S.T. Gill’s animals

Explore the Australian Sketchbook exhibition through the theme of S.T. Gill's animals.

 

S.T. Gill loved animals and the bush, and he seemed more at home in the saddle in rural Australia than he did in town. He mocks the ‘pure merinos’, who try to adapt the English fox hunt to hunting kangaroos; he observes how Indigenous people go fishing and hunting yet live in harmony with the natural environment; and he sees how European settlers despoil the countryside through overgrazing and senseless clearing of the land.

Gill loved horses and dogs and felt a certain affinity with them. We know he owned dogs for most of his life and frequently inserted them into his paintings and lithographs. Gill also used dogs in his paintings as personifications through which to create a commentary on human society. He understood horses well and painted them brilliantly. On one occasion, when he lived in Sydney, he pre-empted the results of a horse race in a drawing; when this was discovered it greatly damaged his reputation.