Collection Online
oil on canvas
120.5 × 102.0 cm
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Mr Hugh McCubbin, 1960
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

Melbourne in 1888 was exhibited by McCubbin at the Victorian Artists' Society in November 1888. The painting was subsequently cut in half. The left section remained with the McCubbin family until 1960 when it was presented to the National Gallery of Victoria; the right half has recently come to light.

McCubbin’s Melbourne in 1888 reveals the considerable progress made in redeveloping the port of Melbourne between 1882 and 1888. This view shows the large vessels that travelled up the Yarra River to the turning circle in front of Customs House.

In the left half of the painting the spires of Scots Church, the Independent Church and St Enoch's are visible; and in the right half the unfinished St Paul's Cathedral is depicted. A realistic description of the distant city was not McCubbin's prime interest, rather the depiction of the golden light and haze that suffused the buildings, and the smoke and steam surrounding the activity in the harbour.