Collection Online

L.L. The wish being the father to the thought

oil on canvas
183.0 × 182.6 cm
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Moët & Chandon Art Acquisition Fund, Governor, 1989
© Stephen Bush/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

At the time when contemporary artist Stephen Bush painted LL: the wish being the father to the thought, his interest lay in questioning European representations of the Australian landscape and interrogating historical conventions such as ‘the picturesque’ and ‘the sublime’. Often depicting colonial subjects such as settlers and explorers, many of his paintings from this period recall the narrative tradition of nineteenth-century Australian paintings.

In this painting, Bush refers to the colonial explorer Ludwig Leichardt (b.1813) who vanished while attempting a northern transcontinental crossing of Australia in 1848. The gigantic sculptural head is both a portrait of the lost explorer and an imaginary reference to a possible relic from his ill-fated expedition.