Up from the Vaults: Convict Labour
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Convict labour: Rarely seen and best not mentioned.
The topic of convict labour will guide this year's second talk in our popular 'Up from the Vaults' series, in which we invite a subject expert from the University to take an in-depth look at art and objects from the University of Melbourne’s Cultural Collections.
This June, we invite you to join us in the newly opened Old Quad Library as Professor Janet McCalman AC explores work featuring convict labour by British artists John Skinner Prout and Godfrey Charles Mundy.
Convicts, much like servants in the Victorian age, were meant to be neither seen nor heard. They were expected to be the invisible machinery of domestic life and the colonial economy, and memoirs of Van Diemen’s Land are remarkable for the absence of convicts in the remembered landscape and households. Watercolorist John Skinner Prout and writer-artist Godfrey Charles Mundy were among the few who left images and descriptions of convicts at work and in confinement. And they have much to tell us.
Our 2019 program, Inside Out, has been generously supported by Peter Jopling AM QC, Andy Zhang and Calvin Huang.
Image: John Skinner Prout (1805-1876), 'No title (Probation Station, Mount Dromedary)' 1847, watercolour and gouache on paper. The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Gift of the Russell and Mab Grimwade Bequest 1973