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Newspaper Cutting - 'The Interior Under The Dome', The Australasian Sketcher, Melbourne, 24 Jul 1880 Document Reg. No: SH 961138

Summary:
Double-sided page from The Australasian Sketcher, Saturday, 24 July 1880, pp.163-64, published by Wilson & McKinnon, Melbourne.

Page 163 includes a small article describing the arrival of goods at the Exhibition Building intended for the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. Page 164 consists of two black & white illustrations, the upper depicting a portrait of Aaron Sherritt, friend of Joe Byrne of the Kelly Gang, but later informer to the Victorian Police. The lower illustration depicts the interior of the Exhibition Building under the dome and the decorative murals designed by John Mather. The view is looking to the north-west from under the dome, and shows the organ in the western nave in the highly ornamental decorations adorning the interior of the building. Above each of the arches is an allegorical female figure representing the arts and sciences. The figure of Peace, in white robes with arms outstretched, is in the centre of the illustration. The dome was painted with clouds and a starry sky. People are depicted admiring the decorations and giving a perspective of the height of the dome.

At a meeting of the Melbourne Exhibition Commissioners held in the council-chambers of the Town Hall on Wednesday, 14 January 1880, it was reported that the Exhibition Building Committee 'have carefully considered the question of painting and decoratnig the Exhibition-buildings.'

'Tenders, accompanied by designs, were invited by advertisements in the public press, and, after mature deliberation, the committee decided in favour of the design by Mr. John Mathew, a decorative artist, who has given other evidence of the possession of special ability. The Hon. the Chief Secretary has sanctioned the entering into a contract for L4700 on account of this work, and as it is imperative that it should be undertaken immediately, the executive recommend that the contract should be at once executed. The buildings dealt with will cover 11 or 12 acres of ground, so that the necessity for prompt action will be at once apparent' (Argus, Thursday, 15 January 1880, p.6)

John Mather (c.1848-1916) was a Scottish-born Australian artist responsible for the interior decoration at the Exhibition Building in 1880. He was a foundation membed of the Victorian Artists' Society, and the Society's president in 1893-1900, 1906-08 and 1911. He was a member of the Felton Bequests' Committee from 1905 until his death, and in this role was a strong advocate for the promotion of Australian art.
Description:
Double-sided page from The Australasian Sketcher, Saturday, 24 July 1880, pp.163-64, published by Wilson & McKinnon, Melbourne. Page 163 includes a small article describing the arrival of goods at the Exhibition Building intended for the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. Page 164 consists of two black & white illustrations, the upper depicting a portrait of Aaron Sherritt, friend of Joe Byrne of the Kelly Gang, but later informer to the Victorian Police. The lower illustration depicts the interior of the Exhibition Building under the dome and the decorative murals designed by John Mather. The view is looking to the north-west from under the dome, and shows the organ in the western nave in the highly ornamental decorations adorning the interior of the building. Above each of the arches is an allegorical female figure representing the arts and sciences. The figure of Peace, in white robes with arms outstretched, is in the centre of the illustration. The dome was painted with clouds and a starry sky. People are depicted admiring the decorations and giving a perspective of the height of the dome.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 1991
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 25.50 cm (Height), 21.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: exhibitions, exhibitions melbourne international 1880-1881, newspapers, illustrations, royal exhibition building, world fairs
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection, Royal Exhibition Building Collection
Primary Classification: PUBLIC EVENTS
Secondary Classification: Melbourne International Exhibition 1880
Tertiary Classification: media coverage
Inscriptions: Top margin, p 163: July 24, 1880. THE AUSTRALASIAN SKETCHER. 163. [Extensive text]
Top margin, p.164: 164. THE AUSTRALASIAN SKETCHER. July 24, 1880.
Upper image caption, p. 164: THE KELLY GANG: PORTRAIT OF AARON SHERRITT.
Lower image caption, p. 164: THE MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION: THE INTERIOR UNDER THE DOME.
Date Used: 1880 or later
Publisher: Wilson & McKinnon, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1880
Artist: John Mather, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1880
References: See David Dunstan, 'Victorian Icon', for discussion on symbolism of decorations.

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