W A Clarson
William Alfred Clarson was a talented artist who joined his father’s printing firm in 1867 when he was fifteen years old. He was a secretary of the Art Society of New South Wales, and exhibited his work in Victoria and New South Wales between 1872 and 1881. There is conjecture on how he achieved the perspective for this drawing of Brisbane. He may have ridden in a hot air balloon, although some refute this because of the lack of written confirmation. An alternative possibility is that he climbed the bell-tower of St John’s Pro-Cathedral. WA Clarson was the first to make a panorama view of Brisbane of this type and it is considered an important work of illustrating the history of Brisbane.
In 1881 WA Clarson left his home for an artist’s trip in the Moreton Bay region. William Clarson reported him missing after a period of sixteen weeks and went looking for his son himself. After investigating his son’s movements he met with Mr William F Bishop who dropped off WA Clarson on a deserted island, by request, albeit with provisions. He reportedly admitted to ‘forgetting’ about the artist after running into some boating difficulties. Clarson hired a fishing crew to take him out to Karragarra Island, where WA Clarson had been left – he wasn’t there but by chance found him on a neighbouring island a short distance away. He had been living with an old couple who had come across him on Karragarra, some weeks earlier.