- Tommy McRae
- RETURNING FROM THE CHASE c.1890
Bears title in pencil lower margin
- Ink on paper
- 24 by 35 cm
Private collection, Melbourne
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Cf. Similar hunting scenes by the artist are illustrated in Sayers, A., Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1994, p.30 plate M4; p.31, plate M13; p.35 plates M3 and M29; p.36 plate M36.
In the late 19th century McRae was one of a small number of artists in south-east Australia who were commissioned by the new settlers to depict scenes of traditional life. The favoured subjects were ceremonies, warfare and hunting, although artists often chose their own subjects. In McRae's case these included depictions of squatters, their houses, drunken reveries, Aboriginal people adapting to European ways, Chinese gold field workers, and the famous tales of the escaped convict William Buckley who went to live among Aboriginal people. In sum, these drawings provide us with historically unique Indigenous perspectives of early settlement life
This drawing is rendered in McRae's characteristic silhouette style and depicts a group of hunters returning to camp with their catch. In comparison to another drawing of the same subject, Returning from hunting, from a sketchbook now in the Mitchell Library, Sydney (in Sayers 1994 p.49, plate M20) this drawing depicts figures naked while the Mitchell Library drawing includes some figures wearing clothes, possibly kangaroo skin cloaks, thus indicating the cold time of year. In contrast, the subject of this drawing is set in the warmer seasons