Lot 265: Convict Artists.- Preston (Walter) - Newcastle, in New South Wales, with a distant View of Point Stephen,
October 27, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: after J.R. Brown, from Views of New South Wales, engraving, 280 x 400mm., some spotting and surface dust, Sydney, Absalom West, 1812. Walter Preston, or Presston as appears on this plate, was convicted of highway robbery, sentenced to life transportation, and arrived in Sydney in January, 1812. He was placed with Absalom West, and was soon engaged in engraving most of the twenty four plates in 'Views in New South Wales', eventually published by West as a set in 1814. Two of these were after J.R. Brown, most likely to be identified as John Brown, who had arrived in 1810, and was listed as a 'painter in the colony', as most of the population of New South Wales at that time, as well as the artists and engravers engaged by West, were convicts. Preston was later sent to a convict gang in Newcastle, where he most likely met Captain James Wallis, for whom he engraved all twelve plates for his 'An Historic Account of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements', and who secured him an absolute pardon in 1819.