View of Fremantle, Western Australia from Church Hill east of the town, August 1832

Richard MORRELL: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Richard Morrell was among the earliest European settlers in Western Australia, arriving in Fremantle in January 1832. A few years earlier the British had established the first permanent settlement in King's George's Sound on the south coast of Western Australia (now known as Albany). Prior to this, the Western Australia coast was frequently visited by the Dutch, French and the British who were exploring and recording the land, animals and plants.

Morrell painted this work seven months after his arrival in Fremantle. It shows the harbour, the developing settlement and vegetation. Early artists painting works such as this, were more concerned with the topographical accuracy of the landscape than rendering a personal expression of the subject. As Morrell wrote in a letter to engravers John and Charles Wilson back in England, despite thinking the colouring poor and he a 'bad artist', 'I have drawn it as correct as I possibly can.' He also praised the good climate and general appearance of the new country. This watercolour was later published by John Wilson in England.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia holds the most comprehensive collection of colonial art pertaining to Western Australia in the country. Topographical paintings of Western Australia were made by people of many different professions and occupations, including military men, explorers, surgeons, ship's officers, churchmen, convicts and early settlers like Morrell. Morrell was not a trained painter but a farmer and builder who prepared visual records of his new environs to send back to family and friends in England.
View of Fremantle, Western Australia from Church Hill east of the town, August 1832
Artist/Maker and role
Richard MORRELL: artist
watercolour and ink on paper
21.1 x 32.6 cm (sheet/image)
Credit line
Purchased, 1940
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the watercolours in our collection.