In the early 1840’s, Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin trekked overland to Macquarie Harbour via Lake St Clair and the Frenchman’s Cap region. Their route followed James Calder’s track, which was cut through a virtually unexplored area. The intrepid eminent couple wanted to see the western areas for themselves. Accompanying them was Calder and a team of a dozen convicts plus aides and soldiers. For about thirty of the fifty miles between the last cart track and the Gordon River, Jane Franklin was carried on a palanquin, which now resides in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The painting depicts the shore of Lake Vera, through rainforest and tea-tree scrub at the foot of the Frenchmans’ Cap massif. The Franklin’s route skirted the base of the mountain, through forest and across boggy buttongrass plains.
I wanted to bring together elements of the sublime as well as the ever present scrubby reality of the Southwest terrain. The inclusion of the palanquin was intended to show the burdensome anachronism of civility laid down at the lakes’ edge, peering through an open portal to a new world beyond.
This painting can be viewed at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hunter Street Hobart Tasmania. Please contact the art curator, Emine Lewis, to arrange a viewing.