A group of 19th century sepia drawings, depicting Aborigines in Queensland, came up for auction at Brightwells (15% buyer’s premium) sale of paintings and prints on January 26 in Leominster, Herefordshire.
The six drawings all dated from around 1860 and were made by an artist who signed them D.S.T. They varied in size, with the largest being 10 x 14in (25.5 x 35.5cm), and were unframed.
Their primary appeal lay in their historical and topographical interest. They came from a period just after Queensland had been established as Australia's sixth colony when it was separated from New South Wales in 1859. It was a time when writers, artists and scientists were beginning to document the new country.
All the drawings bore inscriptions on the reverse giving titles such as Government Bounty Distribution of Blankets to the Blacks on the Queen's Birthday, Queensland May 24th 1863, right, or A Wallaby Drive, Skinning the Dead. At the sale, they generated a fair amount of antipodean interest, with three Australian telephone bidders. However, in the end they fell to an English buyer in the saleroom at £2500, four times the estimate.