An early sketchbook by colonial artist John Glover, which has sold at auction in England for $150,000, has been purchased by a private Australian collector.
The 19th century sketchbook began in 1817 and contains up to 90 pages of sketches by Glover, who lived near Evandale, in northern Tasmania, and is known as the father of Australian landscape.
Its original listing price with auction house Ewbank was $5500, but after a bidding war the piece sold for $150,000 to a private Australian collector.
Ewbank partner Andrew Ewbank said more than 1000 online bidders registered for the auction, including institutional bidders, and four extra phone lines were needed to meet demand.
"Three bidders competed up to the 35,000 pounds mark, at which point a duel continued to the hammer price ... we are delighted that these historic documents have found a new home in a part of the world where they have such added significance."
Art consultant Jane Deeth, a former curator of the Glover Prize, said she hoped that a Tasmanian collector had purchased the work.
She said it would be interesting to see whether this sketchbook contained images that referenced Tasmanian landscapes.
"The sketchbooks are absolutely exquisite. They are of the finest, finest ink and pencil lines, often tiny little drawings, and beautifully observed. He was a fabulous draftsman," Dr Deeth said.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed that it is a benevolent private philanthropist so we can get to see it too. Time will tell."
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She added that Glover was so pivotal to the development of Australian landscape that Tasmania or Australia needed to own all of his works.
"I'm sure [our museums] considered purchasing but it might be beyond their budgets ... there is not a lot of budget for the arts these days."
Dr Deeth said the sketchbooks were almost more important to Glover than his paintings.
She said the artist would have taken the sketchbooks with him out into the field in Tasmania and used them as references for the backgrounds in his paintings.
"When he moved to Tasmania he brought more than 100 sketchbooks with him, which he had done over his lifetime travelling around England and Europe, and he used those sketches as references for his paintings," Dr Deeth said.
"When he came to Tasmania he worked really prolifically and sent over 60 works back to England ... it was still very fashionable for people in England to want to have paintings with English backgrounds. They were't so keen on the Tasmanian ones to start with.
"He had made his reputation with English and European landscapes, so he hedged his bets and painted both."
Dr Deeth said the final sale price is an indicator of the esteem in which John Glover is held as an artist.
Glover's paintings are held by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.