Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

The Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove, 1789, c.1870

Henry Apperley (1817-1880)
Plaster "bas relief" copy after Henry Webber (1754-1826)
Diameter: 42cm

In 1789, Governor Phillip sent a sample of clay from Sydney Cove to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, London. Banks in turn sent the clay to his fellow member and friend Josiah Wedgwood to test its suitability for making pottery. The original Sydney Cove Medallion designed in 1789 by Henry Webber (1754-1826), in the collection of the National Museum of Australia, has the full title Hope encouraging Art and Labour, under the influence of Peace, to pursue the employments necessary to give security and happiness to an infant settlement. It is sometimes referred to by the Wedgwood family as the Botany Bay medal.

This version modelled by Henry Apperley in 1870 is larger than the original, it depicts ‘Hope’ as a female figure in Grecian-style robes, in front of an anchor (the symbol for hope). ‘Peace’ holds an olive branch in her hand and has a cornucopia (horn of plenty) spilling forth at her feet. Beside her, ‘Art’ is shown as a female figure holding a palette and lastly ‘Labour’ a male figure wearing a loin cloth and bearing a sledge-hammer across his shoulder. In the background a ship sails into a bay and buildings rise.

Henry Apperley, was a sculptor who worked on the London Houses of Parliament prior to emigrating to Australia in 1854 as part of the gold rushes. He worked in Melbourne producing sculptures and in 1868 moved to Sydney where he worked on the Rookwood Mortuary Station. In 1871 and 1872 he exhibited The Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove at the Academy of Art and at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition respectively.

Henry Webber’s original design was also adapted to commemorate the French Revolution, of 1789. Wedgwood produced limited edition, commemorative copies of the medallion one of which is in The Fund Collection.

 

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This selection represents a small sample of our collection. Our book detailing the collection is currently out of print.
An updated edition has been published in 2017.
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