Our adopted country. To the memory of the lamented heroes of the Victorian exploration 1861

Henry Short, 1807-18651861

State Library Victoria

State Library Victoria

At first glance, Henry Short's painting appears to be yet another still life painted by an immigrant English artist drawing on inspiration from Dutch 17th-century paintings. However, Short is using the still life style to reinforce the myth that grew out of the failure of the Burke and Wills expedition. The myth-making began as soon as the fate of Burke, Wills and Gray reached Melbourne on 2 November 1861.

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  • Title: Our adopted country. To the memory of the lamented heroes of the Victorian exploration 1861
  • Creator: Henry Short, 1807-1865
  • Date: 1861
  • Provenance: Purchased with the assistance of the Friends of the State Library of Victoria and the Helen M. Schutt Trust; 1986.
  • Rights: This work is out of copyright. No copyright restrictions apply.
  • lithograph: Painting
  • View more information about this image in the State Library Victoria catalogue: http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/MAIN:SLV_VOYAGER1711638
  • View a full-size version of this image: http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/123993
  • Physical dimensions: 69.5 x 89.5 cm. (sight) in frame 98.3 x 119.0 cm.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • A.E. Ferris: Henry Short arrived in Melbourne with his family in the great wave of migration associated with the discovery of gold in the 1850s. The family is thought to have set off for the gold diggings soon after they arrived in 1852, but within two years they were living in Melbourne and both Henry and his eldest son William were exhibiting their paintings for sale. To support his career, Short appears to have made use of the commercial opportunities available to him. He exhibited his work at all available public forums, and sought patronage from official figures. When his works failed to sell at public art exhibitions, he organised to dispose of them by art unions.
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