Colonial artists such as Eugene von Guérard, Nicholas Chevalier and Louis Buvelot received many commissions for ‘homestead portraits’. These commissions were generally paintings of properties owned by prosperous graziers who were naturally keen to display the results of their hard labours on the land.

Located north of Camperdown in Victoria’s Western District, ‘Mount Fyans’ homestead was commissioned by brothers William and John Cumming whose father had come to Australia from Scotland. The Cumming family purchased the original property of Mount Fyans in 1856.1 Buvelot has depicted the homestead at the heart of this picture, flanked by tall trees and surrounded by lush pastures with grazing sheep and cattle.

A companion painting to this work, ‘Mount Fyans’ woolshed 1869, was also commissioned by the family and painted by Buvelot. The work is held in the National Collection.

1 W. H. Cumming, Cumming: from Aberdeen to Hobart, and across to Mount Fyans, unpublished family history given to Beatrice Gralton in 2006 by Bill Cumming, pp. 32, 65.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010


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