FROM THE ROYAL ACADEMY TO A HOTEL IN KAPUNDA: THE TOUR OF WILLIAM POWELL FRITH'S DERBY DAY IN COLONIAL AUSTRALIA
Abstract:Antipodean populations in the 1860s craved visual entertainment and popular spectacle and the 1864–65 exhibition of William Powell Frith's famous Royal Academy picture Derby Day (1856–8) was hailed as the first modern masterwork to tour the Australian colonies. Accompanied by reproductive prints for sale, this single-picture exhibition of mid-Victorian revellers at the Derby held up a mirror of English national life to colonials, and was a commercial enterprise organized by publisher and dealer Gambart & Co. to capitalize on new markets for art. With attention generally only given to the first exhibition of European paintings acquired by the Melbourne Public Library at the time of Derby Day's tour, art historians have never told the story of the painting's Antipodean journey in the mid-1860s, and its Australian impact has been omitted by the few British scholars who have mentioned the tour.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Australian National University
Publication date: November 1, 2008