Paul Brunton reviews 'A Forger's Progress' by Alasdair McGregor

Paul Brunton reviews 'A Forger's Progress' by Alasdair McGregor

A Forger’s Progress: The Life of Francis Greenway

by by Alasdair McGregor

NewSouth, $49.99 hb, 369 pp, 9781742233789

The twenty or so elegant Georgian buildings designed by Francis Greenway that stand in Sydney today are a civilising presence. Yet these represent less than a quarter of his output. The destruction has been wanton and impoverishing.

Greenway was born in November 1777, near Bristol. His father was a stonemason and builder, as had been generations of Greenways. Nothing is known of his early years, but, judging by his knowledge of literature, he probably had a respectable education. He worked in the Greenway family’s mason’s yard and spent time in London from 1797, attached in some way – maybe as an apprentice – to the architect John Nash. By 1805, Greenway was back in Bristol working with his brothers, and by 1809 he was bankrupt.

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Published in March 2015, no. 369
Paul Brunton

Paul Brunton

Paul Brunton is Emeritus Curator, State Library of New South Wales and an Honorary Associate of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney. He was Senior Curator, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, from 2002–12 and Curator of Manuscripts from 1986 to 2001. He is preparing an annotated edition of the original handwritten journal and logbook of William Bligh kept on HMS Bounty, 1787–1789, for publication by Allen & Unwin.

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