Sydney sketching: Tempe House

July 1, 2012

1 July 2012: Tempe House and surrounds.

Getting John Verge(1) to design an arcadian villa for Alexander Spark, Director of the Bank of Australia, was in 1840 the equivalent of getting Tzannes to design a retreat at Berowra or Palm Beach today. Spark later got early Colonial painters of note, such as Conrad Martens and John Glover, to sketch and paint the house from across the Cooks River, though none tackled it ‘head-on’ as I have done today. This prelim sketch needs more work, including deciding what I’m going to include/exclude and measure using with a pencil accordingly. Wind and rain got the better of me today.

Instead, they tackled a three-quarter view, such as this, including a bathing shed by the river (extreme left, where the bridge is today):

The original sketches and paintings are in the Mitchell Library, but see reproductions and discussion by Mark Matheson, in his “Art in Arcadia”.

(1) Lyndhurst, Glebe; Elizabeth Bay House; Camden Park, Menangle.


Matheson, Mark. “Art in Arcadia”, in Heritage: Journal of the Marrickville Heritage Society, no.10, 1998: 9-16.


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