Parker River waterfall, Cape Otway, Nicholas Chevalier
  • Artist
    Nicholas Chevalier
  • Born
    1828
  • Died
    1902
  • Title
    Parker River waterfall, Cape Otway
  • Date of Production
    1862
  • Medium
    oil on canvas
  • Dimensions
    130 x 183 cm
  • Credit Details
    Bequest of Mrs. Blondel, 1923

Nicholas Chevalier

Parker River waterfall, Cape Otway

It was on an excursion with fellow artist Eugene von Guerard  in 1861-2, at a time when both artists were concentrating on exotic features of the Australian landscape, that Chevalier made sketches of the Parker River waterfall in the Otway Ranges.

The journey in search of the falls in this largely unexplored part of the country with its primeval forest was about to be abandoned when the two artists were "delighted by the musical sound of falling water". The scene, described by Chevalier, was reported in The Illustrated Australian Mail of the 25th of August, 1862 as follows: "Over successive ledges of rock the lucid stream leaped with gay caprice… finally falling into a pretty basin…from whence it wound its devious way through a living cloister, composed of Eucalpyti, lightwood, fern trees and luxuriant undergrowth of odourous (sic) and graceful shrubs". Parker River waterfall, Cape Otway is the largest Australian landscape that Chevalier painted and was subsequently reproduced as a wood engraving in the January edition of the Illustrated Melbourne Post in 1865. It also appeared as a chromolithograph.

The painting sits in an ornate gilt frame with rounded top corners creating a shaped canvas. In 2012, as part of the Adopt an Artwork program, the frame was conserved with funds donated by The Courier. When the painting was removed it can be seen that Chevalier had painted the top right hand corner to fit a square frame and the top left hand corner in the round shape of this frame. One can conclude that during the painting of the work, Chevalier acquired this frame and changed the work to suit.