Alisa Bunbury on Duncan Cooper

13 Oct 2020

These eight beautiful sepia wash works were painted in 1850 by amateur artist Duncan Cooper.  Each one shows the landscape around Victoria’s Western District between Beaufort and Ararat, heading towards the Grampians (Gariwerd) and Mount Arapiles (Dyurrait). Much of the beauty of Cooper’s work is found in his depictions of the mundane, scrubby elements of the Australian bush, features which were often overlooked by professional artists in favour of a more idealised Australian landscape. Here, we see Cooper capture the effects of light, atmosphere and distance in a way this is truly exquisite.

 

Duncan Cooper
Untitled (On the road from Stoneleigh to Streatham. Taken from near Lakaput) 1850
Untitled (Avon Plains forest oak by pine scrub) 1850
Mount Jeffcott, Avon Plains 1850
Untitled (Victoria Range, Grampians, from the head of the Glenelg River) 1850
Untitled (Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt, Grampians: taken from near Dunkeld) 1850
Untitled (“The Maiden Hills” Ercildo, near Lake Borumbeet) 1850
Untitled (Mt William and Grampians from the south) 1850
Untitled (Spring Creek near “Mawallok”, Pyrenees in the distance) c 1850

brown watercolour
The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Gift of the Russell and Mab Grimwade Bequest 1973