Eugene von Guérard painted the Australian landscape from the perspective of an observer, an explorer and as a resident. In this view of Schnapper Point, near Mornington Peninsula on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay (approximately 40 kilometres from the city), von Guérard depicts the beauty of the Australian coast. The work was painted for James Butchart, the owner of the ‘Beleura’ homestead built in 1863. Von Guérard shows the sweeping views from the property across the bay – an area that had become a popular holiday destination for Melbourne residents.
The scene is alive with activity. A couple gather wood in the foreground while a horseman rides through the bush accompanied by his dogs. In the distance, homesteads are dotted along the peninsula and two sailing vessels can be seen on the glistening blue sea. Von Guérard has created an image of the land undergoing settlement and change as people began to seek alternative places to live beyond the city limits.