The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ first home

The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ website gives a history of the buildings that have housed its collections.

“The first home for Sydney’s art collection was at Clark’s Assembly Hall in Elizabeth Street. This building, which had at one time been used for dancing classes, was rented between 1875 and 1879. It was open to the public on Friday and Saturday afternoons”.

The photo of the streetscape that includes ‘J Clark – Professor of Dancing’ is courtesy of the Flickr photostream of the Gallery.  The following article reports on the opening of the gallery in its first home.

Sydney Morning Herald – 3 June 1876

ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES.

The great object which the promoter of the Fine Arts in Sydney have so long had in view was accomplished yesterday by the opening to the public of the Art Gallery of the colony. The proceedings were quite unostentatious. …….  It should also be mentioned that amongst the first visitors to the gallery were two gentlemen recently arrived from one of the neighbouring colonies. ..

…….. There are about sixty pictures exhibited ; though, of course, those actually national property are but few. Yet it is very gratifying to note the readiness with which the owners of the other paintings have come forward to lend them to the trustees. …………

Some arrangement should also be made, and no doubt the Council will take care that it is made, for a place in which persons visiting the gallery can leave their sticks or umbrellas before entering the picture-room.  For many reasons this provision is exceedingly necessary.

It will now be understood, that the Art Gallery of New South Wales is fairly established, and that it is open on Fridays and Saturdays to the public free of charge. On the other day the pupils of the Academy will be allowed the privilege of studying and copying the pictures in the gallery.



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