Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts (b.1856-1931) was born in Dorchester, England – immigrating to Australia with his family in 1869, and settling in Collingwood on Wurundjeri Country, in Naarm (Melbourne). He is most notably remembered for his instigation of the Heidelberg School of Australian landscape painting that prioritised painting outside (en plein air)1. He enjoyed the quietude and the natural beauty of the Australian environment, and its unique character – his astute visual observations of its atmosphere, colour, and light translating moments of the rapidly changing landscape of his home and aboard.

Roberts’ Kalorama in the Dandenongs depicts a light-filled landscape of tall slender gumtrees and green grasslands that frame a gravel path which winds up through the centre of the work, over a rise, and out of view. The work is evocative of Roberts’ experience lived and felt – the location depicted was not far from his home in Kallista on Wurundjeri Country2. His distinct ability to capture the changing effects of light on the landscape, conveys both the stillness and the movement of the trees in the bushland; the warmth of the afternoon sunlight passing through their branches; and the shade they cast deep within the undergrowth.

  1. Art Gallery of New South Wales, “Artist Profile: Tom Roberts,” accessed December 15, 2020, https://www.
  2. Art Gallery of New South Wales, “Artist Profile: Tom Roberts.”