Rare Watercolour Returns to Western Australia

A 19th century sketchbook containing a watercolour painting of Western Australia’s first settlement at The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill in Albany is the latest addition to the National Trust‘s collection.

The bound sketchbook, the biggest investment ever made by the National Trust of Australia (WA) in a single object, was purchased at auction in July 2010 for $57 000 by the Trust’s Director of Conservation and Stewardship, Sarah Murphy. Ms Murphy said there was unprecedented interest in the rare sketchbook which sold for considerably more than the Trust expected to pay.

“The watercolour featured in the sketchbook appears to have been painted by an amateur artist and is of special interest because it includes buildings that are no longer extant,” Murphy said.

“This image will also help us explore the potential for future archaeological study at the property because it so clearly depicts the locations of these buildings and other features.”

The National Trust plans to feature the sketchbook as a key element of its exhibitions at The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill and make it accessible through hands-on digital technology.

The purchase as an exceptional investment that will assure the future of Western Australia’s heritage while bringing great value to the community. Funds for the purchase of the sketchbook were raised from the Trust’s deaccessioning program in 2007.

The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill is a nationally significant place which was established in 1827 as part of the first European settlement at King George Sound and was home to the first Government Resident in Albany, Sir Richard Spencer. The National Trust has cared for the place since 1964.

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