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(c.1783-1829) - Major

Military officer (48th Regiment of Foot), draughtsman and artist.

Commissioned: Ensign (48th Regiment of Foot) 1804; Lieutenant (48th) 25 April 1805; Captain (48th) 4 June 1807; Major (Brevet) (48th) 21 September 1813; Major (48th) 26 July 1822; Lieut. Colonel 8 June 1825.

Served with his regiment in Ireland 1805-1808; Portugal and Spain between 1809-1813. Taylor returned to England on account of sickness (chills and fever) in December 1813, and rejoined his regiment in Ireland in the latter end of 1814. In March 1817 he embarked with it for New South Wales and arrived in NSW on board the Matilda. Accompanied the Macquaries to Van Diemen's Land in 1821. He was granted two year's sick leave in 1822 and returned to Britain with the Macquaries on board the Surry. Taylor was accompanied by his son (name unknown, mother unknown).

Very few of the watercolours executed by Taylor in NSW and Van Diemen's Land remain to testify to his talent as an artist, however he is best remembered for the three-sheet panoramic view of Sydney published in London in 1823. It is based on his watercolours. After his return to England in July 1822 he arranged for the foremost London engravers and print publishers, Robert Havell and Colnaghi's to publish an edition of his works. These prints also formed the basis for a 360-degree view presented at Barker & Burford's Panorama Building in Leicester Square.

Taylor's panorama of Sydney proved popular and it was copied in reduced single-sheet size for a French edition issued later in the 1820s. Two English lithographic editions after the French version also appeared before 1830. The panorama provides an idealised version of the transformation of Sydney by the Macquaries. Their picturesque vision for the Colony was an ideological landscape. Sydney was portrayed as place remade through the landscaping of the Domain and the use of Gothic-style buildings. As such it represented their concern for hierarchy, discipline, order and improvement. Taylor appears to have been a willing participant in this process of idealisation.

Taylor sailed on board the HEIC ship Atlas for India with Colonel Erskine in May 1825 to rejoin the regiment. Erskine died within a few days of arrival and Taylor assumed command of the 48th. Regiment, retaining this position until his death in 1829.

Died: 10 August 1829 at Bellary, India (830kms NW of Madras).

Top of page

Macquarie, L. Journal: 1822.
Dictionary of Australian Artists Online. http://www.daao.org.au [see: entry on 'Taylor' by Elizabeth Ellis].
East India Register 1830.
The Gentleman's Magazine April 1830 pp.369-370.
List of European Tombs in the Bellary District with Inscriptions Thereon. Compiled by J.J. Cotton. Bellary: Collectorate Press, 1894 p.3.
SARGENT, Clem. The Colonial Garrison 1817-1824: the 48th Foot the Northamptonshire Regiment in the Colony of New South Wales. Mawson: ACT: TCS Publications, 1996.

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