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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Melbourne”, 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - Melbourne 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

“Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

“Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson, depicts a panoramic view of the city of Melbourne from the Queen Victoria Gardens. Paintings of Melbourne from the southern bank of the Yarra have been popular since the city’s founding.

This painting shows historic Melbourne at the turn of the last century. A detailed examination shows the city landscape of over 100 years ago and the evolution of the city. Landmarks to explore include:

  • Princes Bridge
  • St Kilda Road (running over the bridge)
  • Batman Avenue (on the far right)
  • Flinders Street Trains
  • Victorian Confectionery works on the south-west bank
  • Boatsheds along the southeast bank
  • Trams and wagons on the bridge and St Kilda Road
  • Horse-drawn vehicles
  • People strolling on pathways
  • Accurate building architecture of the time

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - Melbourne 1905 by Laurence William Wilson - closeup

Closeup of the painting showing Trams and horse-drawn vehicles crossing the Yarra River

In 1904 Wilson visited Melbourne to paint this work,  his patron commented on the detailed work Wilson undertook:

“Wilson expected to do the work in about three weeks … It took Wilson about five weeks alone to make his sketches. Everything was completed in detail down to the windows of every building, and everything was absolutely accurate… Wilson took five months to complete the picture.”

Laurence Wilson studied art in England before emigrating to Auckland in the late 1870s. He lived in Dunedin from 1884 as a commercial artist and painter of New Zealand scenery. He traveled to Melbourne in 1904 to complete this painting and then returned to England.

“Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

  • Title:              “Melbourne”, 1905
  • Year:               1905
  • Artist:             Wilson, Laurence William, (1815-1912)
  • Medium:        Painting, oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 80.0 x 267.0 cm
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

A Tour of the State Library of Victoria

A Tour of Museums  in Australia

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” Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.”
– Australian Proverb

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Photo Credits: 1) GM

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