John Absolon was a well-known nineteenth-century London water-colour artist. John de Mansfield Absolon, one of his artist sons, married a daughter of Robert Mace Habgood and travelled to Western Australia in 1869 to undertake tasks that included management of Habgood’s two large import stores in Perth and Fremantle, Habgood’s three ships that traded lead ore, pearl shells and sandalwood between Western Australia and London, and the Geraldine Lead Mines north of Geraldton—perhaps the first mining operations in colony.
John de Mansfield Absolon also brought to Western Australia a knowledge of developments in mid-century French art twenty years in advance of Melbourne’s Heidelberg School, which embraced French Impressionism in the mid-1880s. Absolon’s impressionistic paintings of various sites in Western Australia and numerous ship-board scenes are quite remarkable for their time.
This handsome book is richly illustrated with all aspects of this intriguing story—the art of both Absolons, father and son, in their perspectives of Victorian London and colonial Western Australia, together with rare glimpses into the early colonial history and the business records of the enterprising Habgood, Absolons & Co.
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