John Glover was a succesful painter in England prior to emigrating to Tasmania at the age of sixty-four. The River Nile flows through ‘Patterdale’, the farm he established with his sons near Launceston. Glover paints his new environment as an Antipodean Arcadia with Indigenous people engaged in hunting and fishing. In reality, by this time the remaining Tasmanian Aboriginal population had been removed from their own lands and exiled to Flinders Island.
This painting appears in an old black and white photograph in a plain, shallow scotia moulding, possibly gilded, of ambiguous date. Simple frames like this appear on paintings in the 19th century. The correspondence from A. J. L. McDonnell at the time of purchase in London makes no reference to the frame on the painting. McDonnell was aware of frames and would likely have commented if the painting had an original frame.
In the mid 1990s The River Nile, Van Diemen's Land, from Mr Glover's farm was reframed in a bevelled timber frame faced with thick rosewood veneer (see image above). The veneered frame was in part based on correspondence from 1833 related to the transportation of Glover's paintings to London, with frames made by his son, John Richardson Glover.
The decision to reframe the painting again - just 10 years later reflected the increasing awareness of the frames used on paintings by Glover augmented by the exhibition that toured Australia in 2004.
The frame used as the prototype to build a reproduction frame for the painting was made by the Tasmanian frame maker William Wilson and found on Glover’s Swilker Oak, in the collection of Clarendon Homestead, Launceston, Tasmania. Two reproductions of this frame were made, the other used on Glover’s A Mountain torrent (2004.179).
Moulds of the ornaments were taken from a Wilson frame in a private collection and the Wilson frame on William Pritchard Weston by Robert Dowling in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.
Reproduction - crafted by the NGV
Wooden chassis with cast composition moulding. Surface gilded and toned.