James Howe Carse

James Howe Carse (1818 -1900)

Born into a Scottish family of artists, Carse’s exact date of arrival in Australia is uncertain but was probably 1867. A sketchy, signed watercolour of the Kapunda copper mines (ML) in South Australia bears this date.

Carse was an active participant in promoting the arts in Australia. He was a foundation member of the Victorian Academy of Arts in Melbourne in 1870 and a foundation member of the Academy of Arts in NSW. He won the NSW Certificate of Merit with the oil painting Weatherboard Falls at the inaugural exhibition in 1872.

One of the best things in the exhibition … there being a wildness and sublimity in those deep valleys, where the mist floats in the air, as yet uninfluenced by the rays of the sun when they have just begun to gild the distant mountains’.

1876 was a good year for Carse. He exhibited eight paintings with the NSW Academy and was awarded a gold medal for another view of Weatherboard Falls and a group of landscapes. A pair of unusual genre scenes ‘The Morning Herald ‘ and ‘The Evening News’ were also included, each for sale at 30 guineas. Later that year Carse was labelled ‘perhaps the best painter in the colony’ and awarded a prize for Wallaga Lake by the Agricultural Society of New South Wales.

Carse was known to have painted on many types of material, his paintings on cedar panel, dating back to the 1870s, were an insight into the impressionist era about to begin. He also became a foundation member of the Art Society of NSW in 1880.