NGV 1905 notes that this work, the earliest of McCubbin’s paintings to be acquired for the NGV, was “selected by the Director in 1900.”
The entries in the NGV’s 1900 annual report and stock-book clarify the fact that it was exchanged for an earlier canvas, Feeding Time, bought from the Victorian Artists’ Society in January 1895, for a smaller sum. The exchange is explained by Bernard Hall’s idiosyncratic (and not always strictly adhered-to) view that no more than one work by any living artist ought to be held in the collection.
Feeding Time (1893), which, in 1895, was the first of McCubbin’s works to be acquired for a public gallery, is now in a private collection.
Leigh Astbury comments on the domesticated character of the present canvas, painted in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, still semi-rural in 1897.
AR 1900, p.29; SB, p.402; NGV 1905,p.98 (III.McArthur Gallery, no.61) [£94/10]
The AR and SB entries both note the price paid for Feeding Time as £35, AR 1900 giving the date of its purchase as 1894 (see also AR 1894, p.21, recording the original purchase of Feeding Time); SB notes that the exchange occurred in 20 March 1900. For the present work, see also Astbury Sunlight and Shadow (1989), pp.144-45, plate 106. For Feeding Time, see e.g.https://www.artistsfootsteps.com/html/McCubbin_feedingtime.htm and https://www.artrecord.com/index.cfm/artist/3999-mccubbin-frederick/medium/1-paintings/?page=3
For McCubbin, see e.g. Astbury City Bushmen (1985), esp.pp.130ff.; see also McDonald Art of Australia (2008) and Grishin Australian Art (2013): refer indices