Important Australian + International Fine Art
26 August 2015


(1855 - 1924, Scottish/Australian)

watercolour on paper

41.0 x 70.0 cm

signed and dated lower right: J. CAMPBELL PERTH. 1903

$25,000 - 35,000
Sold for $36,600 (inc. BP) in Auction 40 - 26 August 2015, Sydney

John Roberts collection, Perth
Corporate Collection, Perth

Catalogue text

Regarded as one of Western Australia's most important turn of the century artists, John Campbell recorded in detail, city buildings, breweries, churches and residential properties from around 1903. Detailed images depicting the development of Perth buildings and infrastructure included A view of Perth Railway Station, 1903. This choice of an inner city architectural subject was in sharp contrast to the popular landscape and bush subjects celebrating national identity.

As an artist who was never recorded as exhibiting or being involved with art societies, John Campbell sought commissions beyond his occupation as sign-writer and decorator. Favourite subjects for Campbell were Perth's two main breweries - the Stanley Brewery and the Swan Brewery.

'The Swan Brewery began business in 1857 on river frontage in St George's Terrace before moving in 1897 to the base of Mt. Eliza [Mounts Bay Road].The new building was designed by architect Joseph Talbott Hobbs to look like an English castle'.1 Compared with another 1904 version of Swan Brewery by Campbell, which includes both a horse drawn and a new steam driven dray, this earlier 1903 work features only the horse drawn dray. 'Clydesdales were a daily sight, with both drivers and horses wearing hats in summer...Swan's stable of twenty-four Clydesdale horses, and the stable hands who lived at the brewery, were gradually replaced by steam engines.'2

1. Chapman, B., The Colonial Eye: A topographical and artistic record of the life and landscape of Western Australia 1798-1914, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1979, p. 103
2. Ibid.