[Australia; Art; Panorama; Gold Fields ] Autograph Note Signed ('J. S. Prout') to James S. Lamb, acceding to a request of his.

Author: 
J. S. Prout [ John Skinner Prout ] (1805-1876), English artist who spent eight years in Australia [ Panorama of the Gold Fields of Australia ]
Australia
Publication details: 
On letterhead of Panorama of the Gold Fields of Australia, 309 Regent Street (next the Polytechnic). 2 September 1852.
£500.00
SKU: 19765

1p., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of grey paper from mounting along one edge on reverse. The letterhead features, at top left, an attractive engraving of an early version of the Australian coat of arms: it consists of a a shield bearing the cross of St George with five stars on it, supported by an emu on the left and kangaroo on the right, with the motto 'Advance Australia' at the foot and a coronet above with a sun rising from it. The note reads: 'Sir | I have much pleasure in acceeding to your request and | Am Sir | Your Obt Servt | J. S. Prout'. The letterhead features, at top left, an attractive engraving of an early version of the Australian coat of arms: it consists of a a shield bearing the cross of St George with five stars on it, supported by an emu on the left and kangaroo on the right, with the motto 'Advance Australia' at the foot and a coronet above with a sun rising from it. The note reads: 'Sir | I have much pleasure in acceding to your request and | Am Sir | Your Obt Servt | J. S. Prout'. The identity of the recipient is not clear. The 'Panorama of the Gold Fields of Australia' was an exhibition of a panoramic view painted by Prout, with the assistance of 'T. S. Robins' (Thomas Sewell Robins, 1810-1880) and 'C. Weigall' (Charles Henry Weigall, 1794-1877?), presented with the accompaniment of a lecture. For more information see Prout's entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Australian Dictionary of Biography. The ODNB contains the following: 'In 1850 his “Dioramic Views Illustrative of Convict and Emigrant Life”, accompanied by a publication with the same title, was shown in London, and two years later he produced a panorama, “A Voyage to Australia and a Visit to the Gold Fields”.' According to the ADB, 'In 1850 at the Western Literary and Scientific Institution, Leicester Square, he lectured and exhibited his dioramic views illustrating convict and emigrant life, and the habits of bushrangers and Aboriginals in Australia. In 1852 he published An Illustrated Handbook of the Voyage to Australia and in 1853 A Magical Trip to the Gold Regions; both works led to further exhibitions and ran to several editions.' The exhibition is described in an article in the Atlas, London, 14 August 1852, reproduced in the Hobart Town Courier, 8 December 1852: 'A PANORAMA OF THE GOLD-FIELDS OF AUSTRALIA has been opened at No. 309, Regent-street. It is an exhibition of great interest, and will well repay a visit. The principal scenes illustrated are Plymouth Sound, Eddystone Light-house, Madeira, Rio Janeiro, Cape of Good Hope, Island of St. Paul, South Sea Whale Fishing, Melbourne, the Valley of the Goulbourn, Geelong, the Road to the Diggings, Mount Alexander, a Kangaroo Hunt at Illawarra, Sydney, Paramatta River, the Blue Mountains, Summer-hill Creek, Ophir, Encampment of Gold Diggers by Moonlight. The panorama is painted from sketches taken on the spot by Mr. J. S. Prout; the marine subjects being added by Mr. T. S. Robins, and the natural history by Mr. C. Weigall. This panorama has been some time in preparation. We noticed the work while in course of painting a month or two ago, and then expressed our admiration at the skill of the several artists employed. As a complete work, it surpasses in pictorial effect any of the panoramas exhibited. The marine views cannot be excelled, and the scenery in Australia is beautifully painted. Mr. Weigall's illustrations of the birds and animals peculiar to the country are life-like and admirably done, and altogether we think the exhibition will prove as strong an incentive to emigration as the actual reports from the gold diggings. There are several views of “the Diggings,” but we prefer the more quiet illustrations of the voyage and the scenery of the country. The progress of the panorama and the principal objects illustrated are described by a lecturer. His remarks on many of the important objects presented in the scenes might be amplified with advantage ; and it will add very much to the interest of his remarks when he is able to describe the scenery, &c, without reference to his notes. We think this panorama will prove very attractive, and its intrinsic merits deserve all the success it may obtain.' See also Altick, "The Shows of London", p.427.