Collection Online
Slumbering sea, Mentone
oil on canvas
51.3 × 76.5 cm
Place/s of Execution
Mentone, Victoria
inscribed in black paint l.r.: TOM ROBERTS - 87.
inscribed in black and brown paint l.l.: - MENTONE-
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the Government of Victoria, 1979
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 4
Ground Level, NGV Australia
Subjects (general)
Daily Life Human Figures Landscapes
Subjects (specific)
boating cliffs coastal landscapes Melbourne (inhabited place) Mentone (inhabited place) Phillip, Port (bay) sailboats shores (landforms)
Australian Impressionism Heidelberg School

‘In spite of the heat, the vile hammocks we slept in, the pest of flies and the puce-coloured walls, we had a great time here … On Sundays we took a billy and chops and tomatoes down to a beautiful little bay which was full of fossils, where we camped for the day. We returned home during the evening through groves of exquisite tea-trees, the sea serene, the cliffs at Sandringham flushed with the afterglow.’

Arthur Streeton, quoted in William Moore, The Story of Australian Art, 1934


This very interesting frame and its counterpart on Roberts’ Coming South (1738-5) represent a substantial shift in style for Thallon. From the early years, the business was dominated by frames in the classical revival style; with these frames we see a shift toward the cassetta form, which had been revived in Europe by the middle of the nineteenth century. This type of frame appears, for example, on the back wall of Frédéric Bazille’s Studio in the Rue Visconti, 1867, some twenty years before it makes its way to the painting discussed here. 2 Views of artists in their studios remain a valuable source of information about all the materials of practice, including frames. It is possible, and perhaps likely, that the use of the frame is a deliberate choice by Roberts to frame in the manner of contemporary European practice.


1 Hilary Maddocks, ‘Picture Framemakers in Melbourne c. 1860–1930 in vol. 1, Frames, Melbourne Journal of Technical Studies in Art, University of Melbourne Conservation Service, 1999.

2 See Monet & Bazille, A Collaboration, edited by David A. Brenneman, High Museum of Art, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1999, p.47. The reader is also referred to Eva Menden et al, In Perfect Harmony, Van Gogh Museum, 1995.

J. & T. Thallon
95 Collins Street East, Melbourne

The frame uses composition ornaments on a wooden chassis. The torus is a small-scale laurel and berry centred and banded on all sides and at the corners. A similar leaf is used to ornament the sight edge. The flat is sanded. The slip carries a steep bevel.


The frame has been regilded and patinated, leaving little evidence of the original surface. The sanded frieze section was reinstated in 2007.

84.5 x 100.5 x 7.7 cm; sight 49.0 x 74.5 cm


Location of stamp
Centre reverse of canvas
Ink stamp