William Charles Piguenit

WC Piguenit, 'Shannon, near Mt Pleasant, Tasmania', c 1870 (ALMFA, SLT)

William Charles Piguenit (18361914), first colonial-born artist in Van Diemen's Land, acclaimed painter of romantic sublime vistas of Tasmanian highland wilderness. In 1850 in Hobart, as a draughtsman's apprentice, he received artistic training and accompanied surveyor JR Scott exploring major rivers to their hinterland sources. He made accurate annotated pencil and watercolour field study sketches of wilderness which he used later in watercolour, monotone and coloured oil landscape paintings. In 1860 he exhibited paintings, lithographs, then photographs in Hobart. In 1870, he exhibited in the Intercolonial Exhibition in Sydney.

Until 1914 Piguenit lived in Sydney  and painted sublime river valleys and grand mountain or flood vistas. He also exhibited in the Paris Salon (1893), Manchester (1895) and London (1898, 1900). He died in Sydney.

Further reading: ADB 5.

Helen Quilty