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1911-Noetling-Duterrau's_picture.pdf (637.56 kB)

Notes on Duterraus "Reconciliation" picture

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posted on 2023-11-22, 10:05 authored by Fritz Noetling
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Notwithstanding its great shortcomings, the picture is of considerable value as a historical document.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.).

History

Publication title

Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania

Pagination

134-143

ISSN

0080-4703

Rights statement

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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