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S.T. Gill and Prospect House


Introduction

This article and interactive map adds to our historical understanding of S.T. Gill's pictures of Prospect House of December 1849 and (likely early) 1850.

Appleyard, Fargher and Radford (1986) dealt extensively with these works. So what do I add here? (35 years later I can take advantage of access to high-resolution images and an abundance of online resources.)

I add some detail of time and place – a spatial relationship between the pictures; the Hand and Heart Inn (possibly its only portrayal); a distant Port Adelaide; and an agricultural (not a "desolate"1) landscape. A remnant she-oak is a reminder of what was once there.

I also include another picture (AGSA 0.1347) omitted in 1986.

S.T. Gill's watercolours of a house may (of necessity) lack the life of most of his contemporary works but he makes up for this with fascinating detail, even if it is around the edges.

You can use the interactive map (below) to see the views as Gill saw them. (Click "Open map in full screen".)

Open map in full screen 

Prospect House and Gill's Pictures

Prospect House was a castellated mansion owned by J.B. Graham, a wealthy shareholder and founding director of the South Australian Mining Association. Also known as "Graham's Castle", it was a complex of buildings on section 372 to the east of Lower North Road (now called Churchill Road). Graham added to the original residence of John Richmond by constructing from late 1846 a perimeter wall, coach house, stables, offices and extensive landscaping.

Prospect House is first pictured in S.T. Gill's lithograph of a fete marking the consecration of Christ Church, North Adelaide on 20 December 1849. The lithograph was printed by Penman & Co. and was reported in the press just five days later. Given 300 sat down for lunch (in addition to 300 to 400 children), GIll would have expected a siztable market for his effort.

The print has the artist's portfolio leaning against a folding seat - the artist is ready for business. More business was forthcoming and, possibly on the strength of this picture, Gill was commissioned to paint Graham's property.

In 1850 he painted five watercolours of the house, its expansive landscaped grounds and its setting for its then absent owner. They are a portayal of wealth and taste. Three of the five are views from the roof ("leads") of the house, looking southwest, northwest and east. There are also two ground level views of the house and grounds. The gardens are highlighted, an outstanding feature being the blue copper waste edging of garden beds1.

The manicured landscape included two pyramids on the western side of the grounds (identified as hessian shade structures by Appleyard). They were visible to travellers on the Lower North Road and were described in 1851 as "the two incomprehensible pyramids erected there, which however still stick up in the premises like a couple of gigantic pastiles." Near one pyramid is a large remnant tree. The tree appears to be a she-oak by comparison with another picture so titled by Gill (Dixson Library, SLNSW, DL Pd 132).

Three paintings include the resident greyhound (or kangaroo dog). In another Gill's Newfoundland dog guards his portfolio.

The Property Described

Graham's house and property was thoroughly described when it was put up for sale or let in January 1854: "The House contains a large entrance Hall, Breakfast, Library, Dining-Rooms, Four Rooms on the upper floor, large Kitchen, two Pantries, Washhouse, &c., an Underground Room, excellent Cellarage &c. The Stabling and general accommodation are very complete, consisting of a Four-stalled Stable, Harness-Room, Coach-House, Large Outhouse, Hen-House, &c., &c. Adjacent to the House is a neat Cottage, well adapted for a Nursery; and a small Cottage in the rear of the grounds suitable for a Gardener's residence. The Grounds consist of Fifty-two Acres of Land, thirty-two of which are tastefully laid out as Flower, Fruit, and Kitchen Gardens, Shrubberies, and Enclosed Paddocks, &c., containing a great variety of Trees of the choicest descriptions, and enclosed with a substantial stone wall, with front and back entrances, with folding Gates. The remaining twenty acres of ploughed land are enclosed with a substantial red-railed fence, with Gate, &c. The proximity of this valuable Property to the City, being only about twenty Minutes' drive over a good Road, renders it a most desirable abode for a mercantile or professional gentleman, having to transact business in Adelaide daily."


To see the works, with accompanying notes, just scroll down or jump to the List of Works.

References

Appleyard, Ron. & Fargher, Barbara. & Radford, Ron. & Art Gallery of South Australia. (1986). S.T. Gill : the South Australian years, 1839-1852. Adelaide : Art Gallery of South Australia

Trove list: S.T. Gill's pictures of Prospect House (Graham's Castle) and J.B. Graham ,

Footnotes

1. Fargher in Appleyard et al, 1986, 95-96.


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.

