S. T. Gill (STG) ~ 4. Rundle Street, Adelaide, 1845
Episodes: 1. The Controversy | 2. Why is the Sun Shining from the South? (Hindley Street) | 3. Alibis and Mystery | 4. Sunshine and Dating (Rundle Street) | 5. 10 August 1844 | 6. Are They Still Following Me? | 7. Gill’s Newfoundland Dog | 8. A Mystery of Provenance | 9. Man Dead! News Murdered!! | 10. More to Reveal …
That Sun is still Shining from the South! Can we Date Again?
I previously investigated dateable clues in STG’s 1845 painting of Hindley Street. There I concluded an earlier date for that scene – early May 1844. I also commented on the sun shining from the south. So what about this similar 1845 Rundle Street painting? Was that scene also captured in 1844? Can the newspapers again help us?
The watercolour Rundle Street, Adelaide (looking east from King William Street) (1845) is included in the exhibition Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill, at the National Library of Australia (NLA), Canberra, 29 June - 16 October 2016. It is also viewable online via the Art Gallery of South Australia (unfortunately however at insufficient resolution for study). A more studiable version of the original is viewable online via the State Library of South Australia. And yes, the sun is shining from the south in this street too!
I’ve included links to references, including the painting, newspapers and this page, in a Trove list: coombe.id.au - S. T. Gill (STG) ~ 4. Rundle Street.
In this painting, there is a distinctive white two storey building on the near left, which although unsigned, is identifiable. We will get to that later. The sign clues in this street painting, are,
on the left side leading away from the viewer:
Beans Leather Warehouse;
and on the right side:
Starting with the left hand side, George White, tailor, was at this site from May 1843, “Rundle-street, next door to the Register Office”. He seems to be there through 1845.
Next is George Bean of the Thebarton Tannery with his leather shop in Rundle Street. Of some interest is that Bean entered his leather produce into the Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibition – another subject of STG’s brush – in both the February 1844 and February 1845 shows. Incidentally, I come across George Bean every now and then. He was a one time tannery partner of Robert Laundy Ingham, later publican of the Brickmakers’ Arms, Brompton. He was also the employer of a man who sold his wife at auction in 1847 at the Land of Promise, Hindmarsh.
Faulding Chemist is of particular dating interest. Francis Hardy Faulding did not go into business on his own until 1845. A tender was let in January 1845 to build Faulding’s new Rundle Street shop and dwelling. In March, he returned from a Sydney trip in which he obtained supplies. And on 17 May 1845 he started in business. So this indicates the painting was executed some time from May 1845.
I earlier concluded that although Hindley Street was likely painted in 1845, the scene was very likely the subject of preliminary sketching in May 1844. But I find nothing in the Rundle Street scene to similarly push it back to 1844.
And the distinctive white building at left of picture? It housed the office of the South Australian Register newspaper. (Later from 1849 it became known as Beehive Corner.) This is of particular interest. On 6 May 1845, James Allen, the Register’s owner and editor put the newspaper up for sale in advance of his return to England. With Allen selling up to visit England, this was a good time for him to turn his attention to matters other than newspaper publishing. It is known Allen commissioned these two paintings – part of a set of Adelaide scenes – before his departure for England in November 1845.
We can see that Rundle Street was not painted before May 1845 and the combined evidence suggests that STG began the Allen commission around that month.
Interestingly there is a preliminary sketch of part of this Rundle Street painting. It features the “(former) Register Office” and “White, tailor”. And this time the sun is shining more realistically from the west! (detail right) But STG has executed the Rundle Street watercolour, as he did with Hindley Street, to illuminate the side of the street which has the eye’s interest, regardless of solar accuracy.
I still have more to reveal in coming episodes, including a solution to a small mystery.
David Coombe, 10 August 2016
CITE THIS: David Coombe, 2016, S. T. Gill (STG) ~ 4. Rundle Street, Adelaide, 1845, accessed dd mmm yyyy, <http://coombe.id.au/stg/04_Rundle_Street_Adelaide_1845.htm>
or CITE THIS: David Coombe, 2016, S. T. Gill (STG), accessed dd mmm yyyy, <http://coombe.id.au/stg>
10/8/2016 (original), 17/9/2016, 21/7/2018 (updated)