< Back to Search Results

The Pathway To The Sea (Sydney Harbour)

image of the art work

Accession ID:



The Pathway To The Sea (Sydney Harbour)






James R. Jackson




‘The Pathway to the Sea’ (1917) by James R. (or Jimmy) Jackson is a small, plein-air oil sketch, painted quickly with bold dabs of paint, that evoke the light and colours of this scene depicting people enjoying Sydney Harbour. A keen sailor in his youth, Jackson knew the Sydney waterways intimately and he became well-known as a painter of the Harbour early in his career. One reviewer suggested ‘so far as subject-matter is concerned, is pre-eminently a portrayer of that easy-going world which regards life as a delightful canter along sunny shores’. This is exemplified in this picture. On the right, in the middle ground, couples wearing broad-brimmed hats, one person holding a parasol, stroll on a path beside the water, partly shaded by a clump of trees. On the left, a man and woman lean against a fence and look at a small boat and two yachts in the water. In the centre, a small child pokes its head through the fence, fascinated by the aquatic activities. No sky is visible, just an expanse of blue water in the top half of the picture. It is painted with dabs of deep slaty blue, dotted with brighter turquoise highlights. White and brown brushstrokes evoke the boats. The trunks and leaves of the trees overlay the blue of the water on the right; they are painted with a mixture of brown, orange, lilac and green dabs. The shadows the trees cast on the yellow-orange path are blue, lilac and brown. The artist’s daughter, Jacqueline Jackson, includes this painting among sketches, which ‘would have taken him an hour or two to put down without alteration, after years of knowledge and practice.’ They ‘were a simple statement of the moment, capturing a mood, colour or atmospheric effect. They were not retouched or worked on in his studio.’ The picture was exhibited at the 1917 exhibition of the Royal Art Society, Sydney, and was purchased by John Salvana at that time.


John Salvana Collection, Tamworth Regional Gallery.


Provenance: Gift of John Salvana. Salvana acquired the painting from the Royal Art Society, Sydney exhibition in 1917. Signed and dated: L.R.C. - James R. Jackson, '17.

Associated Subjects