View of Parramatta, New South Wales
View of Parramatta, New South Wales

John Eyre

1771 - 1812 View of Parramatta, New South Wales 1802
  • watercolour on paper
44.7 cm x 35 cm

John Eyre, convict and artist, was born at Coventry, England, the son of Thomas Eyre, wool-comber and weaver. He was apprenticed to his father in 1784 and became a freeman of the city in August 1792. He is thought to have studied drawing under Joseph Barnes of Coventry. At Coventry Assizes on 23 March 1799 he was sentenced to transportation for seven years for housebreaking, and reached Sydney in the transport Canada in December 1801.

He was granted a conditional pardon on 4 June 1804, and a month later he advertised that he would buy a box of water-colours. The first of his drawings which can be dated accurately were made soon afterwards. Probably in 1807 Eyre combined three charts of Port Dalrymple into one for Governor William Bligh (the original is in the British Museum) but his fee of £4 15s. had still not been paid when Bligh was deposed. About this time he became friendly with David Mann, and provided the drawings for the four engraved views of Sydney which appeared in Mann's The Present Picture of New South Wales (London, 1811). In 1884 the engravings were reproduced in chromolithography by William Dymock of Sydney, and the original drawings are preserved in the Dixson Gallery, Sydney.

Source: Rex Rienits, John Eyre in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, MUP, 1996

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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