Notes on Duterraus "Reconciliation" picture

Noetling, Fritz 1911 , 'Notes on Duterraus "Reconciliation" picture' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 134-143 .

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In an appendix to my paper on the lughrana, etc.,
read before the Society on July 10, I discussed the evidence
afforded by the Duterrau engravings. I came to the
conclusion that all the engravings ought to be reversed,
because, by the mistake of the engraver, they were
transferred on the copper plate as originally drawn.
Naturally the prints became rereversed, and the man making
the spear appeared to hold the tero-watta in his left
and not in his right. Just when the final proof of my
paper had been received Mr. Beattie kindly informed me
that he had seen the original oil painting, of what I termed
No. 1 engraving (PI. XIII.), at the house of the Misses
Cleburn, and that this oil painting fully confirmed my conjecture.
From the inscription on it we know that the
engraving was made in 1835. However, in all probability, it was painted after 1835, perhaps towards the end of the thirties, or early in the forties.
Notwithstanding its great shortcomings, the picture is
of considerable value as a historical document. It measures
about 6x4 feet, and on the back is written: "The
Reconciliation: Sketch of a national picture measuring
14 X 9 feet." This "national" picture has actually been
painted, but its whereabouts are now unknown.
A comparison of the original engraving and the sketch in oil shows marked differences, though on the whole they represent the same arrangement of persons. Both pictures prove that they are compositions,
made in the artist's studio, from sketches he made after life,
either in Robinson's house, or in his own in Hobart.
It is therefore pretty certain that the features
are not realistic. The same probably applies to the colour
of skin, which in the oil sketch appears to be rather a
pleasing dark grey.
I do not think that I need to explain
the meaning of the picture, which speaks for itself. It is noteworthy, however, that apparently the
females are convinced, and ready to accept the new doctrine.
The men with one exception only, are either indifferent
or directly hostile, attempting to restrain the
females. It would be interesting to know whether this conception of the reconciliation arose in the artist's mind
only, or whether the females did play the role attributed
to them in the oil sketch.
Included is a Bibliography of literature which has been published on the subject. Incldes engraving (PI. XIII.).

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Noetling, Fritz
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
Collections: Royal Society Collection
Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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