GLOVER, John
(b. 1767, Houghton-on-the-Hill, d. 1849, Launceston, Tasmania)

A Corroboree in Van Diemen's Land

1840
Oil on canvas, 77 x 115 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

It was because of the monarch's known interest in the wider world that John Glover sent Louis-Philippe six of the pictures he had been painting in the British colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), where he had moved to join his sons in 1831. Known earlier in London as a painter in the classical style of Claude, he had begun again, painting the exotic landscape and its people in a manner that is surely consciously naive, both in its extreme descriptive clarity and in the sinuous trees that seem exaggeratedly different from European forms. In one of the pictures chosen by the king, such trees arch over one of Glover's favourite subjects, the moonlight corroboree, when the Aboriginals danced at night, clutching green boughs. On the back Glover noted, 'I have seen more enjoyment and Mirth in such [an] occasion than I ever saw in a Ballroom in England.' For a time Glover's pictures hung at the royal chateau at Eu on the Channel coast, but were soon demoted by the curator as curiosities, works of ethnography not art.