Taking Tea under the shade of a Jacaranda Tree
“Under the Jacaranda” by R Godfrey Rivers shows the artist and his wife, Selina. They are taking tea under the shade of a jacaranda tree that is in full bloom. It is a quintessential image of early Australia. The location depicted was in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and shows the first jacaranda to be grown in Australia, planted in 1864 and flourishing there until it was blown down in 1979.
The majestic jacaranda tree in bloom was captured using the contrast of the green vegetation and the red umbrella to emphasize its distinctive purple of the jacaranda. With jacarandas now growing in most Australian suburbs, many of them are the progeny of this first tree.
The Jacaranda is one of the flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The name is believed to be from an indigenous language of South America, meaning fragrant and was first described in 1753.
Since then, it has been planted widely in Asia and is common in southern California, Florida, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain having been introduced to most tropical and subtropical regions.
On this visit, the painting had dropped some Jacaranda flowers!
City Botanic Gardens
The City Botanic Gardens (formerly the Brisbane Botanic Gardens) in Brisbane, Australia was also known as Queen’s Park. The Gardens include Brisbane’s most mature gardens, having a continuous horticultural history since 1828.
Originally the gardens were planted by convicts in 1825 with food crops to feed the prison colony. In 1855 a portion of several acres was declared a Botanic Reserve. Some of the older trees planted in the Gardens were the first of their species to be planted in Australia.
Some of the new species introduced included mango, pawpaw, ginger, tamarind, mahogany, jacaranda trees as well as tobacco, sugar, grapevines, tropical fruits, tea, coffee, and spices. The Queensland Acclimatisation Society which was formed in 1862 and the Botanic Gardens was the propagation and distribution point for the Society’s imports. The gardens were the starting point for much of today’s Northern Australian million-dollar crop industry.
Richard Godfrey Rivers
Richard Godfrey Rivers (1858 – 1925) generally known as R. Godfrey Rivers, was an English artist, active in Australia. Rivers completed this painting 13 years after he arrived in Australia from England. He emigrated to Australia in 1889 and taught at several schools and colleges. He was president of the Queensland Art Society and was also the honorary curator of the Queensland National Art Gallery from 1895 to 1914.
A Tour of the Queensland Art Gallery
- Li – Chinese Tripod Jar
- “Figure with Snow Falling” by Takahashi Hiroaki
- “Figure with Parasol, Protect against Snow” by Takahashi Hiroaki
- “Under the Jacaranda” by R Godfrey Rivers
- “Bathing Hour” (L’Heure de Bain) by E Phillips Fox
- “Three Dancers at a Dance Class” by Edgar Degas
- “La Fontaine” by Rupert Bunny
- Masterpieces and Historical Objects in the Queensland Art Gallery
Under the Jacaranda
- Title: Under the Jacaranda
- Artist: Richard Godfrey Rivers
- Dates: 1903
- Materials: Oil on Canvas
- Museum: Queensland Art Gallery
Richard Godfrey Rivers
- Name: Richard Godfrey Rivers
- Birth: 1858 – Plymouth, England
- Death: 1925 – London, England
- Nationality: English
- Notable Works:
- Museums in Sydney
- Museums in Melbourne
- Museums in Canberra
- Museums in Brisbane
- Museums in Perth
- Museums in Adelaide
- Museums in Darwin
Australian Proverbs and Quotes
“Art is an illusion of spontaneity.”
Photo Credit: JOM