• Sir Anthony Musgrave funeral work of art

  • A painting in gouache on card depicting the funeral of Queensland's governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, leaving St John's Pro-Cathedral, North Quay, Brisbane on 10 October 1888. As well as the funeral procession and the large number of mourners and spectators, attention has been paid to the buildings and other features of the precinct. Many of the faces and figures are detailed, including the leading pallbearers. The painting closely corresponds with contemporary written descriptions of the event from the Queenslander and the Brisbane Courier.

    There is no visible signature on the painting and the artist is unknown. According to the vendor, her great-aunt, Miss Riddell studied art and there is a belief in the family that she may have been the artist. This is possible, but seems unlikely. She would have been about 18 or 20 at the time of the Musgrave Funeral. It also has been suggested that the painting was worked up from a photograph, although the accomplished depiction of the buildings suggests the work of someone with training in draftsmanship.

    This document was ranked #101 in the Top 150 exhibition

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    Carriage Church Horses Painting Parade Top 150
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    State Library Qld
6938 Sir Anthony Musgrave Funeral [Work of Art] 1888-1890

After serving as a Governor in the West Indies, British Columbia, Natal and South Australia, Sir Anthony Musgrave was appointed Governor of Queensland in 1883. A proud British imperialist, he ridiculed colonial fears of German expansion in the south-west Pacific, but still accepted the establishment of a protectorate over Papua in 1884. It appears that Musgrave’s reticence over the New Guinea question was at least partly due to his concern with possible exploitation of the Indigenous people. On this issue he found a useful ally in Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, with whom he shared a cordial relationship. Conversely, Musgrave disliked Sir Thomas McIlwraith, tension between the two increasing after the latter became Premier in 1888. The pair soon clashed over the Governor’s right to exercise the prerogative of mercy without reference to the Legislative Assembly. McIlwraith was supported by the British Colonial Office and the Premier took this reduction of the Governor’s power further by insisting that the Queensland Government should be consulted over future vice-regal appointments. The chance to do so came soon after, for Sir Anthony Musgrave died suddenly in October 1888, an event which was recorded in this artwork.


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