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image icon Memorial tablet for Carl Linger, c1865

Memorial tablet for Carl Linger, c1865
Art Gallery of South Australia


This is a memorial tablet produced around 1865 by engraver Joshua Payne (c1810-99) in association with designer L J Pelham (working 1860s). It consists of an engraved steel plate set within a rectangular frame made of plain units of varnished timber. The frame has a triangular feature on top giving it the appearance of the facade of a classical temple. The engraved plate depicts a weeping woman (the Muse of Music) surrounded by a variety of orchestral instruments including a violin, piano, harp, cello, tambourine, mandolin and trumpets. A large scroll at the centre of the design reads: 'In memory of Carl C Linger musical composer and orchestral conductor many years resident in South Australia. Born in Berlin 15th March 1810. Died in Adelaide 16th February 1862. The Song of Australia.' Below this inscription is 'J Payne'.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • is an excellent example of the work of Joshua Payne, one of the finest engravers working in South Australia in the mid- to late-19th century - Payne was a jeweller and engraver and is best known for creating the original die for the Adelaide pound; because of the great shortage of coins in SA in the mid-1800s the local colonial government authorised the Adelaide pound coin to be struck; this was the first gold coin struck in Australia using Australian gold and with a design and dies that were produced locally; the first die cracked after approximately only 50 coins had been produced and these coins became known as the 'Type I' Adelaide pound; it is thought that less than 30 of the original 50 still exist
  • commemorates Carl Linger, who composed the music for 'The song of Australia' - the words were written in 1859 by English-born Australian poet Caroline J Carlton (1820-74) for a competition sponsored by the Gawler Institute; Linger studied at the Institute of Music in Berlin and migrated to Adelaide in 1849; in 1858 he founded and became the conductor of the Adelaide Liedertafel (a singing group); singing was a popular recreational activity for German immigrants to South Australia, both within the church and in the community; Linger was also a well-known composer of church music
  • reflects the popularity, in mid- to late-19th-century Australia, of commemorative and presentation silverware, which was usually engraved with extensive inscriptions and monograms
  • references Australia's search for its own national anthem - following the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games there was gathering public debate about a suitable national anthem to replace 'God Save the Queen'; in 1974, 'Song of Australia' was included in a public opinion shortlist but 'Advance Australia Fair' was the popular people's choice
  • is an engraving - the engraving process involves cutting designs and inscriptions directly into the surface of a sheet of metal using a hardened steel handheld cutting instrument usually known as a burin; the skill of the designer lies not only in cutting and scribing fine details but in knowing how to use different patterning techniques and angles of lines to exploit the fall of light onto the surface; gravers, rockers, roulets, burnishers and angle tint tools are among the many different kinds of cutting tools used as part of the engraving process.