Frederick MCCUBBIN | Gardener's cottage, Como

Frederick MCCUBBIN
Australia 1855 – 1917

Gardener's cottage, Como c.1909
sheet 25.0 (h) x 35.1 (w) cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne gift of Hugh McCubbin, 1960


In Gardener’s cottage, Como McCubbin depicted the cottage and dividing fence between his garden and the neighbouring property of the ‘Como’ estate. As McCubbin’s youngest daughter, Kathleen, recalled:

Glimpsed through the trees on the hill opposite our home was the stately white mansion Como House. Owned by the Misses Armytage, the Como estate ran down the hill, across the swamp and right up to the river-bank. In those days the Misses Armytage grazed cattle and horses on their land, a large bull, too, of whom we were all afraid …

We overlooked the gardener’s cottage on the Como estate, a dilapidated house which father adored to paint. For a time a gardener lived there with his wife and children but the house was so rundown and damp that they had to move away. It remained empty for a long time and I was forbidden to go near the place because sometimes unsavoury characters spent the night there—until it was burnt down …

A grove of almond trees once grew beside the path that led from Como House to the gardener’s cottage. In springtime when the trees were in blossom and the petals drifted down like snow, I used to like to wander along this grove … (Mangan 1984, pp 15–16).

The view in this drawing is similar to that of Moonrise (cat 20).

Tickets available online now | open 14 August – 1 November 2009