This Wondrous Land features colonial prints, drawings, watercolours and miniatures selected from the NGV’s rich collection of works on paper. The exhibition focuses on the history of Melbourne, from the early settlement of Port Phillip to the establishment of city infrastructure and institutions in the second half of the nineteenth century. It features portraits, landscapes and botanical works by some of the most influential figures in the Melbourne art scene, including Edward La Trobe Bateman, Georgiana McCrae and Eugene von Guérard, as well as lesser-known artists such as George Alexander Gilbert.
The exhibition explores connections between these artists, their friends and patrons, as well as the development of the colony in Victoria. Images by colonial settlers are counterbalanced with drawings by Indigenous artists such as William Barak and Tommy McRae who recorded their culture and experience using the introduced materials of pen and ink, watercolours and paper.