With little formal training, George John Pinwell made his way towards renown in the 1860s and 1870s as one of the preeminent illustrators of books and periodicals. Essentially a figurative artist, he became similarly popular by converting his black-and-white illustrations into meticulous watercolours. This celebrated work is imbued with a rather melancholy realism that suited the spirit of the time. The Australian painter Tom Roberts wrote of the scene: ‘No figure there is the least conscious of anything but its own little world; five people seated together yet utterly apart’. Pinwell died of tuberculosis at the height of his talent at the age of 33. Vincent van Gogh was an admirer, writing in 1883: ‘[Pinwell] was such a poet that he saw the sublime in the most ordinary, commonplace things.’


  • Title: A seat in St James's Park
  • Creator: George John Pinwell
  • Date Created: 1869
  • Physical Dimensions: 41.9 x 60.2 cm image (sheeet larger as wrapped around wooden board); 68.5 x 87.0 x 5.5 cm frame
  • Provenance: Edward Dalziel, 1876-19 Jun 1886, London/England, Sold Christie's London, 19 June 1886; Christie's London, 19 Jun 1886, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Christie's London, 19 June 1886. Purchased through Messrs Vokins [dealer].
  • Type: Watercolour
  • Rights: Purchased 1886
  • External Link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/1115/
  • Medium: watercolour and bodycolour over pencil underdrawing
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.l., "G J Pinwell/ 69".
  • Object Other Titles: A seat in St James's Park, London
  • Artist Country: England

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