This heroic representation of an Australian 'type' is more a character study than a portrait, recalling the artist's work as a newspaper illustrator. Posed and painted in the studio, the work is formally arranged with the basic implements of the gold digger's trade carefully displayed. It presents an image of the prospector as a genuine Australian fellow, stained by his labours and tanned by the sun. Though somewhat constructed and theatrical, the painting retains a sense of human vitality.

Julian Ashton instructed several generations of important painters through his Sydney Art School. He became a trustee of the Gallery in 1888, championing the purchase of Australian art.


  • Title: The prospector
  • Creator: Julian Ashton
  • Date Created: 1889
  • Physical Dimensions: 213.4 x 116.9 cm board; 266.5 x 170 x 14 cm frame
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1889
  • External Link: AGNSW Collection
  • Medium: oil on canvas on hardboard
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.l. corner, brown oil "J.R. ASHTON. 1889".
  • Artist Country: England, Australia

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