21 November, 2018

Old Saint Mary's : 5

Old Saint Mary's Cathedral Sydney
Sketch  of  Saint  Mary's  Cathedral  c. 1835
Image : National Library of Australia.
This rare image, by the artist Robert Russell, was drawn in Hyde Park, looking across to Old Saint Mary's.  It was sketched just at the time that John Bede Polding OSB arrived in Australia as the first Catholic bishop.

This is an eccentric view of the old Cathedral, its squat proportions being presented in a much more "mediaeval" style.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography's essay on Russell reveals that before immigrating to the Colony of NSW in 1833, he had trained and worked as an architect in Edinburgh.  In Australia he worked mainly as a surveyor.

Since the quality of the drawing is quite good, we should assume that the Russell deliberately tried to "improve" the appearance of the building for the purposes of his sketch, by "correcting" the proportions.  In this he succeeded admirably.

In the park, labourers are at work, possibly convicts.


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