born United Kingdom 1854; arrived Australia 1882; died 1914
Moonrise on the Yarra 1908
oil on canvas
This painting and frame were conserved with the support of Geelong Conservation
Photographer: Andrew Curtis
Upon arriving in Australia in 1882, Withers worked as a farmhand on several country properties before moving to Melbourne to attend classes at the National Gallery. His work is associated with the Heidelberg School: a group of Australian painters who adopted the European approach of painting en plein air—directly within the scenery they depicted.
In his later years, Withers began to paint nautical scenes, capturing the shifting effects of light, water and atmosphere. This work’s subject is unique in the context of Withers’ largely pastoral oeuvre, its depiction of a busy trade and shipping port indicative of Melbourne’s increasingly industrialised landscape.
Download the Conservation report to take a closer look at the painting treatment completed by Sabine Cotte and frame treatment completed by Louise Bradley in 2019.