Monash University

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John Ford Paterson, 1851-1912: landscape painter in search of 'something evanescent'

posted on 2017-01-10, 06:05 authored by Johnson, Lynette
John Ford Paterson was an Australian landscape painter of Scottish descent who was admired by his contemporaries for his commitment to translating the beauty of nature through his poetic landscapes. Paterson arrived back in Australia for a second time in early 1884 with knowledge of contemporary European trends. This has often been overlooked due the promotion of Tom Roberts' arrival in 1885. To date, in the historiography of Australian art Paterson has not been afforded the recognition he rightly deserves in the development of Australian landscape painting, in particular the genre of twilight scenes. This thesis seeks to establish Paterson as a significant artist in Australian landscape painting from 1884 to 1912. His early career in Scotland and artists that influenced him will be examined along with his public role in Melbourne's artistic development. The writing of Paterson back into the mainstream of Australian art history is well overdue and it is envisaged that this thesis provides the groundwork for this to be achieved and for Paterson to attain that 'something evanescent'.


Principal supervisor

Leigh Astbury

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of English, Communications and Performance Studies


Master of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts