Image: George A. D. Forsyth, Pilot Boat, Fremantle, 1888, watercolour. Courtesy of National Trust of WA Collection

Pilot Painter is the first survey exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Capt. George A.D. Forsyth (1843–1894). An experienced seaman from humble beginnings, he served in Fremantle’s Water Police before being appointed Fremantle’s Port Pilot and the first Chief Harbour Master for WA.

Forsyth was a self-taught amateur sketcher and painter who maintained a pictorial record of the sights and experiences associated with his dangerous occupation as a pilot at Rottnest and Fremantle. Pilot Painter includes examples of his work, drawn from the City of Fremantle and public and private collections. The exhibition features coloured sketches, watercolours and a recently discovered oil painting of the Swan River estuary before construction of Fremantle’s new inner harbour in 1892.

Pilot Painter is drawn from the City of Fremantle Art Collection and reflects on the importace of Fremantle Harbour to artists. The City of Fremantle Art Collection, established in 1958, is the largest municipal collection in WA with over 1,500 works. The Collection’s focus on Fremantle artists and Australian prints celebrates the enduring importance of the visual arts to Fremantle.

Curated by André Lipscombe