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


Fete at Prospect House, on occasion of the consecration of Christ Church, N. Adelaide, Dec. 20th 1849 | NLA S919

Thumbnail image for NLA S919Fete at Prospect House, on occasion of the consecration of Christ Church, N. Adelaide, Dec. 20th 1849 | National Library of Australia S919 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1849-12-20 | Appleyard cat. 111
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view from the southeast showing a fete held in the grounds of Prospect House and marking the consecration of Christ Church, North Adelaide on 20 December 1849. The governor attended and his four-wheeled carriage is seen at left.

Two distinctive garden pyramids are visible on the west side of the enclosed property. Behind them traffic runs on the Lower North Road. In the distance behind Prospect House is a substantial building with three chimneys on section 372. In the foreground is the artist's portfolio leaning against a folding seat - the artist is ready for business. Possibly on the strength of this picture, Gill was commissioned to further paint Prospect House and gardens for absent owner J.B. Graham.

Below the title is the following: "This print is respectfully dedicated to the Very Revd. the Lord Bishop and Clergy of So. Australia by their obedient and humble servant, Saml. Thos. Gill."

The lithograph was printed by Penman & Co. and was reported on Christmas Day, five days after the fete. Given 300 sat down for lunch (as well as 300 to 400 children), GIll would have expected a profitable market for this work.

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

329 28/08/2021 12:47:04 PM


Prospect House, the seat of J.B. Graham, Esqr., near Adelaide, South Australia | AGSA 0.1348

Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.1348Prospect House, the seat of J.B. Graham, Esqr., near Adelaide, South Australia | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.1348 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1850 | Appleyard cat. 106
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view of Prospect House and property from the northwest. The landscaped gardens are featured with their two pyramids. Gill has added his personal presence by having in the foreground his Newfoundland dog and artist portfolio leaning against a folding seat - the objects being the same as in the lithograph "Fete at Prospect House".

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

156 18/08/2021 1:02:21 PM


Prospect House, the seat of J.B. Graham, Esqr., near Adelaide, South Australia | AGSA 0.1345

Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.1345Prospect House, the seat of J.B. Graham, Esqr., near Adelaide, South Australia | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.1345 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1850 | Appleyard cat. 107
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view of Prospect House and gardens from the southwest. A remnant tree and one of two ornamental pyramids dominate the garden scene. The tree appears to be a she-oak by comparison with another picture so titled by Gill (Dixson Library, SLNSW, DL Pd 132). In the foreground is the resident greyhound (or kangaroo dog). A four wheeled carriage departs from the entrance.

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

145 18/08/2021 1:01:42 PM


View from the Leads of Prospect House, showing west-north-west portion of Garden Grounds | AGSA 0.1349

Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.1349View from the Leads of Prospect House, showing west-north-west portion of Garden Grounds | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.1349 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1850 | Appleyard cat. 109
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view to the north-west from the roof of Prospect House. The landscaped gardens feature along with one of the two pyramids. Below right is a cottage and a larger building. The middle ground shows traffic on the Lower North Road, Also in the middle ground is a substantial building with three chimneys on section 372. On the road with a light out front is John Eldridge's "Hand and Heart" (formerly "Emerald Isle") inn on section 371. On the horizon are ships at Port Adelaide and a couple of large smoking chimney stacks - a hub for Graham's wealth..

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

258 18/08/2021 1:02:30 PM


View from the Leads of Prospect House, looking east | AGSA 0.1347

Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.1347View from the Leads of Prospect House, looking east | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.1347 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1850 | Appleyard cat. n/a
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view to the east from the roof of Prospect House showing the productive food garden. The Mount Lofty Ranges are on the horizon. The resident greyhound (or kangaroo dog) lies outside his kennel.

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

155 18/08/2021 1:02:14 PM


View from the Leads of Prospect House, looking towards Hindmarsh | AGSA 0.1346

Thumbnail image for AGSA 0.1346View from the Leads of Prospect House, looking towards Hindmarsh | Art Gallery of South Australia 0.1346 
Artist: Gill, S.T. | Date: 1850 | Appleyard cat. 108
Catalogue: S.T. Gill and Prospect House

A view to the southwest from the roof of Prospect House towards Hindmarsh. The landscaped gardens feature. At the end of the driveway is a gatehouse, a remnant she-oak and one of the two pyramids. The middle ground shows traffic on the Lower North Road. The distance shows a modified landscape likely under wheat, barley and cattle. Chimney stacks are on the horizon. The resident greyhound (or kangaroo dog) lies outside his kennel.

Map | S. T. Gill - Prospect House

146 18/08/2021 1:01:54 PM



David Coombe, March 2021. Updated 30 September 2021. | text copyright (except where indicated)

CITE THIS: David Coombe, 2021, S.T. Gill and Prospect House, accessed dd mmm yyyy, <http://coombe.id.au/S_T_Gill/S_T_Gill_and_Prospect House.htm>