Court House Wallpaper

Court House Wallpaper is a re-imagined wallpaper presenting a symbolic landscape. It bears witness to the dramatic impact of colonialism on the Tasmanian landscape. The artwork is based on an 1880s wallpaper salvaged from a Court House that was once part of the colonial military complex at Oatlands, in the southern midlands of Tasmania. In the 19th century Australian colonists often installed wallpapers decorated with wildflowers from their homeland. They were following a painterly tradition dating back through French scenic wallpaper to Roman wall frescoes, of bringing the outer landscape inside. But in Australia, this seemingly harmless pursuit had an inherent nostalgia for the place before; a turning away from a recognition of the indigenous. This work seeks to incorporate the indigenous within the colonial. Physically, the work is scaled to reference wallpaper samplers of the day. The floral pattern of the historic original is re-formed by the painted roots of lantana. The twisting roots of this introduced species frame carefully observed, drawn and painted colonial depictions of fauna now classified as extinct, endangered or vulnerable in Tasmania. In this re-imagined landscape, two extinct species face downwards, while the others animals move upwards, from sea to sky.

Jane Burton Taylor


Collage: cotton rag on cotton rag paper on paper