 20044P19 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1845-02 | Appleyard cat. 70
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1844-1845)

The Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibition was held in Adelaide on Friday 14 February 1845 on the Park Lands to the northeast of the city. This is a front view of the exhibition showing the 120 foot long main pavillion and three smaller marquees set amongst the gum trees.

Gill painted front views such as this one and also rear views showing the carriage entrance. The other front views are a wash and watercolour for James Allen.

This painting was in the album of Captain E.C. Frome, Royal Engineers, who was a judge at this show in the categories of Wool and Domestic Manufactures. This painting was likely painted by Gill for Frome in 1845 and the central top-hatted figure speaking to two soldiers is likely Frome himself.

This painting is signed STG lower left and the "Gill" at lower right is likely a later addition.

This painting was in E.C. Frome's album of sketches, see <https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-961886891/view>.

Map | S. T. Gill - Adelaide

239


Approach to Mount Crawford | AGSA 744HP4

Thumbnail image for AGSA 744HP4Approach to Mount Crawford | Art Gallery of South Australia 744HP4 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1845/1848 | Appleyard cat. 20
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1844-1845)

The view is just off a track before it bends and drops on approach to the hill, Mount Crawford, about 30 miles northeast of Adelaide. A cart and people are on the road.

There is a prominent gum tree at right, and of interest are the honeysuckle trees at left. Gill identifies this tree in his captioning of "Honeysuckle tree & native dog" (NLA NK7073/4). It is Banksia marginata which occurs in the Mount Crawford area, although Gill's renditions are more artistic than botanical. The scene is almost identical to the watercolour vignette NLA NK2042.

The painting is not yet available in the online AGSA catalogue. The link and image here are from Frome's album on AJCP microfilm (NLA).

This painting was in E.C. Frome's album of sketches, see <https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-961886891/view>. Frome returned to England in February 1849.

Map | S. T. Gill - South eastern South Australia

143


Six Sectional Sketches at the Kapunda Copper Mine

No. 1, engine house &c., Sectional Sketches, Kapunda C[opper] Mine, | AGSA 7110D8

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D8Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 1, engine house | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D8 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-12
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 1 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

The engine house and chimney in operation at Kapunda copper mine. In front are piles of shaft timbers (or wood for the engine). Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development in colour.

Ths view is described in detail in Drew (2017) and includes an explanation of the elevated structures: "The tall posts carry the winding chain to the headframe, and the pivoted posts at an incline supported flat rods which powered the pumps in the shaft."
Reference: Drew, Greg. and Bagot, Hervey. and Kapunda Mining Company. Captain Bagot's mine : Kapunda mine 1844-1916 / G.J. Drew Greg Drew [Belair, South Australia] 2017

387 19/09/2021 11:03:20 AM


No. 2 Sectional Sketch, Kapunda C[opper] Mine | AGSA 7110D9

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D9Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 2 | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D9 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-12
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 2 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

View of the mine workings and machinery with other buildings in the background. Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development.

238 15/09/2021 12:38:32 PM


No. 3 Sectional Sketch, Kapunda C[opper] Mine | AGSA 7110D10

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D10Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 3 | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D10 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-12
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 3 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

View of the mine workings and machinery, including the horse whim, with other buildings in the background. Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development.

This is a similar view to Gill's 1845 watercolour for James Allen. Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.942Kapunda Mine 1845 | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.942

391 15/09/2021 12:52:35 PM


No. 4 Kapunda C[opper] Mine, Cottages & offices | AGSA 7110D11

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D11Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 4, cottages and offices | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D11 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-10
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 4 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

View of the mine cottages and offices with two Aboriginal people and scattered tree stumps in the foreground. Insets show the powder store and a brick building which is obscured in the main picture. Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development.

The long buildings (and seemingly the cottage) also appear in the background of the watercolour for James Allen. Kapunda Mine 1845 | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.942

392 15/09/2021 12:49:16 PM


No. 5 Sectional Sketch, Kapunda C[opper] Mine | AGSA 7110D12

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D12Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 5 | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D12 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-12
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 5 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

View of the mine workings and machinery, including chimney and the horse whim, with other buildings in the background. Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development.

393 15/09/2021 12:38:50 PM


No. 6 Sectional Sketch, Kapunda C[opper] Mine | AGSA 7110D13

Thumbnail image for AGSA 7110D13Kapunda copper mine, sectional sketch no. 6 | Art Gallery of South Australia 7110D13 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-02-12
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome (1849)

No. 2 of six "sectional sketches" of Kapunda copper mine.

View of the mine workings and machinery with two chimneys and a building in the background. Bullock drays are ready to take away ore. At right foreground is a pipe-smoking observer, possibly the artist himself. Captioned and dated by Gill, with artist notes seemingly for later development.

394 15/09/2021 12:38:59 PM



David Coombe, September 2021. | text copyright (except where indicated)
Updated 24 November 2021

CITE THIS: David Coombe, 2021, S.T. Gill and E.C. Frome, accessed dd mmm yyyy, <http://coombe.id.au/S_T_Gill/S_T_Gill_and_E_C_Frome.htm>