A HISTORIC painting showing a rare early view of Hyde Park has been bought by Perth city council after spending years in private collections.
Walter Paterson Meston’s 1904 Hyde Park has been out of the public eye for years.
Hyde Park history enthusiasts John Viska and Rodney O’Brien had been tracing the painting but have never seen it in person.
“There are very few representations of Hyde Park in its early days – this has high cultural significance,” Mr Viska says. “It’s evidence they didn’t clearfell every single native tree” and it shows some of the early plantings.
When it came up for auction late last year, they implored Vincent council to purchase the piece, but it didn’t have the budget.
It was snapped up for $18,000 by an unnamed buyer, and when someone from Perth city council saw the Voice’s story about trying to track down the new owner, they put up their hand.
The park used to be in CoP’s domain, and they’re now working out when and where it’ll be displayed.
Lord mayor Basil Zempilas says: “We are delighted to welcome Walter Paterson Meston‚Äôs 1904 painting of Hyde Park into the City of Perth Cultural Collections.
“It is a rare and poignant representation of Hyde Park from a time where few photographs exist, and the city jumped on the opportunity to acquire this significant piece of work when it was auctioned late last year.
“It is artwork like this that helps us see our great city in a new light, connecting us with Perth’s history, people, places and stories.”
Mr O’Brien was very pleased to hear of the acquisition.
“Wonderful, first class,” he said. “Quite appropriate,” given the park previously being in their bounds, and a Perth lord mayor WG Brookman was a friend of the park who funded the long-disappeared fountain there.
Mr Viska says it’s a shame that Vincent wasn’t able to get hold of the painting, but Perth council had a fair claim on it: “At least it’s in the public domain and the public will get to see it this time, whereas previously it was in private ownership and nobody got to see it.”
He’s been in touch with Perth council to fill them in on some background on the painting and is looking forward to his first in-person viewing: “I’m dying to see it.”