Swan, John Macallan (1847-1910)
African panthers (1891)
Oil on canvas, 35.6 x 61.4 cm
Purchased, 1892 (advice of Hubert von Herkomer)
National Gallery of Victoria (acc.no.p.397.4-1)

While this work correlates with the taste for animal subjects typical of the NGV’s early history, these creatures are unusually wild, by comparison with other domestic or barnyard works (see e.g. Tschaggeny Sheep in repose 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]). However, see also Rivière A Roman Holiday 1881 {1888} NGV [PA].

Herkomer, recommending the present work, described the artist as “our most original animal painter” (quoted in NGV 1894). The NGV’s prints and drawings collection also includes other animal studies by Swan acquired later, several of them donated by his widow in the year after his death.


AR 1892, p.23; NGV 1894, p.22 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.26; ill.); NGV 1905, p.18 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.31; ill.) [£540] 

See Gott 19C (2003), p.59 (entry by Laurie Benson); the entry in NGV 1894 includes a lengthy comment from Herkomer, including the quote above

For the artist, see Bénézit 13, p.567 (listing the present work); see also http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/col/artist/1262, for works on paper by Swan acquired later for Melbourne