- Museum number
Painting on bark depicting a macropod (kangaroo?), a human-like male and a lizard.
- Production date
- 19thC (Likely before 1849)
Length: 55.50 centimetres
Width: 31.50 centimetres
Depth: 6.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
As outlined by Simpson (2020:244-245), when Tilston died at Port Essington in 1849, he left his collection in his will to Haslar Hospital Museum. Weighing 'a ton', the collection was taken from Port Essington to Sydney in HMS Meander; it stayed in the commissariat stores for almost a year until it was arranged by another naval surgeon WHB Jones for it to be sent to Haslar, where it arrived in 1851.
Found unnumbered in collections; apparently unregistered. Old label "Native drawing from the natives of Port Essington. Executed with their left hands".
Specific meanings are not recorded for this painting, but the figures are likely to represent spirit ancestors. Bark paintings from the 1800s are rare.
For a discussion of this and other early paintings on bark from this region see Paul S C Tacon and Susan M Davies 'Transitional traditions: "Port Essington" bark-paintings and the European discovery of Aboriginal aesthetics'. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2004 (2):72-86.
Tacon and Davies note that this piece 'closely resembles a 1960s work by Iwaidja artist Paddy Compass Nambatbara, who was born not long after most early bark-paintings from the region were collected' and is comparable to some pieces in the Macleay Museum (p.83).
For a detailed analysis of bark painting from this region, see L. Taylor, 'Seeing the Inside. Bark Painting in Western Arnhem Land.' Oxford. 1996.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1972-1982 23 Jun-28 Feb, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, The Aborigines of Australia
2015 23 Apr-2 Aug, London, BM, G35, Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation
- Acquisition notes
- Acquisition details unknown. Likely transferred from the Navy's Haslar Hospital Museum. See Simpson 2021.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc1967Q2.1 (old CDMS no.)