If you’re still reeling from the inanities of MONA, why not check out Hobart’s more staid collection, on Davey Street (but enter on the landward side), a stone’s throw from the docks?
The Gallery combines artistic works with natural history pieces of local significance:
For instance the famous Thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger, due to the stripes along its coat. Although last seen alive in 1933, we like to think the wily animal exists and flourishes somewhere in the wild western half of the island (there have been some unverified sightings in recent years). Yet we fear the poor thing has gone the way of Trucanini (see further below).
There’s an impressive blue-and-white china hall…
…one or two nice pictures…some indifferent Glovers, but we liked this:
The TAG has the best collection of Numismatics in the country. Below are some VCs (Victoria Cross, the England and Commonwealth equivalent of the Purple Heart). Also featured were the orders of the Most Excellent Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG, KCMG and GCMG). (We recalled the joke from Yes Minister: CMG stands for “Call Me God,” KCMG for “Kindly Call Me God,” and GCMG for “God Calls Me God.”)
Trucanini, aka Truganini, the last full-blooded aboriginal Tasmanian (died 1876), was very beautifully depicted in this bust by Benjamin Law (see below), a better legacy than the display of her mortal remains against her express wishes, a violation only rectified 100 years after her death. The galley has neatly juxtaposed her form with the poor (but famous) cartoon named Conciliation, that you can see in the background. Painted as a preparation by Benjamin Duterrau in 1840, the finished piece was many times larger and went into private hands in England somewhere – it has never turned-up, so it was either destroyed or discarded, or sits moldering in a manor-house cellar. Its aesthetics are dubious, but doubtless an Australian museum or corporate raider would pay decent money for it if it ever surfaced.
It is a small, even modest collection, but well worth a look. The TVC Raven would give a two-thumbs-up, were it blessed with them…