Collection Online

The River Nile, Van Diemen's Land, from Mr Glover's farm

Artist/s name
oil on canvas
76.4 x 114.6 cm
Place/s of Execution
Mills Plains, Tasmania
Accession Number
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1956
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 5
Level 2, NGV Australia
About the work

When John Glover sailed from England for Hobart Town in 1830, he was 63 years old and had already had a long and successful career as a landscape painter back in England. He was challenged by the different Australian landscape and began drawing it as soon as he set foot in the country.

In this painting, Glover has depicted an Arcadian landscape based on the view from his farm, where Tasmanian Aboriginal people are seen enjoying an idyllic life in harmony with nature. His aim may have been to record a vanishing way of life, as the reality for Tasmanian Aboriginal people at that time was in stark contrast to the scene portrayed in the painting. Encounters between early colonisers and the original inhabitants of Tasmania were often characterised by violent conflict.

Glover’s work in Tasmania continued to reflect many of the conventions of classical landscape painting, which led to some assertions that he saw his adopted land through European eyes. However, he showed a dedication to faithfully recording the unique features of Indigenous foliage and geology, and his paintings are imbued with a sense of air and dazzling light that are unmistakably Australian.