Historical information

This painting shows a historic depiction of Australian whalers in action at sea, and shows the scale of man to whale. Whaling was one of the first industries in early Victoria.

John Dollery was born in London in 1933. As a child he loved to draw and was a frequent visitor to the National and Tate Galleries. In 1957 Dollery came to Australia, settling in Queensland in 1965. After receiving a prize in a drawing exhibition, he began painting in oils, and is entirely self-taught. Whilst in Queensland he painted most of his canvases strictly from life and in 1977 he moved to Melbourne where he established himself as a full-time artist. John was very interested in Australia’s history, and most of his work represents this theme. Many of his pieces are in collections both in Australia and overseas.

Dollery’s daughter is also an artist and has exhibited both her father's and her own works together in an exhibition 'Now and Then, Father and Daughter'.


The painting is a significant work by artist John Dollery. Its subject of whaling shows an early Australian industry and shows the scale of man to whale. The decorative frame is appropriate for the era in which the scene would have taken place.

Physical description

Painting in oil on canvas, in gilt carved timber frame. Seascape, depicting a whale hunt. A spouting whale is behind a whale boat with six whalers aboard. A tall ship with seamen aboard is behind the whale. Two other tall ships and another whale boat are in background. An embossed plaque in bottom centre of lower frame has inscription..
Artist is J. Dollery.

Inscriptions & markings

Stamped on the sticker “John Dollery / ARTIST / Crown Lot 16 The Esplanade
Corinella, Victoria 3984 / Telephone: (056) 78 0644 “
Hand written on sticker “THE CHASE $xxx”
Embossed in the wooden frame “30 / ART / Specturm”
Signed “J DOLLERY”