|Macquarie collector's chest, ca. 1818|
Newcastle Art Gallery is partnering with the State Library of NSW to present the most historically important artefacts about colonial era Newcastle ever put together. Featuring the rare and beautiful Macquarie Collector’s Chest this is the first time the chest has been seen in Newcastle since it was created here two hundred years ago.
The chest will be the centrepiece of an exhibition called Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie era which will be on display at the Gallery from March next year.
The chest is constructed of a combination of Australian rosewood found from the Hunter River to the Port Macquarie region of NSW, and red cedar found in NSW coastal regions from the Illawarra to the north. It opens to present a wonderful array of artefacts, specimens, painted panels, and compartments. The artwork on the chest depicts colonial Newcastle and the surrounding areas. It is thought to be the work of Joseph Lycett - a noted convict artist of the period. Lycett was patronised by both Macquarie and Captain James Wallis, Commandant of the secondary penal settlement at Newcastle, north of Sydney.