Important Australian + International Fine Art
26 August 2015


(1801 - 1878)

oil on canvas

45.5 x 64.0 cm

signed and dated lower left: C. Martens 1853

$200,000 - 300,000
Sold for $161,040 (inc. BP) in Auction 40 - 26 August 2015, Sydney

Mr William Carter, the artist's father-in-law, Sydney, acquired directly from the artist
H. Watson, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Leger Galleries, London (label attached verso)
Hanson Australia (formerly Pioneer International) Collection, Sydney


Martens' Account Book, 22 April 1853, 'Sydney from Robinsons [sic] Point, 29 by 18ins', purchased by Mr Carter for 15 guineas (We are indebted to Elizabeth Ellis for details of early provenance)
Ellis, E., Conrad Martens: Life and Art, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 1994, pp. 53, 200

Catalogue text

The following paragraph is quoted from Ellis, E., Conrad Martens: Life and Art, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 1994, p. 200

'Robertson's Point, now known as Cremorne Point, was then named for an early occupant, James Robertson, father of the politician, Sir John Robertson. In 1853 Robertson sold the land to James Milson, who leased the site to H. Woolcott, draughtsman and later Town Clerk of Sydney, his business partner, the publisher, J.R. Clarke, and the actor and merchant, Joseph Simmons. They ran the Cremorne Gardens, named for their London counterpart, for a few years from 1856 ... Martens' print [version of this subject] shows the area '... near the present residence of Captain [Merion Marshall] Moriarty'', Port Master of Sydney from 1842-57 (SMH, 4 July 1855, p. 8, col. 1), before any development took place. Pinchgut (later Fort Denison) is on the left with a flattened top, the result of Col. Barney's first attempts to build a fortification about 1840. It remained in this state with no work proceeding until 1855 when construction of the Martello tower structure began. Hence Martens' view shows several elements of the Sydney landscape where changes were soon to occur.'

The church spire in the centre distance is St. James' Church, King Street, commissioned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1819, designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway and built between 1820 and 1824. To the right, the large white building is Government House constructed between 1837 and 1843. Further to the right is Fort Macquarie, again commissioned by Governor Macquarie, designed by Francis Greenway and built between 1817 and 1821, now the site of the Sydney Opera House.

Martens' Sydney from Robertson's Point, 1853, was purchased on 22 April 1853 by the artist's father-in-law, Mr. William Carter. This work precedes both the drawing and lithograph versions of this subject listed above as related work.

We are most grateful to Elizabeth Ellis OAM, Emeritus Curator of the State Library of New South Wales, for assistance in cataloguing this work.